Block Wall Covering

steven566June 30, 2013


I am very excited about finding this forum. I should have started here.

I live in South Chandler and I just finished my landscaping about a year ago on a new build. I was looking for some wall covering ideas when designing the backyard and my landscaper suggested Cat Claw.

My plan was to have the entire wall covered with something green. So I planted 62 Cat Claw plants spaced 4 feet apart. They grew more up than out. And now that I've seen more mature specimens in other yards, I see that I'm probably not going to get what I was looking for. They seem to collect on the top and leave the bottom not looking so great.

Also, most of the Cat Claw on the North facing wall died during a freeze last year. It is now growing back, I suspect I am always going to have that issue. The plants on the West facing wall never really took off, too hot I guess.

So the question is, what now?

Do I pull all the Cat Claw and start over?

Here is what I'm looking for:

1) A plant that covers the wall rather evenly. I don't have a problem putting attachment points on the wall if that will help with picking the right plant for the job.

2) Frost resistant

3) No thorns

4) Less debris is better. Some of this covering will be near a pool. I would be fine with picking multiple plants for the job, as long as it sufficiently covers the wall.

5) There is only about 2 feet of depth to plant in.

6) Drip nozzles are already installed every 4'.

7) Fast growing would be nice, but not a necessity.

8) Nothing poisonous to kids.

9) Regular trimming required is ok.

This will be for the North, East and West facing walls.

At my old house I planted honeysuckle and yellow bells alternating along the East facing wall and that worked out pretty good, though the yellow bells eventually overtook the honeysuckle. The yellow bells were pretty messy, too, so that wouldn't work by the pool, but maybe alone one of the other walls.

I was also looking into bamboo. From the research that I've been doing on this site, it looks really expensive and may not give me a full wall covering.

Any thoughts or ideas about how I could accomplish hiding this block wall would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance!


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GeeS 9b

The plants you have should do exactly what you want, but good even coverage will take more than a single season to achieve, even with a fast grower like Cat's Claw. If I might ask, what is your drip schedule?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 2:45PM
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I don't actually know what it is right now, the landscaper seems to adjust it a lot. What do you suggest?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:01PM
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GeeS 9b

This is the wrong time of year to make any dramatic changes to your watering schedule, but I'd go with 90 minutes twice per week. If you aren't deep watering now, make that change next spring. I can't really make any suggestions for right now without knowing the current settings.

Also, that growth on the top of the wall is very important, and goes a long way toward anchoring growth on the wall. Without it, you'd find that strong winds will tear it off the wall.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:23PM
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We bought a new house last summer that has this Cat's Claw on an east facing wall. From what I can tell, it is only one plant, at least there is only one drip emitter on it. My guess is that it was planted shortly after the house was built, which was 2004, but I don't know for sure. I'll post a couple more pics of a couple Cat's Claw that we planted at our previous house.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Here's a pic of the Cat's Claw we planted at our previous house. This was a south facing wall. There are two of them in this picture, one just off center to the right and the other one is hiding behind the very sad looking Ash tree, just to the right of the bird house. If I remember correctly, this was the third, maybe the fourth, year for these two plants. They didn't do much the first couple of years but once they started to take off they grew like crazy!! We have planted two along the back wall at our new house. I know it will take a few years but expect those two to eventually cover the majority of the wall.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 10:14PM
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Thanks for the info and pictures! In that first picture, is the cat claw planted on the side we are looking at, or on the other side? That's the amount of cover I'm looking for. If that's just one plant, I think I went a little overboard planting 62!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 10:42AM
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It is planted on the side we are looking at. I'm not 100% sure it is 1 plant as I'm a little leery to do too much digging around the bottom of it (can you say Scorpions!!), but before we moved in we forgot and left the drip run all night and it appeared there was only one emitter along that wall. And based on how the ones grew at our other house I would say you probably could have gone with a lot less plants:)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Catsclaw will climb straight up as high as it can, spread out across the top, then send down trailing shoots on the sunny side or sides of the wall.

It has the bad habit of dying out underneath and then having the whole mass get blown off the wall in a storm. It will come back, but you'll have a mass of vines to clean up.

Plant some annuals (Armenian cucumber is good, heat tolerant and makes huge vines) between the catsclaw until it fills in.

Prune the catsclaw severely next spring - to the ground - and install trellises to encourage it to spread out. An easy trellis is a piece or concrete re-inforcing mesh, bent in a :_: shape to hang over the top of the wall. Guide the shoots into fanning out on the trellis and it will thicken quickly.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 12:23PM
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and please keep it trimmed so it doesn't take over your neighbors side of the wall...and house! This is an invasive vine! I am constantly fighting this back on my side of the wall ;)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 1:08AM
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