To many people, wildly blooming vines spilling over a fence is a beautiful thing. To us at Buzz, well, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. We’re always thinking about the way the vines impact the fences. Some are fine, but others are bad seeds that lure a fine fence to its destruction – introducing bugs and rot, even knocking it flat on its back. Today, we’ll look at a few dos and don’ts for those who want their fence to have a simpatico relationship with vines.
How do you spot a bad vine? It’s likely to be:
Woody vines, such as trumpet vine and wisteria, are friends to butterflies and hummingbirds, but their excess moisture can spell rot for your fence. Woody roots can infiltrate your wooden fence’s slats and expand cracks, ultimately leading to a broken fence. Invasive species have a secret agenda: Monday they take over your fence, Tuesday your yard, Wednesday your neighborhood, Thursday your state… you get the idea. We’re talking world domination inside of two weeks.
What constitutes a good vine partially depends on your fence material. Aluminum and vinyl fences hold up well to most vines. Clematis and coral honeysuckle are good choices for perennial vines that will quickly and prettily climb vinyl fences.
Wooden fences are most at risk, since vines can rot, crack and twist the boards. Choose herbaceous (non-woody) vines, and train them to grow along posts and upper support beams rather than vulnerable slats. Sweet pea, moonflower and climbing nasturtium work well, but you should remove them at the end of the growing season. While planting new vines every year sounds like a lot of work, the upside is you can try out different flowers. Even fences like a little variety.
Now we come to a touchy subject: That vine planted in your neighbor’s yard that has breached your yard’s perimeter and is making itself way too at home on your property. Can you drop Round Up on the whole mess? Well, no.
Most of us hate conflicts with our neighbors, and wish they would just shape up without having to be told. Don’t they notice the way their ivy has covered your fence, shed, doghouse and deck, and is now starting to wrap around your youngest daughter’s ankle? Apparently not.
Unfortunately, this situation requires communication. You’ll probably need to approach your neighbor and explain that their vine has taken over your property. You can ask them to cut their vines way back. Or, even better, see if they’ll remove the offending plant.
What if they stare at you blankly for ten seconds, then return to looking at their phone? You’ll have to content yourself with cutting all the vines on your side of the fence, to the edge of your property line. Use a weed whacker. The louder, the better, and as early in the morning as possible. Or late at night, if your neighbors are morning people. Next time you see them, mention that English ivy is a popular rat habitat. It’s worth a try.
Need a New Fence?
Is it too late for your fence? Has it been felled or irreparably damaged by evil vines? Call your friends at Buzz today. We feel your pain, and can help you design a new fence to fit your needs. We’re also happy to discuss how to best landscape around your fence and gate.