The Q&A Archives: Vine To Disguise Unsightly Spruce Tree

Question: There is a spruce tree on the southwest corner of my property line that has been shaded by larger trees that were recently cut down which leaves sparse ugly growth with open spots. My shade garden is now a full sun garden that needs to be replanted. I would like a suggestion for a climbing vine to cover the eye sore and adjacent old split rail fence that will be the backdrop of a new perennial garden. The garden is on the north side of the fence and tree and gets full sun from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM in mid summer. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Answer: A campsis radicans or trumpet creeper could cover a spruce tree and a fence. Virginia creeper or Parthenocissus quinquefolia would also be a good candidate in the right size range. These are both large rambunctious vines that may seed about and can be difficult to control once they reach a great height. I would caution you also that adding the extra weight of a vine can cause an evergreen to become extra heavy and blow harder in winter storms as a result. It is also possible, based on your description, that the eyesore tree may be shocked by removal of its neighbors, and possibly die off as a result. If it belongs to you, you could also consider removing it and replanting with something more attractive. I'm sorry about the mess.

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