aggressive vines on the East Boston show house
Photo: Russell Kaye
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5. Remove Aggressive Vines

On brick or stone home facades, climbers with suckers, such as Virginia creeper, pull the lime out of the mortar, creating entry points for water. Vines also hold moisture against walls, which can wreak havoc on wood clapboards, slowing their ability to dry out after a rain and causing rot. If vines get between boards, they can push them apart.

"Pull all the vines off, working from the top down; cut them at the base, and dig out the roots," says TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook. To remove any residue left behind on wood siding, do a quick pass with an orbital sander. Come spring, paint an herbicide on any new growth.

You'll avert having to spend up to $25 per square foot for professional mortar repointing. For wood houses, dodge up to $3,000 to re-side and rebuild a rotted clapboard wall.
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