Hardware cloth for clematis and other vines

stimpy926May 4, 2009


I've been adding clematis and other vines.

I always have hardware cloth around to use as cages around my young shrubs to protect them from rabbits. I've set up 2 clematis' around my deck with hardware cloth against lattice wood, and 1" x 1" ballusters. See pics.

I was reading some other threads that lead me to believe that hardware cloth may not be the best support aid for clematis.

Will this work for clems?

How about for honeysuckle?


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I have done similar on the side of my deck where I have several roses and clematis climbing, and also on the vinyl siding, but I use the larger wire mesh. The big box stores sell rolls of wire mesh that is covered in green vinyl. It comes in 2 foot wide and 4 foot wide rolls. The openings are like 2"x4" intead of small squares. It works great for anything that climbs and the green vinyl covering keeps it relatively hidden once the plants have all their foliage.

Here is a picture of a clematis that is growing up along the side of my porch. I attached the mesh with zip ties to the down spout on one side and the electrical conduit on the left. If you look close you can still see the mesh behind, but stays hidden for the most part. If the plant outgrows the mesh, I just add more mesh to the top or sides.

On sections of the house where there is nothing to attach the mesh to easily, I have used those vinyl siding hooks that can be ordered online. They just snap in between the siding panels and lock into place. I then just hang the mesh panels on the hooks.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Hi matt, Great Jackmanii Clematis you have there!

I've seen the vinyl covered ones also. I spray paint the hardware cloth tan, as I think that blends better against the aged deck wood.

Still the question, is there a problem with the smaller gauge holes I'm using? Will I strangle the clematis?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 2:15PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

You want bigger mesh. The smaller mesh won't hurt the Clematis but they can't climb it. I have made the same mistake using chicken wire and nylon netting. Wooden lattice is too wide for them to grip and the others are too small for them to grow in between.

The lattice alone would be better than with that hardware cloth.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 5:17PM
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ok, that's what I needed to hear buyorsell888.

My guess is chicken wire and nylon netting are too flimsy.

I've tried growing clems. up lattice alone and that does not work.

Fortunately I can quickly remove these panels I made.

Back to Home D. for larger mesh, like I see behind matt's Jackmanii....

I would venture a guess that larger mesh would be better for other vines as well, such as Lonicera, Ipomoea? True?

How about the thin flimsy vine Trachelospermum. I fashioned a long upward U shaped box attached to a post, leaving about 4 inches empty space inside it, for the vine to grow up through, and branch out through the holes of the hardware cloth. Should I redo that as well?

please let me know your thoughts....thanks again

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 7:47PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Chicken wire has too small of holes, like your hardware cloth. I use nylon mesh that has 2" holes stapled to 1 x 1s on a cedar fence but it is not ideal. I have clems on lattice alone and I must manually weave them through.

The wire fencing that Matt's Jackmanii is on is ideal. I've seen a garden with a hundred clems using it. Wrapped around 4 x 4 posts, downspouts and tree trunks and stapled to the cedar fence. Wish I had visited before I had DH build all my lattice fences and trellises.

Trachelospermum jasminoides doesn't climb on it's own. You must tie it to the support whatever it is. Easier to get your hands through the bigger wire fencing though. To tie.

The photo of the green fencing doesn't show details very well so I'm posting the link to the silver. I'd buy the green.

Here is a link that might be useful: fencing

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:06PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Definitely don't go with hardware cloth. The holes are too small and depending on the type of clematis you are planting, the vines could get girdled by the wire as they increase in size. In essence you could end up decapitating the vines depending on how large the vines get and how small the holes are. This would be especially true for the type I and type II clematis which don't get pruned back (except for the first couple of years to get them established). You may or may not have an issue with type III clematis but that would depend on how large and vigorous the type IIIs that you plant end up being.

The green vinyl coated metal fencing is sold in 4 ft tall rolls at most home improvement centers and is what I believe that Matt is showing on his photo. I can't see the image of the silver coated version that BorS posted. It says it can't find the image. I have used the green version on quite a few projects for my clematis to climb and gets camoflagued quite well by the clematis as they grow.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:15AM
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I've got work to do...replacing what I set up. My local Home D. does have the green vinyl covered that Matt shows... I saw it when I was buying the hardware cloth. I'll debate whether to get that or the silver and spray paint it light brown. I think tan makes it less conspicuous for the bare months of the year.
Well, I'll have plenty of hardware cloth cage material in stock for rabbit protection now ;-/
Nice to hear from you Miguel, thanks!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:31AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Funny, the link works fine when I try it. I'm using Firefox.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:23AM
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The link doesn't work for me either.

buyorsell888, the link only works on your computer because you must have the page cached on your hard drive somewhere.

I've tried openinng the link in both IE and Firefox and I get the same "the item your looking for...." error no matter what.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 11:35AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

You are welcome Paula.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 2:08PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Well, it is was just a picture of the wire fencing in a roll on the Home Depot website.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 2:31PM
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Better? I managed to get out between all the rainstorms. I got the plain metal and spray painted it light brown. I think it's more obscure than the vinyl green

I've added about 10 clems. or so in the past year. Most are on the shrubs. Now I'm set for adding to the decks.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 11:34AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, that will work much better!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:12PM
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Hate to bump an old thread, but I have to say that the idea that clematis doesn't do well on chicken wire is simply not true. I've found little that it does better on, in fact, and have seen it support extremely thick plants up to 12' high.

This entire plant is grown on chicken wire, after it didn't take to the wood trellis, which only goes about half way up the whole clmatis. Plant was finishing its blooming when I took this photo; in full bloom it is spectacular:

Here is a quick macro shot I just took of some old wood on a different specimen that shows how well it wraps. This process seems to usually take less than two days, and may happen within a day (I just poke any misguided vines through the wire, and the plant does the rest). It would be interesting to document exactly how long it takes.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:31AM
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Unprofessional....do you cut back the Clematis at all , or just leave it?

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 11:58AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Some Clematis "wrap" themselves better than others.

I have removed all the chicken wire and small mesh nylon netting here because the varieties I have, did not wrap themselves on it. Some of it was up for a year before I got it replaced so I had plenty of time to evaluate...

I have been to five local display gardens that have a lot of Clematis including the Rogerson Clematis Collection and they all use the bigger rectangular mesh livestock fencing so that is what I recommend.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 12:11PM
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I cut back to the ground for at least the first few years, as the difference it makes in developing a thick, full plant is incredible, but I will say that the first picture I posted is not my plant, and I doubt it's ever been cut back. It is my 80 year old aunt's, and I think she said it's about ten years old.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2009 at 1:18PM
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