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How to Secure a Trellis in the Ground

Latice image by J Elkins from

A garden trellis is a decorative yet utilitarian garden accessory. Although many climbing plants will also creep along the ground, if space is at a premium in your garden, training your plants to grow up a trellis helps free up space in the garden for other plants. You can purchase trellises in a variety of shapes and sizes; they are generally made from wood, vinyl or iron. Getting your trellis into the ground and ready for your climbing plants takes a bit of muscle.

Place your trellis in the north side of the garden and orient it so that it runs in an east to west direction. This will help avoid shading other plants.

Measure the distance between the two upright legs of the trellis. Place rocks or other marking devices on the soil, the same distance apart as the trellis’s two upright legs.

Drive one post into the ground at the first marker. Use a heavy mallet or hammer to drive it at least 18 inches into the soil.

Drive the second post into the ground, at the same depth as the first, at the other marker.

Position the trellis against the posts with the uprights in front of the posts. Wire the upright to the post 3 inches from the top. Wire the bottom of the upright 3 inches from the ground. Repeat with the other upright.

Trellis Care

Because a trellis is a vertical support for vines and other climbing plants, it needs to be able to support those plants. Some people confuse a trellis with a pergola, which is a vertical and horizontal structure attached to a building. Caring for a trellis is similar to, but usually simpler, than that of the other three. Trellis care is governed by the materials it is made from, where it is located and how it was constructed and installed. Wooden posts installed directly into the soil will show signs of rot quickly. The paint on a wood trellis will crack and peel over time, exposing the wood to rot. In spring, repair, scrape, prime and paint wooden parts of the trellis. Use a twig to twist and tighten the wires of a wire trellis. Always install a trellis strong enough to do its job. Install wooden trellises at least a foot from the house to maximize air circulation. A structure that is hinged at the base can be lowered for easier maintenance. Liquid wood preservative helps unpainted wood stay rot-free.

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