Training frames for vines, often called trellises or topiary frames, are vertical stakes with cross pieces that allow vines to grow vertically. Vines are "trained" to wrap around the frames by securing the vines to the frames and allowing them to grow. Gardeners can buy pre-made frames, lattice for vine training or build their own vine frames using lumber or pipe.
The most basic upright form of frame for training vines is a stake. You can use a length of wood, a metal pole such as a fence pole or plumbing pipes. Copper pipes can look very attractive in a garden with vines, and PVC pipes are inexpensive and come with joints to create more shapes. For a very basic vine frame, you can use three stakes set in the ground in a triangle with the tips overlapping to make a pyramid or tepeelike shape.
There are many premade trellises available at garden or home improvement stores made of varying material, from wire to plastic. Premade trellises usually feature tall support poles with crosspieces, and some are hinged for folding and storing. Look for vine frames that are flat, rather than round frames made for supporting plants like tomatoes.
Another great material for building training frames for vines is lattice, a product made of diagonally crossed pieces of wood used for concealing house foundations and building fences. Lattice provides good support for heavier climbing vines, and it can be a very attractive option. To use lattice as a vine frame, nail it to fence posts or upright supports. Most hardware stores carry pressure-treated wooden lattice as well as durable vinyl lattice.
Basic Rectangular Vine Frame
The simplest shape for a vine training frame is the rectangle. To build a rectangular vine frame, set two tall (at least 4 feet in height) wooden posts in the ground. Refer to the specifications of the vines you intend to grow to see how tall you should make your frame. For crosspieces, choose lumber that is thin in diameter, such as 1-inch-by-2-inch moulding or furring. Nail or screw crosspieces every 2 to 3 inches along the upright pieces to create a small fence for vines to climb.
Training Vines on Frames
To train vines, gardeners can tie the vines to the frame using twine or staples. Twine can be easier to use because it allows for move movement of the vine and can cause less damage to the plant. Only use staples on thick, woody vines, and the staples should never be driven directly into the vine. Staples with long tines will allow room between the staple and the vine and not damage the plant.
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