Gardens

How to Train Climbing Vines

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Climbing vines will go anywhere their growth will allow. Sometimes it is not so easy to get them to go where you want.  Here are the steps to training a climbing vine.

Materials

  • Scaffold poles
  • Steel wire

Step 1 - Decide Where You Want Your Vine to Go

The type of vine that will have some bearing on the location. A vine of a creeping ivy plant will probably be allowed to go anywhere as long as it doesn't cover windows and block out the light. A grape vine will need to be kept within reasonably easy reach so that the grapes can be harvested.

Step 2 - Work Out The Support Your Vine Needs

A vine that does not support itself will need to have a network of supports installed on a building or in an open space, while a self supporting vine won't need anything at all - just something to climb on. The ivy only needs a rough wall to climb up. The grape vine cannot support itself, so it will need a network of strong supports.

Step 3 - Check the Supports

Starting with the self supporting vine, you need to check that the surface you want it to grow over is strong enough to take the extra weight. The little gluey pads that ivy uses to attach itself to surfaces could be enough to support the vine. The number of support points that are holding up the vine will spread the load, but will the load be too much?

With the grape vine you know that this will be easy to grow across a frame work about eight feet above the ground. What is harder to estimate is the weight that a mature vine can attain when it is covered in fruit. You can, though, assume that the support structure must be very strong to support it.

Step 4 - Start the Vine

Once you have decided where the vine is going to go you need to encourage it to grow so that you can train it into the right direction. The chances are that the ivy is already reasonably well established near the wall you want it to climb, so you just need to move the main stems towards it. If they will reach and go up the wall you should hammer some nails into the wall and tie the vines to them. The vines will always tend to grow vertically and they will attach themselves to the wall, so you only need to let the vine grow.

The grape vine will need a strong framework built. If the vine is not very big you can start with a frame made of scaffold poles. Measure the area the vine is going to cover and install a ten foot scaffold pole in each corner. Pound the pole into the ground until it is eight feet tall. Link the tops of the poles with a rectangle of other scaffold poles. Use heavy duty steel wire to bridge the frame from one side to the other so that the vine has several horizontal routes across the frame.

Both vines can be controlled once they establish themselves. The ivy can be trained around windows by simply replacing any tendrils that come across it. The grape vine will simply be directed across the frame. It will find its own way across the wires.

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