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applestar
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Need help with versatile wire trellis material

OK I'm confused and stumped.
I want to make hoop structures, but I need heavy duty trellises too. And I can't afford the space, time, money, or energy making or buying them both.

Then it occurred to me that the concrete reinforcing wire (4'x8' sheets that BIL got for me a couple of years ago from somewhere -- I think he said he got a friend to cut them from a roll and that he didn't think I could cut them myself) worked out really well as vertical flat trellis secured longways and short ways on stakes.

I like that the openings are large enough to reach through and bring out most harvest, and the wire is strong enough to provide good support.

I think I could also bend them to make a nice arch to cover with plastic, bird netting, shade cloth, etc. I tried floating covers one year and they kept on snagging on the rust, so I don't think they're good for that, but I can always lay the floating covers directly on the plants.

ETA: Also, if I secure them into arches for a time, can they be straightened into flat sheets again. Do people who make tomato cages out of them store them in the cyrindrical shape or flatten them?

I could try asking him again, but I wonder if I can't just get them from somewhere? I've seen similar "sheets" tucked away and rusty at big box stores. Is that the best place to get them? (don't send me to salvage yards and other esoteric places -- someplace reasonably easy to find, please)

Also what are HOG WIRE Fences and how do they compare to concrete reinforcing wires (structurally and price wise)? I've heard that they work well too. Where do you get them?

I asked at Tractor Supply and they had Something that was much heavier gauge than concrete reinforcing wire. They were bigger than 4x8 -- maybe more like 12' long and I couldn't even lift one end of it so that was out of the question, but are those what are called "cattle panels"?

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jal_ut
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Concrete reinforcing wire is 6x6 mesh and is bendable. It is heavy enough for trellising. The rolls are six feet wide. It is heavy enough that you about need bolt cutters to cut it. You may find it at Lowes or Home Depot. If BIL has a contact, that may be your best bet.

Hog panels are 16 feet x 3 feet and much heavier. They are galvanized and would last a lifetime as a trellis. They are too heavy to bend easily.

At one time I got some 4x2 galvanized mesh wire at a farm supply store (IFA) that makes excellent tomato cages and would be bendable for hoops too. It was about #10 wire and quite sturdy. You can't get your hand through it to pick things though. I have used it for trellising peas and tomato cages, besides covering chicken coop windows.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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applestar
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Thanks jal, I wonder if what I saw at the Tractor Suppy WAS Hog panel then?

I suppose considering the popularity of CRW tomato cages, maybe that IS the best choice when all is said and done.... It just made me wonder because I thought it would be something more prominently sold at the Lowes and Home Depot, but maybe it's like cinder blocks -- I have to go all the way to the other end of the store from the Gardening section to the lumber section for them -- maybe I'm looking in the wrong area?

I guess I'll ask my BIL about it too. Trout season is opening soon and the brothers will be fishing together often. 8) DH says his pickup truck is for fishing and not for carrying gardening stuff though. :roll:

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nedwina
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Flattening CRW can be a booger. I unrolled & flattened (imperfectly!)about 5 ten foot pieces last year. You need serious weighs to pin it down in place, I used some brake drums I had lyin' around. Walking all over flatted it ok, but not enough, so I ended up using one of those asphalt flattener tools- (a long handle with a big heavy plate on the bottom), and thump thumped the piece all over in the driveway. Flipping frequently. And then fine tuned with a rubber mallet. Wired to T-posts, it worked very well for a running bean trellis.

Hog panels are great for arches that make the beans hang down, I've seen some great photos online. But I've yet to find a place that sells and delivers them- at 16 feet (or whatever they are) long, getting one home from TSC is beyond my capabilites unless I rent a UHaul truck. Not there yet. I'm going to try a CRW arch with the T-Posts this season, and see how that goes. I suspect it may need quite a bit of shoring up. Or maybe even some kind of wood framing. After a certain length it gets really floppy.

I made 4 huge CRW cages for my gourds (4 foot diameter) and made them slightly bigger as I went along, so I can store them inside one another in one column. Worked out well. But ya can only do so many that way, LOL.

(And yes, you find CRW over by the paving stones and fencing stuff at the Big Box places~comes in huge, heavy rolls, but it's practically a lifetime supply.)

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gixxerific
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Jal said was I was going to say. CRW yes Hog panel no. Hog panel is too thick to easily bend.

Be careful and wear gloves even a long sleeved shirt when working with CRW. It can be unruly at times but with care it can be tamed. I have cut myself several times when working with it.

It can be bent and rebent but if you are bending in half and straightening it will break with only a few bends. But what you are doing that shouldn't happen. I use it for tomato cages I store mine rolled up it's too much of a pain to straighten out, plus like is said I use a few of the wires here and there bent over to hold it together. If I were to straighten it out every year it would break and eventually have to get shorter and shorter. Last year I unrolled them and hoped them around each other. This made them heavy to move and was a real test of patience on bandaging. :wink:

In a hoop type bend it would not be a problem, it's only a half circle and flattening it out would be no problem. You would have to coax it to flatten with some weight. Or it will spring back to where you had it. It is doable for sure. Home depot or Lowe's would be a place to start. I pick mine up off of the job site when the flat workers are done and leave rolls of it behind. :wink:

Good luck hope this helps.

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gixxerific
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Funny little story Apple. The other day when putting fencing up on my rejuvenated garden. I unrolled the fencing with weight on the start. I want to say it was 30 foot long or better. I got to the end and slipped and let go before I could put weight on the other end side. Take a guess what happened.

Yep it quickly rolled itself back up all the way across the yard. I just had to stop shake my head and laugh. Telling myself "gee I didn't see that coming" :oops: :x

That can happen with CRW as well so Please be careful.

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jal_ut
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Yep! I worked construction for many years. When rolling the wire out you had to have someone stand on the end. Then you best be standing on the other end when you cut it. More than once I saw someone forget this rule and the darned thing would roll up and get going very fast and take out anything in the way.

After cutting off a piece we would turn it over. That would prevent it from rolling up, but we would have to stand on it facing the end and pull it up to bend it a bit near the end so it would lay flat. It could be made to lay flat if you worked at it a bit. It can be dangerous though. Like gix says, be careful.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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gixxerific
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Good point James. I forgot to mention the fact that you need to bend the other way to get the "roll" out of it. Especially with something heavier like CRW. It can be dangerous and mess you up. I have seen it happen myself the same way James was talking about. I had to put my dog inside while I was putting up my fencing cause I knew she would be all over it and one slip and she might have been rolled up in that mess I had. :lol: I know what I doing and still I screwed up. It happens.

Don't let us scare you away from this, it is a great idea and will work wonderfully. But be aware of what you are doing at all times and please have someone help you, it is not an easy task by yourself, look at what I did. :oops: Once you have it worked into the shape you want it, you should be good with it staying.

I say go for it. But I would be very upset if you got hurt messing with this. :cry: I would love nothing more than to come do it for you but I'm am sorry to say that is not feasible.

Good luck Apple it if you need any advice please PM me or James for that matter if he doesn't mind. I just worry about you my friend.

Dono

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applestar
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Wow thanks so much you guys! ...and ummm I have to say I AM a bit nervous now and not sure at all if I could do the whole unrolling and cutting thing. (...wish you lived closer too Gixx. :wink: )

I guess I'll ask BIL first and see what he says.
I went out and counted, and the ones he got me before were 84"x42" (14x7 squares) -- Not even sure how we ended up with these dimensions if they come in 6' wide rolls, but he did say his buddy wanted me to tell him the size I wanted by number of squares. I'll have a better idea what to expect this time.

And maybe I'll see if there is a place that sells the kind of fencing Marlingardener was talking about.

Thanks again! :D

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