Hops Trellis

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

I've been relocating my hops plants and part of that has included building a trellis for the hops to grow on.  I was hoping to build a six post trellis (three sets of two posts) anchored to footings.  The benefit of this is it would have been free-standing so I wouldn't have to set posts below grade (eventual rotting).

Unfortunately due to a bay window in the dining room I didn't have quite enough room for this setup, so instead I went with an in-line three post setup.  The posts themselves are 4x4x16 and are set in concrete 4.5 feet below grade and tied together with two 2x6x20 headers..  All lumber is redwood and was ordered from Burton Lumber in SLC.  I'm sure pressure treated would probably last longer but IMO the redwood looks a little nicer and accepts stain better than pressure treated.  Speaking of stain, all lumber was stained with two coats of Olympic Maximum Solid Color Stain in Mystic White prior to assembling.  I ended up with an overall height of 11.5 feet..that was until a rep from my HOA came by.  Turns out the HOA prohibits any structures taller than 8 feet in the backyard.  As I was talking to him I was looking around at the other yards and noticed no less than five structures exceeding the eight foot limit including his next door neighbor's shed.  I obliged the HOA and trimmed mine down to eight feet which is a lot lower than I wanted, but still much better than my 5 and 6 foot temporary trellises.  Besides, I'd like to build a patio cover at some point that will need to be around 9-10 feet, so I figured I'm going to pick my battles.  

My hops themselves are still spaced a little closer than I'd like but much more spacious than in the previous locations.  I added some new varieties this year so I'm doing a little experimenting to find out which ones will grow better in the Salt Lake Valley.  Utah has a pretty dry climate and can get hot during the summer.  The first summer here there was an entire month where it never got under 100 degrees.  Fortunately that isn't the norm, but we do routinely get up in the 90's.  If some varieties fail to thrive I'll remove them in favor of the ones that do better.  So far Cascade and Nugget seemed to do the best but I'm interested to see if that will change now that they have a bit more room to grow. 

Besides being on the warm side, our soil isn't the greatest.  Prior to re-planting I added some soil amendments consisting of composted steer manure and a blend of composted poultry manure and other organic material.  These were worked into the existing soil using a spade shovel and digging fork.

I'm still planning on adding some 2x2's to the top of the trellis but here's the finished product more or less.  I gotta say even at 8 feet there's a bit of flex in the posts and at 11+ feet there was even more.  Even though it's not at tall as I originally planned, the HOA may have done me a favor when the first windstorm blows into town.

Overall trellis

Just in time, purple tips of Cascades are starting to emerge