What is the best material to use to support my growing vines? Are there more than one? What is better and why? We are sure at some point you have thought about experimenting with different materials in supporting your plants growth. In this post we are going to discuss the three materials that you can use to trellis with, how they differ, and why you might want to use one over the other. The three materials us gardeners have at our dispose is trellis netting, cattle panel, and twine. Trellis netting can come either as nylon or plastic in squares mesh sizes between 3.5 to 6 inches. We always recommend buying trellising netting with 6 inch square as it is much easier to fit your hand through to work or harvest from the plant. Cattle panel is metal wire mesh that comes in 4-6 inch square, just as trellis netting, but is much more stronger and will be able to handle the weight of the heaviest crops better than trellis netting. Lastly, twine or string can be nylon or jute material in a single strand that can be stretched out to what ever length and simply cut with scissors. Twine can be used to constructed your own grid pattern, but is mostly used with certain plants and for a certain growing method. So what plants benefit best from what material? Excellent question.
Trellising netting is very inexpensive and can last more than one season if handled properly. Trellis netting is commonly used in commercial applications as it can easily be unwinded over your plants and attached to support pillars. As the plant vines grow they will automatically grow into the squares support themselves. We recommend to use trellis netting with fragile vegetables and plants that do not produce very heavy fruits, as the heavy fruit will cause the netting to sag losing its ability to support. Plants such as determined tomatoes, bell peppers, flowers, sweet peas, and beans grow very well with trellis netting. It is super simple to set up and use, as the plant grows either weave the vines into the square mesh or let them naturally grow into the mesh to be supported. It can always be used with kale, spinach, or strawberries to give them a defined growing space within the squares and to help keep them off the ground where pest and disease live!
Cattle panel is best to be used with heavier plants and fruits that require a solid non-flexible support grid. Cattle panel and trellis netting server the same purpose just one is soft and flexible perfect for fragile plants and the other is strong and solid great for heavier plants. Cattle panel is widely used for vertical growing being able to hold the weight of various plants without losing structural integrity. Majority of plants will grow well with cattle panel either in a vertical or horizontal fashion such as indeterminate tomatoes, melons, squash, cucumber, pumpkin, hardy kiwi, gourds, sweet potato, peas and more. You can use the cattle panel in a vertical, horizontal, or slanted fashion (A-frame) to grow many varieties of plants with great success.
Twine will be your least expensive material you will find, but mainly used with select plants. Most of you have probably used twine for one reason or another it is a great material. We have seen gardeners use it in the Florida weave method for tomatoes or bell peppers, string it above on a frame to the base of plants such as pole beans and cucumbers, and across in horizontal lines for berries and grapes. Using twine can be a fun way to expand your skill set and let plants that naturally spiral grow around the twine is fun to see and watch. Please see our illustrations below for a more visual reference.
In closing words the material you choose will be dependent on the type of plant you want to grow or the method you want to use. See our previous post about DIY trellising and the three questions you want to ask yourself before building your trellis for more information. Please see our post on where you can trellis if you haven't read it already. In picking your material use stronger materials for heavier plants and lighter materials for fragile plants. Out of the three cattle panel can be used with any plant, but we always encourage you to have fun with your trellis and try different methods. Who knows you might find one method better than the other or come up with your own unique method. Have fun, grow big, grow strong, and start gardening!