SUPPORTING YOUR PLANTS
Trellises, pergolas and arches do more than just support vines; they can also keep these tenacious plants from tearing apart siding and other vulnerable structures. Whichever support you choose, be sure it's large and sturdy enough to hold the mature vine. Then put it in place before planting to avoid damaging the vine. You can build your own support or choose from a wide selection of prefabricated trellises and arches made of metal, PVC or wood. Expect to pay about $200 for a 7-ft.-high trellis made of premium-grade Western red cedar and $150 or more for a premium nylon-covered tubular steel arch that's 7 ft. high. Also choose weather-resistant materials when building your own structures. Wires used in cables or gridwork should be rustproof (plastic-coated or copper electrical wire work well). In trellis or arbor construction, use pressure-treated lumber or a decay-resistant wood such as redwood or cedar heartwood. Some other support tips for vines:
  • Secure trellises or latticework so they extend several inches out from the surface of wood siding. This protects the siding by promoting air circulation. The extra space also makes pruning easier. Use angle irons or small blocks of wood placed between the support and siding to create the necessary space.
  • Consider a hinged trellis, which lets you quickly move flexible-stemmed vines out of the way for painting and other maintenance. Hinge it at the bottom and attach it at the top with metal hooks and eyes.
  • Tie vines to their support using strong, stretchy materials that won't cut into growing branches. Strips of old nylon hosiery are an excellent choice. Be sure to loop ties in a figure-eight pattern, with the crossed portion sitting between the stem and the support; this helps keep vine stems from chafing or snapping in windy conditions.
  • Don't use trees to support vigorous vines such as bittersweet. Vines growing into the top of a tree and shading its leaves will weaken or even kill the tree.
    GOLD FLAME HONEYSUCKLE (Lonicera species) is a vigorous deciduous or semievergreen vine reaching 12 to 15 ft. high. Fragrant flowers bloom from spring to frost. Hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar, and many birds feed on the seeds. The plant is effective trained on wire cables along eaves or framing a doorway. Twining stems quickly conceal their support. Hardy to -30°F.
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