training up virginia creeper

bedford8a(8a)May 22, 2010

I have bought house in the mid-cities DFW area with a very shady back yard. It has been long-neglected and has a little St. Augustine where there's some sun, but is mostly bare soil. After replacing the wooden privacy fence in March, I noticed spouts of Virginia Creeper. It has continued to grow well and now has begun to climb the new fence! I've peeled it away from the fence for now even though I really liked the vertical element it added to a drab landscape.

I'd love to encourage it as a ground cover and a vertical element because it's a native and it doesn't require much water. Has anyone ever trained it to climb trellises or wire? Since the fence is new, I'm not crazy about letting it climb directly on the fence.

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It's a native plant, but not native to Texas. You can't really train it, although it grows so fast it seems alive and at some point it might start trying to train you...It will climb trees and fences, but it doesn't twine, it grabs on with those little sticky feet thingies so it needs a surface to climb on. If you let it go it will cover everything in your yard and it also reseeds freely (and fiercely) and will come up everywhere. It spreads by seeds, rhyzomes, roots and magic. I had some that climbed a 45' tree and the ends of the vines were dangling in the wind at the top. I planted it by my well house and it completely covered the house and started up into a nearby pecan tree. It engulfed my bicycle. It grows so fast you may not be able to stop it once it gets going. My dog used to like to take naps in that flowerbed, but we haven't seen her in a while...just kidding. But it is a rampant garden thug and much like English ivy, very difficult to irradicate once you have it. It also bears such a striking resemblance to poison ivy, both in shape and habit, I don't like to mess with it just in case I mistake it.

On the good side, it does look pretty, and the leaves turn red in the fall.

Reminds me of a cartoon I saw once: God and all the angels were sitting around debating whether He should create babies. On a large white board they had two lists, the Pros and the Cons. Under the Cons list were: Noisy, Demanding, Unruly, Messy, Disruptive, Expensive, Fussy, Hungry all the Time, Uncooperative, Croupy, Persnickity, and Smelly.

Under the Pros List was: They're Cute.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 11:38AM
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Really? You WANT to grow this stuff? Like Cheryl said it's a horrid monster. I've spent almost 20 years battling it in my yard. I've used every kind of spray, pulled, flame thrower (OK, so it was a torch), dug out the smells awful, has an ugly bloom, overtakes everything quickly-it totally swallowed a huge althea and broke it in 1/2 while I was on vacation one year.
On the other hand it survives hurricanes, floods, fires, freezes, nothing eats it...
I'd help ya pull it out but I still haven't got rid of it here LOL!
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 12:36PM
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Wow! Virginia Creeper sure is a problem here. It grew on a hot, dry strip along our drive in south Georgia where I used to live and it pretty much stayed in bounds, even during the epic drought two years ago.

I've decided not to let it climb and I'll keep an eye on it. Thanks for all your advice.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 1:38PM
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I love Virginia creeper.

It might be considered aggressive if left to grow for decades. Compared to most vines it's very manageable.

Unless your fence is particularly attractive(and most aren't)I'd let it cover it.

I have a 200'long fence covered with it and every autumn people stop to take pics when it turns red.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 7:30PM
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Lin barkingdogwoods

I spent days and days clearing it out of areas that I wanted to make into planting beds. I'd grab and pull, and that darn thing would have roots all the way across the yard. It grows under the grass, up the trees, around slow-moving pets - I HATE IT!!!

And that's with no supplemental watering...

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 10:36PM
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Well, that explains why Brownstone is green, she's pretty slow moving! A round butterball dog topiary. ROFLMAO!!!
Tally HO!!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:37PM
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