The Q&A Archives: Climbing Vines For Chain Link Fence.

Question: I am going to try to cover a chain link fence with a vine and need to know which is best for my area. I would not only like it to look pretty in the spring thru summer but i would also like it not to look bare in the fall/winter months. I want it for privacy from the yard next door. I have a climbing vine in the back yard that i had always thought was jasmine but I now think it might be honeysuckle. It has beautiful white small flowers with a yellow (string) in the middle that are very fragrant beginning in june and continues to bloom thru the summer. In the fall all the leaves are gone and leaves the yard looking very bare. I would appreciate any suggestions you have. Please take into account that i live in a somewahat congested area and would like to cover all the fence area and would prefer not to have berries so as to minimize bird droppings on my house. Plants that attract butterflies or ladybugs would be very beneficial.
Also, I would like to plant a tree (maybe a dogwood) do they have a deep or shallow root? Thank You very much for any suggestions you can give to me.

Answer: There are a number of vines that will cover a chainlink fence, however the only one that will meet most of your requirements that I can think of is English ivy (hedera helix). This plant will cover it year round because it is evergreen, grows under difficult conditions, and does not seed about from bird droppings. Incidentally, the Japanese honeysuckle is no longer recommended as an ornamental planting because it is considered an invasive exotic plant in your area; it is spread by bird droppings and can outcompete many of our native plants in the wild.

Dogwoods are shallow rooted and require an evenly moist yet well drained soil. The soil should be acidic and humusy. Unfortunately, our native dogwood trees (Cornus florida) are subject to some disease problems so may not be your best choice for a tree.

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