Wiring a Grid to Train Roses


Wire grid trellis systems make a bold architectural statement in the garden. Climbing roses, such as the "Lady Banks" varieties (Rosa banksiae), which bloom in yellow or white, single or double flowers and are evergreen in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 to 11 and deciduous in zones 6 to 8, can be trained on a wire trellis to create a living wall of greenery and fragrant blossoms. Wire grid trellises can be constructed in various forms, depending on how they will be used and the desired aesthetic.

Wire Trellising for Roses

  • Wire trellising can be built informally with steel wire strung between two posts or as welded architectural features that border on fine art. Braided wire cable can be used with tensioning devices that keep the wire taut or pre-fabricated wire fencing can be stretched on a wooden frame for a simplified, low cost approach. Roses can be trained on any of these systems, but the stronger the better because the vines grow heavy with age. Most climbing roses will fill 50 square feet of trellis space within a few years.

Building a Wire Grid

  • Wire trellises tend to have a very modern aesthetic that which graced with roses provides an old-fashioned or country meets modern or urban look. If you lean more toward old-fashioned or country consider a wire grid on a wood frame for your roses. This combination works especially well in a cottage garden. It requires at least two stout posts set one-third of their height in the ground with concrete. Use any type of wire fencing with holes at least 3 inches in diameter, and mount it between the two posts. Use trim to conceal the edges.

Positioning in the Landscape

  • A wire grid for roses needs a sunny location in the landscape. To produce an abundance of blooms, roses need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sun each day. They will generally survive in good health with 4 hours of sun, though flowering will be reduced. "Lady Banks" requires full sun to partial shade. In most cases, a warm south-facing wall of the house is a good location for a rose trellis, but in hot desert climates an east-facing wall should be used. A free-standing wire grid can be positioned in any sunny location in the landscape and used as a vertical screen to divide outdoor spaces or to block an undesirable view.

Training Roses to the Grid

  • Climbing roses have stiff arching canes, as opposed to the supple stems of twining vines, so a grid with larger openings makes it easier to weave the rose stems into the trellis. Begin by planting a rose at the base of each of the trellis posts. Separate the stems of the rose, and train the lowest one to the wire at the bottom of the grid. Train additional stems every 6 to 8 inches up the trellis, continuing all the way to the top as the rose grows.

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