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Beauty and Value of Vines

Vines are useful and attractive additions to any size landscape.  They can be used to reduce heating and cooling costs, soften harsh structural features, screen or divide areas in the yard, mask unsightly views while adding color and interest to the landscape.

Grow deciduous vines on the southern and western walls of your home for energy savings. The vines shade the house in summer but allow the sunlight through in the winter to warm the house. Select vines that complement your landscape design and are best suited to the growing conditions. The vines you select should be hardy to your area, tolerant of the existing growing conditions and fit the available space. Keep in mind the small plant you purchase at the garden center or nursery can quickly grow and overtake the trellis, arbor or wall.

Clinging vines, like climbing hydrangeas and euonymus, should only be grown on brick or masonry. They attach to walls and structures by rootlike holdfasts and can damage wooden structures and make repair and routine maintenance of wood and siding difficult.

Twining vines, like clematis and honeysuckle, need some sort of structure for the twining stems or petioles to attach to and climb. Use trellises or supports next to your home. Or anchor wires (copper ages quickly becoming inconspicuous) on walls or structures for the vines to climb. This method allows you to move the vines out of the way when repairs or painting is needed. Simply detach and lay the vine covered wires on the ground out of the way. Allow air space between the support and wood siding to reduce the risk of mold and rot.

Most vines are fast growing once established. Many like wisteria, American bittersweet and trumpet vine require yearly pruning to keep them inbounds. Make sure the support is large and strong enough to support the mature vine and you have the time and energy to do the needed pruning.

Vines are great camouflage for chain link fences. Select fast growing vines for long trellises and tall fences. Plant vines every 5 feet for quick cover. Use slower growing and smaller vines planted further apart for smaller fences or a more open effect.

Many vines grow upright before branching and covering their support. The result, an unsightly trunk with a mass of tangled branches covered with leaves at the top of the plant. Start pruning vines when young to develop an attractive framework with lots of leaf covered branches. Once the support is in place, your vine in the ground, sit back and wait for these climbers to improve your view.


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