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Vines provide shade, camoflage, privacy

Easy to grow vines accent landscaping, provide shade

SHARE Vines provide shade, camoflage, privacy

The heat continues to take its toll and we continue to fry.

Oh, for instant shade! We plead for an arbor to shield us from the hot rays of the sun.

They may not be instant, but vines are a wonderful addition to any landscape.

Vines are outstanding landscape plants according to Sandra Robinson, landscape supervisor at Thanksgiving Point Idea Gardens. "These plants are very versatile. They can cover small or extremely large areas and hide bare spots or block unpleasant views if grown on trellises," she said. "They grow quickly, once they are established, and are excellent choices where you need quick shade, screens or otherwise need to cover a lot of space very quickly."

Robinson suggests that you use them to soften the stark sides of bare fences or houses. Grow them along walls, fences or other areas where there is not enough soil or space for shrubs or trees.

"I like them because they are great problem solvers in the landscape," she said.

Among their advantages: They add color and fragrance and, as climbers, they accent posts or fences.

Use them in containers, as ground covers or as filler plants. They help create privacy screening or shade over arbors or pergolas.

Or you can grow them as specimen plants.

Robinson's favorites include the trumpet creeper. "I know that they are not everyone's favorite, but I like them because they are hardy, will grow almost anywhere, and they cover a lot of space."

Robinson loves the colors and so do hummingbirds. "They are fun to watch as they flit from flower to flower," she said. "Not only do you get to

see the beautiful flowers, but the wonderful birds are bonuses."

She's also partial to clematis. Of all the vines, they have the most beautiful blossoms and a wonderful variety of colors.

Less aggressive than the trumpet vine, clematis don't cover as much ground. And they need protection from the hot dry winds common along the Wasatch Front.

Grape vines are another favorite. "They grow quickly and provide wonderful shade in the garden if you develop an arbor," she said. "It's fun to watch them grow and cover the poles. And it's fun to watch the fruit develop."

The grapes themselves are a bonus, providing a tasty treat whether you're working or relaxing.

Wisterias are also excellent vines for the landscape. They put on their show in the spring but are great for covering arbors or other structures. Unlike most other vines, wisteria will develop treelike trunks.

The best vines for covering walls are the ivies. Boston ivy and Virginia creeper will grow in sun or shade and cover walls quite fast. English ivy, by contrast, needs to have shade to help it flourish. It will burn in full sun. It is about the only climbing vine that stays evergreen in our area.

A vine that isn't among her favorites is the morning glory (field blindweed). "It invades the flower beds and ruins them," she said.

According to Robinson, you'll have few problems growing vines.

The biggest problem is keeping them from growing where you don't want them to grow.

The mistake most people make is not training them from the beginning.

They plant them, let them grow and then when they get really overgrown, they decide they want to train them.

Select the best vine for your purpose, she suggests, and then prune them correctly from the first. Otherwise, they will become overgrown and ugly and you'll want to take them out.

"Vines can get a little aggressive, and so many people do not know what to plant with them," she said.

Consider the exposure, whether it be sun or shade, and chose accordingly. Then chose companion plants that are not overwhelmed by the vines.

Occasionally we have to fight the aphids in the spring, but that is about all. Many vines, especially grapes, are sensitive to lawn weed killers. So keep the sprays away from them.

"I think vines are wonderful assets to many landscapes. Combine them with the right supports and you get quick shade. Use them to cover harsh spots or to cover problem areas and you have plants that cover these areas faster than any other landscape plants." Vines are divided into four groups based on how they climb. Not all vines are suitable for all surfaces. Select them carefully to avoid damaging siding or other construction material.

Methods of Climbing

Disclike Suction Cups. Boston ivy and Grape ivy cling to rough or smooth textured surfaces with disc-like suction cups. These vines are aggressive and surfaces may be permanently marked with these tiny suction cups. Do not use these kinds of vines unless you plan to leave them permanently.

Aerial Roots. English ivy and some other vines adheres to rough surfaces with tiny roots that grow from the stems. These also tightly adhere to the surface and may cause permanent disfigurement of desirable surfaces.

Twining Vines. Non clinging vines such as morning glory twine through the surfaces where they are allowed to climb. They do not attach themselves to walls nor trellises but twining will interweave them into the trellis.

Tendril Forming Vines. Vines like grapes climb by grasping onto wires or lattices with tightly coiling tendrils. These are less damaging to siding and other materials and are good for growing along fences or trellis. Vines can be extremely heavy, so the trellises or other support must be sturdy enough to hold them. Some vines can curl tightly around trunks and strangle trees or can damage shingles or siding searching for something to twine around. In most cases, they may also fill drainpipes and gutters with leaves and stems. Plan to grow vines in areas away from buildings where they will not present a risk if they become too robust.