The Q&A Archives: Recommendation For Fence Foliage

Question: I have just put up a 6' X 60' wood frame wire mesh fence in my backyard. Can you suggest some climbing vines? The ground is beneath an existing grove of Eucalyptus; the soil is clay with rocks. I can ammend the soil to some extent, but the fence is on a lot with at a 40 degree downslope, some 45' from the back of my house. I am thinking about a trumpet vine, but a friend has this along their fence, and they have to cut it back every other year. We also have deer in our area. Thanks for the help.

Answer: The situation you describe doesn't sound very plant-friendly! Anything vigorous enough to cope with poor soil and competition from eucalyptus roots will need at least annual pruning to keep it in shape. Lonicera (honeysuckle), forsythia (trained through the wire), or climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala) are plants I've had success with under difficult circumstances. They each need pinching and pruning in the juvenile stages, and annual pruning to keep them inbounds, but are otherwise good additions to the landscape. Hope one of these plants appeals to you!

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