So, Trellis Net – what is it exactly?
If you’ve heard about trimming, pruning, super cropping, lollipopping and other growth methods done for plants, then you must have heard of the “Trellis Net” or “Trellising”. The reason why it’s usually paired with these terms is that the Trellis Net is somewhat a remedy or a support to those methods. To make it simple, a Trellis Net is a tool used to help support plants after they have gone through some stress methods that are used in order for them to grow a specific way. With this, Trellising would naturally mean applying the trellis net on your plants.
In order to understand what Trellis Nets are, let’s give a little background on it.
Plants that are grown outdoors use light from the sun. Since the sun rises and sets, the plant gets an equal amount of light for all its parts. This is not so true when it comes to indoor gardens or greenhouses. Lights are usually immovable and placed above the plants which prove to be a problem for growers because the leaves below don’t get the ample amount of light that they need. This makes them somewhat “deadweight” as they don’t contribute to the growth of the plant (through photosynthesis) while they still consume energy from the ones that do. This is where trimming, pruning, and those other methods come in. These methods are often used to push the focus of the plant upwards by removing the leaves and stems below. Whenever this happens, we disrupt the natural growth of the plant, therefore, we need some sort of support at the top part of the plant. The Trellis Net is made for this purpose; it is made to support the top part of the plant and to ensure proper growth despite changing its course.
So what does the trellis net exactly do as a support? To put it simply, after all, the stress methods done to the plant, the trellis net makes sure that light is still equally divided at the top part of the plant by gently redirecting (or bending) the stalks in a different location; instead of it going upwards, it goes sideways. This simple tool has actually proven to increase the overall yield of crops by up to 30%!
Now that we know what it does, the next step is to learn how to do it. Here are the steps in setting up a Trellis net:
Step 1: Ready the Plants
Prepping your plants is important before trellising. As stated above, trellising usually happen after your plants are pruned, trimmed or topped, so before you trellis your plant, make sure that they are already trimmed and pruned as it will be difficult for you to do it later especially if the net is in place.
Step 2: Prepare the Net
You can make your own or simply purchase one. In looking for the material to use, be sure to avoid thin strings such as fishing lines as it can harm the plants. Thin strings are usually sharper so it might cut the plant. The net should have grids that the top plant canopy can fit through. Additionally, make sure that the size of the trellis net is the right size for your crop area.
Step 3: Set up the Net
Setting up the trellis net is quite labor intensive. Be sure to have good supports for the nets in all corners of the crop area. The net should be placed on top of the plant canopy and each corner should be supported with something stable. If there are extra nets after covering the area, simply cut off the extra parts which can later be used for a double layered trellising.
Step 4: Fan out the branches
Fan out the branches under the trellis net. This makes weaving (the next step) easier. Fan them first by grabbing the longest branch and moving it away. Once this is done, go to the next biggest branch and do the same until everything is fanned out. This will make the plant look flat on top which is exactly the goal.
Step 5: Weave the Plants inside the Trellis net
The branches of the plant should be fitted inside the grids of the Trellis Net. You can bend the plants to “force” it inside and on the grid. Don’t worry about bending the plant, it won’t do any harm to it (it’s actually a form of light stress training!), just be sure that you don’t completely snap off the branch. In general, you would want to have one single bud site per grid to ensure proper growth.
In general, the final outcome after using the Trellis net will make the plant look like they are lying down/supporting themselves on the trellis net. With this, there should be an equal distribution of light and there will be constant light stress training for the plants both of which will increase the overall yield when it’s harvest time!
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