There are two basic types of tomato plants which include the bush variety (determinate) and the vine variety (indeterminate). The bush variety can stand on its own and does not grow too tall in terms of height. The vine variety on the other end needs to be supported as it tends to grow along the ground and it can grow up to 10 meters. This is the reason why tomato trellis is necessary in the case of the vine variety.
Trellising protects the plant from pests and diseases and also increases the yield as they receive better air circulation and sunlight when trellised as compared to when growing on the ground. Trellising also helps you organize the farm better.
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Wire Tomato Cages
Tomato cages work for the bush variety of tomatoes and not for the vine type. Tomato cages can be bought or made at home. The cage is usually put over the plant while it’s still young and as it grows the branches will be supported by the cage to help the plant carry the weight of its fruit. You may need to provide additional support for the plant if it outgrows the cage or if the branches become too heavy with fruits. You can add wooden stakes or tie with strings for more support.
It is very easy to find a concrete mesh building material that you can use as your tomato trellis. Since it is used to reinforce concrete while building, it is definitely strong enough to support your tomato plants. To make it sturdier and firm, you can use a free-standing frame for it to remain in an upright position. It should be noted that concrete mesh rusts easily when exposed to the elements such as mist, but it is quite strong and durable so it will support your tomatoes for a long time even with the rust. Using concrete mesh will give you freedom to use most pruning methods for your indeterminate crop.
This is one of the simplest ways of trellising that exists. It is cheap and readily available. All that you only need strings if you are growing your tomatoes in a greenhouse and if you are growing them outside, you will need a frame as well. In a greenhouse, you can attach the string to the rafters, and that’s it. While growing your tomatoes outside, you can use the string trellising horizontally or vertically.
The horizontal option works best for the determinate variety of tomatoes. However, it is quite cumbersome as you have to reweave the string each time the plant grows a foot.
The vertical option will require you to make a frame that will hold the string at the top. The frame needs to be 6 to 8 feet high and have a support every 10 to 15 feet in the row. Have a single strand of robust and good quality wire running from the pole on one end, to the other end of the row. Ensure that you tie strings above each plant and let the strings hang all the way to the ground. You can then wrap your plant on the string or clip it on, and you need to keep doing that each time it grows.
Stake and String Trellising
This method is quite similar to the string method. In this method, a wooden or metallic stake is hammered into the ground next to each plant when they are planted to provide support for the plant in its very young stages. Once it has grown a bit, a string is added either vertically or horizontally. For the wooden stakes, cedar works best due to its rot-resistant quality; cedar stakes can last for years without rotting. Installing the stakes during planting will ensure that you do not damage any plant roots in the process. It is important to note that biodegradable string such as sisal string is better as it does not cause you the extra hassle of separating the string from the plant husk after harvesting.
Cattle Panels and String Trellises
This is a creative and beautiful way to trellis your tomatoes. The cattle panels that are used in this method are quite easy to find and durable as well. The cattle panel is firmly fixed at the bottom to give it stability and its upright posture. It is bent to make a lovely arch that looks very beautiful once the plants have grown and weaved their way to the top. String trellises are used with this method as well, with the strings being attached at the top and being weaved around the plant at the bottom. This method gives your plant enough support even when it’s laden with fruits. Even better, this method can also accommodate the roller system to help support and raise the smaller plants.
A lovely Tomato Trellis Archway
This tomato trellis is as much decorative as it is functional. The sides of it are supported by metal fence posts while strong straight wooden bars run across it. It has so much space for the plant to grow as it can be attached to the top of the arch if it grows too long. The archway trellis is durable due to its painted metal frame and wooden bars. It also offers a more permanent trellising solution.
The archway can be combined with the string method to provide additional support for the plants.
Trellising is an important aspect of farming plants such as tomatoes and other vine plants. This is because it helps to provide support for the growing plant and its fruit. It protects the plant from being damaged by foot traffic. More so, the plants are also kept away from the pests and diseases that come with growing along the ground. The fruits will also come out cleaner and healthier.
Trellising increases the yield of the plants by allowing the plant to have better air circulation and sufficient sunlight which are essential for photosynthesis. It is easier to see and pick fruits of trellised plants than those that are left to grow along the ground.