Trellis Design

This post has been revisited here.

Trellis design has many implications for our hop yard.

The big questions are…

  • How high should it be? Traditional 22′ or the newer lower 10′ design?
  • How much space should be left between the rows?
  • How much spacing is needed between poles?

The fact we are only establishing one acre allows some flexibility in these decisions that would otherwise be solely dictated by cost and land/material availability.  Instead we focused our attention on the trellis’ impact on the labor associated with land maintenance and fall harvest. Using a variety of different resources, but in particularly those provided by Simple Earth Hops, UVM Extension, and Matt Sweeny we have established the following initial land schematic. Note that the graphics used to create the schematic are taken directly from Matt Sweeny’s layout of 1/4 acre, which can be found on his website, and is also shown below.

The Hop Yard’s Proposed Trellis Layout:

  • Row Spacing: 10′, 12 total rows
  • Row Length: 250′
  • Plant Spacing: 3′, 250 plants per row, 1000 plants total
  • Pole Spacing: 50′, 6 poles per row, 72 poles total
  • Pole Height: ~22′ above ground, 4′ below

The wider then normal row spacing we believe will allow for increase light exposure, and air circulation around the year. Additionally, this spacing will allow us to run a riding lawn mower through the yard for easy maintenance.

Our plant spacing aligns with conventional spacing recommendations, and while it may be a bit tighter then we would desire, it will help keep material costs down a bit and with our wider row spacings we don’t expect light/air flow to present an issue.

Pole spacing has perhaps been the hardest decision to finalize. The theory we have been working with is, more poles results in a more rigid and structurally sound trellis. A stronger trellis will bear strong winds with less fear of collapse, however our hop yard has natural wind breakers on three of it’s four sides, which we feel reduces the justification for an increased pole count. Additionally, it is our intention to harvest our acre manually oppose to mechanically, which will reduce the strain on the lines during the time of year they are most heavily weighted.

Maine Hops - Hop Yard Layout