The Q&A Archives: Suggestion For Climbing Vinte

Question: I have a 6' tall stockade fence in my back yard and I would like to plant some type of climbing vine (perhaps ivy?). It is in a mostly shaded area and in a rich wildlife environment, so would need to be a safe plant. There are also numerous trees bordering my fence from my neighbors yard, so I would need to be careful that whatever I plant does not grow/cling to their trees. Any suggestions as to what to plant, when to plant it and how to prune so as to keep only on my fence?

Answer: Although ivy (Hedera helix) or Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus) would grow unsupported on the fence, these clinging vines would eventually begin to climb the trees unless you regularly and repeatedly trim it back during the growing season. Possibly a better selection would be the sweet autumn clematis (C. terniflora although also seen as C. paniculata). This plant will reach about 25 feet if left unpruned, but can be cut back hard once each spring and will stay about half that size as a result. It may need some help to reach the top of the fence, but once there it will scramble along the top and cascade a bit with a billowy effect. It will tolerate partial shade and compete with tree roots.

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