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Home > Caterpillar Tunnel Product Info > Can I install my caterpillar tunnel on a hill?
Can I install my caterpillar tunnel on a hill?
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Yes. However, below are some variables to consider, and caution with prudent planning is highly encouraged. These are only our guidelines and not a guarantee. 

 

Tunnel Orientation

You can install the tunnel perpendicular or parallel to the hillside. It is not recommended to trellis on an installation that is parallel to the hillside with a grade that exceeds three percent. This is due to gravitational pull from the weight of trellised plants on the bottom end of the tunnel. 

 

With an installation that is perpendicular to the hillside, one could install a basic tunnel with no trellising on up to twenty-five percent grades. If the grower decided to trellis in this scenario, installing a lift kit cut to fifteen and a half inches tip to tip on the bottom side of the tunnel would compensate for the grade and mitigate bow pressure. 

 

Grade

Lift Kit Length

10%

5 in

12.7 cm

15%

7.5 in

19.05 cm

20%

10 in

25.4 cm

25%

15.5 in

39.37 cm

 

Prevailing Winds

As far as prevailing winds, an installation of the tunnel parallel to the wind is best. The tunnel will more naturally shed the wind. In a perpendicular installation, in reference to the wind, the side plastic will have a tendency to catch wind and lift. 

 

This is exacerbated when the tunnel is on a hillside with prevailing winds whipping down the hill side. In this situation, one could still install a tunnel, however, it is recommended to seal off the uphill windward edge by burying the plastic. This will help prevent erosion and water shed inside of the tunnel as well.  See attachment. 

 

Land Grade

We do not recommend exceeding a twenty-five percent land grade. How do you determine your land grade? All you need is a 50” board, level, tape measure, note-taking device. Watch this video to see these tools in action. 

 

Erosion

The cardinal issue of growing on a hillside is erosion. Contoured rows, terracing, ditching, and raised beds are ways to mitigate erosion. In planning, the grower can incorporate tunnels into their hillside growing. 

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Attachments

Gardening on a hillside.pdf Soil Conservation Techniques for Hillside Farms.pdf caterpillar tunnel on a hill.pdf
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