How to Build an Arbor Trellis for Muscadine Vines

Muscadine grapes are native in the United States from Delaware to Florida and into the Midwest. A trellis will help with their cultivation because they need annual pruning and lots of sun for optimum fruiting. In the wild, muscadine vines can grow up to 100 feet long. This tendency needs severe dormant season pruning to produce fruit from the current season's shoots, which sprout from growth of the previous year. A trellis easily facilitates this delicate trimming work.

Muscadine grapes are a wild variety
  1. Decide on the location and orientation of your trellis arbor; this arbor will be 8 feet by 12 feet when completed.

  2. Dig a 3-foot deep hole with the post hole digger; have a shovel handy to help with the soil removal.

  3. Measure 7 feet from this hole; dig another hole. These two holes will form one end of the arbor.

  4. Measure 12 feet out and perpendicular to these holes; make two marks on the earth and dig 3-foot deep holes in these two spots. This will create a rectangular shape with the post locations.

  5. Fill each of these four holes with 2 inches of gravel.

  6. Place the 4 by 4 by 12-foot posts into the holes and brace them in place. Use the 2 by 4's to temporarily support the posts by nailing them diagonally onto the 4 by 4's and wedging them into the earth as bracing. Use a level to ensure that the posts are vertical.

  7. Cement the posts into place. Use a hoe to mix the cement in a wheelbarrow according to the directions on the bag. Allow cement to dry overnight.

  8. Boost the 8-foot long 4 by 4 up onto the vertical posts, on the side of the form where the posts are 7 feet apart.

  9. Drill a 9-inch hole into the top of this horizontal member with a 7/16th inch drill bit.

  10. Embed the lag bolt into this hole and tighten with a wrench.

  11. Screw hooks into the vertical posts; these should be facing each other on the two end supporting forms. Place one at the top of a vertical post, one in the middle and one between these two hooks; you will now have three hooks on the upper half of the post. Repeat this hook pattern on all the posts.

  12. Attach clothesline from hook to hook and tighten; the grapevine can now climb onto the clothesline and be pruned.

Continue Reading