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UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County

Trick Tomato Trellis Systems

Every year, I try to keep my tomatoes up off of the ground by installing a trellis system in advance of the tomatoes needing to be trellised.  My usual system is the "post and twine" system in which 2 inch posts are pounded into the ground using a stake pounder at 10 foot intervals and then wrapping/weaving the twine around the poles at 10 inch vertical intervals.  It works pretty well and I am not unhappy with it.  However, the downside is that the cotton jute that I prefer to use because it is compostable stretches, sags and becomes brittle as you go through the summer.  The plastic twine that most "growers" use works better but it has to be disposed of in the landfill since it isn't recyclable or compostable.  This year, as an alternative to trellising, I planted a compact determinate variety of tomato from Johnny's selected seed called BHN-444.  I chose it partly to being determinate and partly because it was resistant to Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, which devastated my crop last year.  It is producing beautiful, large red globe like tomatoes with excellent flavor.  (Okay, maybe not as good as some of the heirloom varieties but at least I have a crop!)

But back to of the best sites I have seen that identifies to pros and cons and relative costs to a variety of trellising system is one done by the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners.  They have tried a number of trellising systems over the years at their demonstration garden.  Their reviews will help you better select a trellising system that works for you.  For details go to:

Share your tomato trellising stories by sharing us your comments on this blog.  And Special Thanks to the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners for their great work!!!

Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2010 at 11:31 AM


The Best Tomato Staking and Trellising system I saw was at Renee's Seeds in Felton. It was made out of wood and had alternate stacking slats for containing the plants and allowing them to grow without restrictions. It was also easy to get into the plant to pick. I'll find out if I can get the details on how they were built. The looked like they would last for some time.

Posted by Paula Glogovac on August 4, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Hi Paula: I would love to see it. If you know of a picture, that would be terrific. Thanks so much for your comment. Cheers.

Posted by Pamela M. Geisel on August 4, 2010 at 11:44 AM

The 7-8 ft tomato cages are great! I've used them and love them, highly recommend them. Tomatoes can find their way up but stay contained and help prevent sunburn. They last for many many years, and are easy to move and install.

Posted by Carla Resnick on August 14, 2010 at 12:21 AM

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