Please help me choose a vine.

cannazone5(5)March 28, 2008

My backyard has beautiful conservation space behind it. My next door neighbour and I would like to add some year round privacy between our homes . We presently have a chain link fence. I am researching types of vines to plant along the fence that will provide privacy but not be invasive. We prefer (of course) quick growing or spreading. I love the look of Virginia Creeper but it loses it's leaves in the fall. I am open to all suggestions...even a bush of some sort. Note that we both have young children so anything thorny is not an option.

Please help! Thanks for reading.

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Try a euonymus. There are many different types, at least 40, some deciduous (burning bush) or evergreen. You can find them in most garden centers. They have demure flowers, and produce fall berries. All parts of the plant are considered to have minor toxicity (vomitting/ diarrhea) to humans. So euonymus may not be a great choice if you have toddlers.
It is a fast growing, hardy vine that tolerates many conditions. We have a really old vine in our backyard and prune it in the spring to contain it. Birds love the cover it provides, too.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 10:52AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Pretty well anything that is fast growing and spreading is potentially invasive.

monarda-ca mentioned Euonymus - the Euonymus fortunei is the only evergreen vine that I am aware of (that can grow in our climate anyway). It is however considered fairly invasive because the berries are eaten by birds and the seeds spread far and wide. If you live on or next to a conservation area, you may want to avoid it. It is also considered somewhat borderline for your zone - it usually grows in slightly warmer areas (USDA zone 5 - that's similar to our zone 6). You may actually be prohibited from planting potentially invasive plants like this - check your local by-laws first!!!

An option for your chain link fence is to buy some sort of plastic strips that fit in between the links - they provide a fair bit of privacy in the winter, and with a leafy vine the rest of the year, they are impossible to see through. Some sorts of Clematis do not produce seeds and are not particularly invasive.

There is an almost thornless climbing rose called "Zepherine Drouhin". It has been reported to grow in USDA zone 3, with protection, but is more commonly grown in USDA zones 5 and up. Like the Euonymus, it is somewhat borderline - it really depends on your local microclimate.

Plain old Cedar shrubs (Thuja occidentalis) can be pruned to whatever shape or thickness you want (within reason), are evergreen, are reasonably fast growing, safe for kids to be around and won't invade the rest of your yard or the conservation area.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 2:31PM
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You can disguise a chain link fence by putting up a couple of stand alone trellis besides it. Paint the chainlink fence a dark colour that will make it less apparent. If you are simply looking for vines to provide evergreen coverage - the only vine that do that is the euonymous but - it doesn't provide 100 percent coverage. It also produces berries which are toxic. In fact, many plants are toxic - and if you are concerned for your children, then it's best to train them not to eat any garden plants.

You can grow boxwoods for hedging - boxwoods are evergreen so these will remain green over winter. You can also grow clumping grass like Karl Foerster. You can add a rose tree (post) and grow thornless roses. (several explorer rose climbers are perfect for our zone).

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:07PM
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You might try Wisteria or a grape vine. In order to grow these, especially wisteria, your fence will need to be quite sturdy, and they would need more or less full sun.

Also, they require regular pruning, but the rewards are certainly worth it! Grape vines grow quickly, and can give you the rewards of fruit if you prune it properly, and wisteria is vigorous, and can provide an abundance of blooms.

I would have to agree that many 'fast-growing' plants and vines can be very invasive, and should therefore be avoided.

If you need a quick fix until you can decide on a perennial vine, you could always try an annual vine, such as morning glory (again the non-invasive varieties). Please note that all of these vines are deciduous, and I cannot think of a suitable evergreen vine, at least not for zone 5. Perhaps evergreen shrubbery is the way to go for you, although it is not nearly as attractive.

Keep in mind that many plants are poisonous, and when it comes to child & pet safety, each plant should be treated as such until you know otherwise.

Best of luck,


    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 11:24AM
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peatpod(Z5b Ontario)

Well, silverlace vine will do it for you .. but it does loose its leaves in the late fall. A heavy prune in the spring or fall cleans it up and it recovers quickly too. You do have to keep it under control .. any vine is like that though. You dont mention if your chain link is in full sun or shade. I am assuming you are in full sun.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 4:48PM
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Thank you all for your responses. I decided to go with closely spaced emerald cedars (from Ontario!). Most of the length of the fence will be covered by the trees, but where there is shade, I think I may try the freestanding trellis with a vine. I still have to choose which one but all of your suggestions were great.


I have dug a trench for trees. It was suggested to me that I lay some worm castings at the bottom of the cedars and between after planted. What do you think?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 9:14AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Worm castings are excellent fertilizer. However, there are two schools of thought to putting anything in the planting hole other than the plant and the dirt you originally dug out.

One school of thought is to amend the soil or add fertilizer to the hole (wormcastings). The advantage is that if the shrub is healthy it will quickly adapt and grow. Amending the soil in your trench also may cause problems - if you add peat moss, black earth, or compost you are improving that soil, but you are also creating a 'bathtub' of improved soil, and water will collect there since it is more porous than the rest of your yard. Plants can also become root bound in an amended hole - their roots hit the edge of the amended area and rather than grow into the harder soil outside the dug area, they turn and stay in your planting hole. If you have heavy clay soil, this can easily occur.

The other school of thought is to dig your hole (or trench), add nothing, plant your plant, and backfill using only the soil you dug out. Then you water well, add a thin layer of compost, mulch, and after two to three weeks, add more compost or other fertilizer (worm castings would be great).

If you really want to add worm castings to the planting hole, it likely will do no harm, but their value may leach out before the shrubs have recovered and are able to utilize it.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:55AM
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