Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to construct a "tree of life" with muscadine grape vines

Hi John, found you on Youtube.  building a labyrinth and in the center of this labyrinth I want to create a dual effect.   
  • A. Tree of Life
  • B. DNA ladder symbolism.
I have installed a 24" x 8' terracotta pipe stood vertically.  consideration is to plant two muscadine plants spiraling up the turret to symbolize  DNA structure and have them create foliage and fruit at the top. 

Is this reasonable? what plant do you recommend that has a nice thick woody trunk leading up the turret?  At the turret base for the plants how much depth and width should i allow for soil?  Suggestions on how to trellis for strength and effect?  can you supply the plants at what cost plz?  location is Pilot Mountain NC.  27040

Also,  at the top of turret will be copper transitional piece to shoulder a 24" copper genesa crystal.  the turret is filled with quartz crystals inviting earth energy to flow and then broadcast by the genesa.

Thanks for asking. Your project sounds intriguing. Most muscadines should be cold hardy in your area, but you should check the hardiness of the varieties you consider. Some are hardier than others.

I don't sell muscadine vines any longer, but can recommend some growers to you.

Muscadines are shallow rooted, so soil depth shouldn't be much of an issue. But the roots can spread a long way. So long as you don't have pavement around them, they should be okay.

The trellis at top should be very sturdy. Muscadines live a long time. I imagine something like a steel umbrella. The steel post could fit inside the terra cotta turret. A round steel plate could be welded on top of the post with c-channel steel posts (or something similar) radiating outward. A steel ring, fitting around the outside of the turret, would provide support for braces (as I said, it would look like a big umbrella). This structure would be fabricated (find a welder/fabricator in your area) elsewhere and installed over the

The radiating arms (perhaps you have a number in mind) needn't be too long. Maybe 5' or 6' long.

Individual grape vine arms could be trained to the radiating arms. They could be fastened with plastic Ag-Lock fasteners.

The vine arms would be permanent. Lateral vines would be pruned annually to keep the tree neat and productive.

Grape vines would be easy to work with. Akebia quinata produces colorful flowers and edible fruit, but grows very quickly and may get away from you. Hardy kiwi (Actinidia arguta) should work, but seems to me that Vitis has more ancient lore and cultural interest.

You could also espalier fruit trees like apple or pear around the turret, but they would take longer and be more difficult to train.

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