Trellis System High Density Orchard Question

We are revamping older plantings in our orchard, we have pulled trees that were underperforming to make room for high density. Our rows are 200 feet long, 15 feet between the rows. Right now, we have 6 rows that are prepped and ready to go as high density rows. We installed 8-10" posts, 30 foot on center, 9 trees in between posts. I have brace posts set to 60 degrees on each end and anchored with high tensile wire. I was wondering if I should set the wire level, regardless of terrain rise and fall, or should it be set at the prescribed intervals even with the change of terrain? (30", 20", 20", 20"). I have subtle rolling terrain, maybe a rise and fall from one end of the 200ft row to the other is 3ft. I plan on drilling holes through the middle of each post at the prescribed heights. I’m afraid that if I follow the terrain and attempt to tighten each line of wire, there will be too much friction on the wire to tighten properly. I am using Gripple wire joiners and 12.5 gauge high tensile wire.

My experience is in vineyard systems and we keep the wires at the same (relative/prescribed) heights. We don’t drill through the posts except occasionally on the end post. Generally people use staples on the sides of the post. The upward or downward pressure can cause a staple to pull out but only if the post is fairly worn (or the worker didn’t put the staple in at an angle, causing a seam in the wood). The wire is able to slide along the metal staple so usually the friction doesn’t cause snags, and three feet isn’t a bad drop. In some training systems we’ll staple the wire to the top of the post, those can be prone to borrowing into the wood and causing uneven tightening.

I think you’re using steel posts and @DCinFLX is using wood?

We staple the wires to the posts with large barbed staples at specific levels. Most post are 12 feet tall but we had problem where some trees on G41 with a big fruit load broke some end post during a high wind event and the entire row fell over. We plan to replace these endposts with H braces at both ends. . .

So am I better off with staples vs. drilling holes? My 12ft posts are very stout, 9ft above ground, 3ft below. I’m figuring that 300 pound posts spaced 30ft on center will prevent a blow over. My angle braces are anchored with 4400lb mil-spec earth anchors. We just installed everything this past week (48 posts) in order to let them settle over the winter, inevitably they are going to shift, I figured they would shift the most the first winter. We plan on installing the wire in the spring on the day the trees are planted.

Not 100% sure but I saw some research from Cornell where they drill some of the post as a safety precaution.

My post were 4/5 but 5/6 may have been better

Where did you get your earth anchors?

Earth anchors from eBay, they are pretty common. Look up military arrowhead anchors and you should be able to find them. All of my posts are minimum 7" in diameter up to 10".

If you drill your posts at the constant height, which is how I personally think it should be done, you will get the wire cutting into the post as you try and tighten it. I have seen galvanized pipe sleeves put into the holes to keep the wire from cutting into the wood.

Wish I had used larger diameter posts especially at the end of the rows.

The price difference for the post was huge so I I took a shortcut.

I may have been OK if the apples were picked before we got the high winds but the combination of big trees, lots of fruit and high winds was more than than the posts could handle.