Orchard and Vineyard Trellis Construction: Part 1

vineyardsWhen you think of uses for high-tensile wire, orchards and vineyards aren’t often at the top of the list. However, high-tensile wire has a large impact on the orchard and vineyard industries. As orchards and vineyards continue to change and advance to meet the large demand for consumers, they struggle with large input costs. As a result, they have turned to improving trellis construction to help keep their industry thriving and profitable.

Recently, the construction and design of trellis in America has been strongly influenced from overseas producers. Innovative tree support systems and trellis have come out of necessity. With larger input costs, less land, higher demand, and lack of durability of past trellises, many growers were faced with despair. In the past, growers did not turn to overseas deigns due to America’s plentiful land and the unavailability of durable building materials. In the last 30 years, however, growers have been open to new designs and new materials, making orchards and vineyards into profitable operations. With the help of newly designed high-tensile wire and agricultural research on trellis support systems, American growers now have trellis structures that last longer and require little to no maintenance.

In the past, the usual cause of failure on trellis systems was weak, low-tensile wire. With recent improvements to galvanized high-tensile wire, companies such as Kencove are now able to offer high-quality trellis products. Unlike most galvanized wire, Kencove offers class 3, which means it has a 250% heavier coating of zinc than many other types of wire.

We highly recommend for growers to use our MAX-TEN 200 High-Tensile Fence Wire for all types of operations. MAX-TEN 200 wire is a class 3 galvanized wire. Class 3 galvanized wire has more than twice the life of class 1 galvanized wire. Using the MAX-TEN wire, growers can expect their wire to hold up to 35 years in humid regions and over 50 years in drier climates.



When selecting wire for your operation, you need to consider the tensile strength, breaking strength, and its resistance to corrosion. Wire used for trellis requires the tensile strength and breaking strength to be high enough to withstand the initial tension from installation as well as added tension from wind, temperature changes, and tree or vine loads. It has been estimated that a drop in temperature from 80°F to -20°F can increase the tension on a 500-foot length of 12 ½ gauge wire by 130 pounds. Add on additional tensions from wind, and the tree or vine load could break most standard high-tensile wires.

MAX-TEN 200 wire is made using steel from the United States only. Using such a high-quality steel means we can provide you with wire that is strong and durable. With over 200,000 PSI minimum tensile strength, MAX-TEN 200 wire is considered one of the best high-tensile options. Refer to table 2 below to compare breaking strengths of MAX-TEN 200 and competitive wire used for trellises.


Having the right type of post is also critical to any solid trellis system. There are a variety of options for posts. We recommend for growers to match the durability and longevity of our MAX-TEN 200 wire with a treated wood post. Here at Kencove, we offer a very durable and competitively priced treated wood post. Last fall, Kencove opened a post mill in Eastman, Georgia. We are now able to manufacture our own CCA-treated posts, which ensures top-quality products for our customers. Treated wood posts work best for trellis operations due to their high strength-to-weight ratio. They are also economical in cost, easy to find, and provide a long service life. A treated wood post can provide up to 40 years of resistance to damage by Mother Nature, which adds to its value and low maintenance costs.


We produce CCA-treated Southern Yellow Pine posts. CCA (chromated copper arsenate) is one of the best chemical treatments to apply to wood posts. The chemicals in this treatment react with the natural sugars found in the wood to form a very insoluble salt. The salt is toxic to insects and decay organisms, and this is what keeps the post from becoming subject to their attacks.



Stay posted for part 2 of our Orchard and Vineyard Trellis Construction blog series.

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