Silly me!

catherinet(5 IN)July 11, 2011

I bought a Dutchman's pipevine to plant beside my chicken run and have it grow up the fencing. I guess I didn't think it through well enough. The plant is growing into the 1/2" hardware cloth and moving towards the direction of the sun......which is INSIDE the chicken run! The fencing is too small for pipevine swallowtails to get through! So I'll have a beautiful, full pipevine, but totally inaccessible to the swallowtails! DUH!!

Well, hopefully the few leaves that grow outside the fence will still attract them. I'm also thinking of using a crochet hook and grabbing onto the leading parts of the vine, and gently pulling them out of the run. They'll probably just go back in, but I'll give it a try. haha I feel silly.

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

If you're silly, I'm silly, too! I have to reroute vines all the time!
Speaking of pipevines, I've released 15 pipevine swallowtails since July 5th, and there are many more chrysalides left. Some new pipevines/A. tomentosa sprouts are coming up - colonization - which is good, but my chicken manure and watering program hasn't brought much new growth on the old parts of the vines. I think it's just too hot, 95 or 96 degrees for the past several days! Pipevines must like it cooler, because they grow like wildfire in early spring.
I don't know what the temps are where you are, Catherine, but if it's in the 70's and 80's, you should be rerouting vines every day!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 12:17PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hi Sherry. I guess we'll be silly together. :)
Its been in the 90's here lately, but my vine is still growing like crazy. Just when I think its growing in the right direction, I go out later and its turned! haha
The vines are silly right along with us!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 4:04PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)


I have the opposite problem. Last fall I had a friend buy me one and it has barely grown. Yesterday I found 30 cats on it - they aren't even 30 leaves on it! What was that silly butterfly thinking? Luckily I have a friend who bought herself one last fall when she bought one for me so she is going to take some of them. I'm hoping Elisabeth pops in here and says they need some for the butterfly house because otherwise I'm going to be shopping for more plants (not a bad thing really!)

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 8:16PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I often butterflies, birds, etc. have a sense of things around are there enough leaves to support the cats? As far as the they know that their nest is right under a big dead branch about to fall? I guess it all evens out eventually.
Good luck with your vine and cats!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 7:48AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

I don't think critters have that sense. I have huge pipevines in my yard. And, I have small pipevine starter plants on my patio, that I grew from seed. The mama laid eggs all over the little plants. So, I've been moving lots of caterpillars over to the big plants. At least I have big plants! I grow serpentaria, and the PVs eat it to the ground every year while they leave the big vines alone. Once the serpentaria is gone, they move to the big vines. It's like a box of chocolates--you eat your favs first then you eat the rest.

BTW, I wish I could send Mama PVs to everyone on the forum. I have 3 to 4 mamas laying eggs daily. It's boom-boom-boom all season long. They seem to have continuous broods. No more raising inside. They are all on their own.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:03AM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Caterpillars prefer tender leaves. New growth is always tender, but there are a few plants whose mature leaves are tender also - Cassia obtusifolia/sicklepod cassia and Aristolchia serpentaria come to mind here. If only A. serpentaria/VA snakeroot grew bigger!
Twelve pipevine swallowtails emerged in the middle of the day yesterday, but I didn't release them because of the big rain that occurred shortly after they emerged - they weren't ready to handle the adverse weather. That brings the total to 27, so I might be in the situation you're in soon, Sandy. Over the years, there has only been one predator on PVS cats, a big stinkbug, and they've thrived outside, since this stinkbug only showed up once. But Mary in Arkansas had cats that were parasitized by a wasp, so that's possible.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:16AM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

So any idea how many leaves that one caterpillar will need? I'm trying to figure out how many I can raise!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 12:29PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Catherine, since the caterpillars are poisonous, do you have to worry about your chickens eating them? I'd be worried the caterpillars will crawl thru the fence and become chicken snacks!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:03PM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

I'm not sure how many leaves it takes to feed a PV caterpillar, but quite a few it seems. It takes an 18 inch plant to feed one Monarch caterpillar, so it may take 18 inches of vine to feed one PV. All I know is they have big appetites. I have had a huge pipevine literally eaten to the ground before. That's the summer I had approximately 500 caterpillars. That vine was covering a fence and was over 12 feet long and 6 feet high. The vine was at least 3 feet thick and solid with leaves. Those 500 cats weren't all at once, but over the period of a summer. The vine would grow back some, but eventually it couldn't keep up.

This is probably a 500 caterpillar summer. However, I have two huge vines, about 30-50 clematitis plants, and 30+ serpentaria plants. And I have sprouts coming up around both vines. One of the big vines is looking chewed up. The other is still in fair condition. The serpentaria is stripped and the clematitis is mostly stripped. Clematitis is a good supplemental pipevine. It grows to about 24 inches tall and spreads underground to form a nice colony. However, it isn't a native (from Hungary), and is hard to find. You can get seeds, but they are challenging to propagate, taking 2 periods of stratification, making me think it normally takes 2 years to come up. I get lots and lots of seeds as the plants flower twice a year, and I have grown new plants from seeds. When I have some more seed, I will let everyone know.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:43PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Hmmmmm Jean........I was only worried about them getting the leaves, so I trained the vine further up the fencing, where they can't reach it. But I forgot about the cats being poisonous! Shoot.
Well, so far I don't have any cats and my 5 hens are over 8 years old maybe I won't have to worry!
I guess I'll just play it one day at a time. I think if I can keep the vine out of the run, it will be okay. But I think its going to grow over the top, and the cats could fall in.
Oh great. Something else to worry about. ;)
In the words of Rozanne Rozannadanna........."there's always somethin'." lol!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 2:36PM
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