December 29, 2022 5 min read 0 Comments
Flower growers and vegetable gardeners alike use trellis support netting to maximize the plant yields they can get from a single planting. Netting does this in several ways: It trains the plants, whether for straighter stems or taller vining plants. The spacing it provides gives the plants the most optimal sunlight exposure. Keeping your flowers up off the ground also avoids contamination and plant loss from soil-borne fungus-like botrytis and powdery mildew.
Lastly, come harvest time, the well-designed trellis system will make for a cleaner, more manageable collection of fruits and flowers. If you have properly trained your crop with trellis netting, there will be no need to toss out the blemished or bruised flowers and fruit.
For cut flower production, netting is typically installed in a horizontal position at a height of 12” during the growing process when plants are around 6” tall. This allows the flowers to grow up through the netting without the need to feed stems through the mesh.
Plants whose stems will be over 36” in height will benefit from a second and possibly third layer of netting each installed 12” above the previous layer. These should be added as the growth cycle progresses for ease of harvesting. Aim to install each new layer of netting when the stems are 6”-8” above the existing net.
For vining flowers like sweet peas and vining nasturtiums, trellis netting should be installed vertically using strong upright posts. Sweet peas have tendrils that will wind around the netting as they climb. To encourage this growth behavior it is best to go out at least a few times per week and weave vines that are growing out towards pathways back into the netting.
For nasturtiums, you will either need to weave the vines into the netting as they grow or use plant support vine clips to attach the vines up the netting as they grow. For more on using plant clips, you can check out our series on Pruning and Trellising Tomatoes in our How-To Blog.
Most cut flowers such as dahlias, stock, snapdragons and zinnias benefit from the horizontal support netting gives them on a grid. Giving the flowers the even 6-inch spacing that the netting design allows the flower even access to sunlight, which helps eliminate stretching and twisting by the plant to get optimal light if blocked from overcrowding. Flowers like dahlias, zinnias, and other long-stem bouquet varieties yield the best results when supported by netting. This netting trains plants for more upright stems with longer stem lengths.
Another reason heavy duty floral netting is so important is that it protects long stem flowers from falling over in the wind or after heavy rains. Often the weight of excess moisture on the flowering foliage will cause the plants to become top-heavy and fall over. This can break the growing stems and result in dirty produce.
Trellis netting can be attached with the use of baling twine, UV resistant zip ties, or with electrical (PVC coated) wire. The netting is either tied directly to the support post or twine is interwoven to connect the trellis netting to a support wire.
Nylon trellis netting is especially strong because of its flexibility. It is very tear-resistant and can withstand the pressure of fluctuating weights due to moisture and as the plant grows.
Trellis netting can be supported horizontally with wooden posts or fiberglass plant stakes like these. Trellis netting set up horizontally can be supported by wooden posts or metal posts such as t-posts like the ones you would typically find at a farm supply store.
Hang the trellis net in the spring before the plants have had a chance to grow too tall. You will want to slowly train them to grow onto the vertical trellis netting. Horizontal plant support netting should be installed when flowers are at half height or around 6” tall.
Netting can be installed both vertically and horizontally depending on the need. Both are very simple, straightforward processes.
Vertical Trellis Installation:
To install netting vertically, insert support posts down your rows at approximately every 20'. Next, attach the net to the support posts using string or twine. We suggest that you snake a support cable such as metal wire or other strong cord or string through the netting at the top to support the net. Tie or clip your plants to the trellis netting as they grow and begin climbing. Some plants have tendrils that will tie themselves to the netting.
This style of installation is also used for vining crops in the vegetable garden or market farm. Vegetables and fruits like peas, cucumbers and tomatoes all benefit from support as they grow.
Horizontal Trellis Installation:
Install garden trellis net horizontally for cut flowers, use several layers close together. First, start by putting four wood or metal supports into the ground. Install the first two posts at equal width with your netting (i.e. 3' apart, 4' apart, 6' apart). The second set of posts should be installed 6'-20' wider. The height of the posts would depend on what you are growing.
Next, screw or bolt wooden cross bars between posts 1 and 2, and between posts 3 and 4 at the different heights that you will space your layers of trellis support at. The heights will depend on how tall your plants will grow. Typically this would be at 12", 24" and 36" from the ground.
After that step, attach the trellis netting to the cross bars by wrapping them around the crossbar and then tying string or zip ties around the net and crossbars to hold it in place.
Finally, unroll thelightweight, polypropylene trellis support netting and attach it to the cross bars between posts 3 and 4. You can continue the row by putting support posts and cross bars every 20' apart and making the layer as long as you want. Then do the next layer the same way.
Note: It is imperative to keep the trellis netting taut as birds can become entangled in the loose mesh.
Plant support netting should be dried in a cool dry place when not in use. It is especially important to keep it out of the direct sun to avoid any degradation. Once you are done using the netting for cut flower or vegetable gardening, carefully clean off any foliage, air dry, and fold before storage. White nylon trellis netting is very resistant to degradation and mildew as long as it is stored dry and out of direct sunlight.
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