Choosing a vineshelter
Which vineshelter? There are many features that differentiate vineshelters, and we answer the question via some of the technical advice given on this site.
However, broad considerations:
- Height (growth impact, or protection required from animals or herbicide)
- Stength and/or rigidity
- Fixing or stabilizing mechanism
- Openable or closed
- Ventilated or solid
- Colour (growth impact or aesthetics)
- Cost (and impact on other costs)
Vineshelters are supplied in heights ranging from 0.2m (small plastic arrangements, or milk cartons) to 0.9m (e.g. Tubex Vine Original).
Height related factors:
- Height of trellis wires. The vineshelter should be used to train the vine to the trellis wire. Different environments and growers will opt for different trellis wire heights.
- Depth of submergence below the soil. We recommend that the vineshelter is sealed by the soil, either by burying below soil level, or by mounding outside. The height choice of shelter will need to reflect the submergence depth.
- Whilst growth improvements are experienced in all vineshelter heights, research indicates that better growth enhancement is experienced within vineshelters in the range of 0.75m – 0.9m. This is self-explanatory, as the vine spends longer within the vineshelter microclimate.
- Weed control procedures – e.g. different spraying heights.
- Animal protection requirements. Animal damage is usually by rabbits (or smaller animals) for which a 0.6m shelter is sufficient. If hare damage is a concern use a 0.75m shelter.
Different growers prefer different diameters, normally within a range of 65mm to 110mm. The narrowest (and most popular) Tubex vine shelter (Tubex Ecovine) is 71mm in diameter. For some of the larger leafed varieties we normally recommend a larger diameter (Tubex Original).
Diameter related factors:
- Leaf diameter (as mentioned);
- Temperature control (larger diameter shelters reach slightly higher temperatures);
- Stability requirements (wider diameter shelters are more stable).
Don’t forget to consider both the impact of x-sectional area – some triangular shelters have a very low overall internal x-sectional area. Some shelters also require a stake or cane to be inserted within the shelter, which reduce the remaining internal x-sectional area.
Tubex vineshelters are known for strength and durability. Related factors:
- The overall level of protection given to the plant will affect growth. It is a secure microclimate and protection from wind buffeting that produces the growth benefits. Many cheaper products (e.g. milk cartons and plastic bags) will not provide this sort of environment and therefore only provide basic protection.
- Re-use requirements – often an important financial consideration.
These factors relate to how the vineshelter is intended to be supported. Many different factors are relevant:
- Soil type (stability provided by)
- Trellis type, height, timing of construction
- Availability of stakes/canes/rods
- Pruning requirements (anticipated regularity of removal)
An openable shelter is recommended if the grower anticipates wanting to inspect and/or prune the vine regularly. For this reason, Tubex supplies a range of openable vineshelters. However, with reduced lateral growth and a much improved microclimate we normally recommend a solid shelter. A solid shelter can be lifted if pruning is considered necessary.
One common myth is that ventilated shelters are cooler than solid shelters. This is not the case, so temperature control is NOT a consideration here. Ventilation will allow a) an alteration to the microclimate (modified CO2 levels) and b) limited exposure to wind movement. On balance we do not recommend the use of ventilated shelters as the impact of a) is negligible and the impact of b) is negative – producing more lateral growth. In addition, a ventilated shelter reduces the effectiveness of any herbicide protection. However Tubex does manufacture and supply ventilated shelters where requested by its customers.
Much is often said about the colour of a vine (or tree) shelter and its impact upon growth. As with a number of shelter features it is often difficult to isolate one factor and assess its impact – colour is one of these factors.
There are various elements of the light spectrum that affect plant growth – blue and green light, red and far red light. Different wavelengths of light will affect different elements of the growth process. However, we do not believe that the range of variation that is contributed by a number of vineshelter colours is significant.
It is often assumed that the colour of the shelter represents the colour (wavelength) of the light. This is very simplistic.
The most important relationship is that between red and far red light. This governs the process of Photomorphogenesis. All of Tubex vineshelters provide a red/far red relationship that is beneficial for plant Photomorphogenesis.
An equally important consideration here is often aesthetics!
An assessment of cost is complicated. We list below some of the factors to consider, and we will follow this up by providing a cost matrix for assessing the financial implications of using vineshelters (coming soon!)
- Purchase price of vine shelter
- Support mechanism (if required)
- Cost (time) of installation, (including assembly if required)
- Removal cost
- Storage cost (if re-using)
- Disposal cost
Different impacts upon growing and maintenance costs affected: