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Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Posted by nannerbelle 8A (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 19, 09 at 21:44

Many of you have read about my attempt to preserve my privacy on my acreage and my quest for ideas. One of the solutions I'm using is some very large trellis' in strategic locations to block certain views quickly. I've come up with a plan to use full size sheets of lattice and frame them and have an 8ft. to 10 ft. high trellis. I'm looking at choices for the planting on them. I don't want to incorporate anything into this "hedging" project that will be difficult to keep in check because I'm having to plant so much. Now don't think I'm crazy but I LOVE wisteria. I would like to use it with the trellis' but I don't want it all over the place. My only experience with it was when I was a child my Grandmother had it on a cedar tree in her yard. I know it will strangle a tree, so my thought is if it is confined to a trellis it may be fine. Has anyone used Wisteria and confined it to a trellis? How hard is it to keep under control? What other recommendations for a quick growing, trellis climber do you folks have? The area is full sun to partial shade I'm working with on most of them.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

If esh ga reads this, apoplexy may ensue. After all, wisteria is an exotic, invasive plant. Even so, it is a fantastic thing--as much the essence of the South as magnolias, camellias, azaleas, gardenias, and other plants too numerous to mention. What can be prettier than wisteria in the springtime? And what a heavenly perfume it has.

As it matures, wisteria may be too strong and vigorous to use on a wooden trellis. Over time, wisteria may crush the trellis. You could, however, avoid that problem by planting and pruning it into a "tree wisteria." If the wisteria is staked for a couple of years and pruned into a standard form, it will develop a stout trunk and become tree-like.

Our wisteria went on a rampage when its host tree tipped over in a storm a few years ago. It hit the ground running and took over a couple of slash pines, which are large enough to handle it. A couple of days ago, I severed the wisteria that had run up a nearby China Fir. The vines were thick enough to require the use of a pruning saw to severe them. A machete would have been a helpful tool.

Carolina jessamine might be a better choice for a trellis. It climbs by twining but doesn't strangle. And are you familiar with the native Carolina aster (_Aster caroliniana_)? It's available at Woodlanders in Aiken, ForestFarm in Williams, OR, and Nearly Native in suburban Atlanta. I just ordered one from ForestFarm and have planted it in a container. I'm thinking about using it as a mailbox vine. It blooms profusely in the mid- to late fall, and its flowers are a lavender blue.

For quick summer coverage of a trellis, the moonflower would be a good choice. Or Heavenly Blue morning glories. Or cypress vine.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

The problems with wisteria will be its weight. You would have to build a very substantial trellis to support it after a few years. Even if you plant it out in the open where you can mow around it to keep it in check it always seems to find a way to sneak over to some far corner of the yard. I think it can send tiny runners out underground that can travel for quite a distance before coming up for air and climbing up whatever they are near. It is also slightly allelopathic (I'm guessing at the spelling), meaning that it emits chemicals that retard other plants growth around it. So even if you remove it later you might not be able to grow anything in that spot.

The native wisteria is slow growing and doesn't bloom as much otherwise I would suggest it - but I don't think it will give you what you want.

I would plant Carolina Jessamine, a native that is evergreen, fast growing, blooms for a longer period of time than wisteria, is also fragrant and doesn't become a monster. But it is invasive and poisonous.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Esh_ga will NOT have fits if you consider planting the more well-behaved native wisteria, wisteria frutescens. Once established, it can be fast-growing (up to 15' a year) and just as heavenly in fragrance as its invasive cousins. 'Amethyst Falls' is a particularly desirable wisteria cultivar that blooms while young and is sold at many big box outlets this time of year. NCSU recommends it for arbors as well (see pdf link below). A shearing every other year will keep it blooming and confined. So, nannerbelle--have your cake...and plant it too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wisteria 'Amethyst Falls'


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

I guess I am late to the party! I think the problem with asian wisteria on a trellis is that it will not confine itself to the trellis - it will send out runners and pop up 15 feet away. As John said, weight is also an issue. And as with most plants, the bloom time only lasts so long ... and then you have to live with the aggressive behavior the rest of the time. For me at least, a plant's blooms are only ever part of the decision!

By the way, I dislike the native trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) for the same reason - spreads like crazy; love to admire it on a telephone pole, but don't want it in my yard!

How about Crossvine, Bignonia capreolata? Evergreen, loves sun and comes in at least one lovely cultivar 'Tangerine'.

Native wisteria is nice - blooms at a younger age than the asian ones and comes in both purple and white (although I think the white could be harder to find). I always laugh when I read people complaining how long they will have to wait for their new wisteria plant to bloom - if only they had known about the native one!

One of the 2009 Georgia Gold Medal winners is Armand Clematis, Clematis armandii - an evergreen. I have no experience with it. Perhaps someone else could comment?

Here is a link that might be useful: Gold medal winners for 2009


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Hmmm, the native Wisteria sounds interesting! I sure don't want to deal with the problems John is describing. I knew I could get the straight facts from you folks!! :-) I have 3 areas where I'm going to put up these Trellis/screen structures. I have one where I will most likely use 2 side by side. That would be a nice place for a purple and a white native wisteria. The Armand Clematis is beautiful!! I need to look the others up and see if they would fit in. I'm thinking a variety, using several of these as they are in different areas of the yard.Thanks for the ideas, keep 'em coming!! :-)


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

They look stunning combined together! Even if you just use the Cross Vine along with the Carolina Jessamine - tho Tangerine is much better. And don't forget the native trumpet honeysuckle which also comes in yellow or red. I love seeing a large structure covered with a mish mash of different colored blossoms and if you stick with natives it wouldn't be that harmful if things get out of hand.

But over time the trellis will degrade so you either want to build it really strong to withstand some of this; or plant smaller stemmed vines so that you can cut them way back and repair your trellis.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Lloyd Bentsen said to Dan Quayle, "Senator, you are no Jack Kennedy!" If plants could speak, _Wisteria sinensis_ would say the same thing to its poor American cousin, _Wisteria frutescens_. _Wisteria frutescens_ is, indeed, a lovely, fragrant thing; but its beauty and fragrance do not hold a candle to the beauty and fragrance of its Oriental relative. Yes, the exotic vine is fast and furious, but that's just part of its charm. We gardeners have to think fast to keep it under control. Think of our love/hate relationship with kudzu. Think how much lovelier are the floral racemes of Chinese wisteria than those little, balled-up, tight clusters of blooms on the poor American cousin. Also, think of how the poor American cousin displays its flowers, modestly hidden among its foliage. The Chinese wisteria is the super star of this family, shamelessly displaying its lavender flowers without any thought of modestly hiding them among its leaves. One of the prettiest sights of the Southern spring is on Bemiss Road in Valdosta, GA--the "Azalea City"--where Chinese wisteria and Cherokee rose--both rampant exotics, are intertwined in a vision of sheer loveliness running up a towering slash pine. Weak little _Wisteria frutescens_ would be pricked and choked to death in the Cherokee rose's thorny embrace.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Oh jay, that sounds like a gruesome embrace indeed!

Don't forget to mention that the oriental ones take 7-10 years before they bloom ... unlike their American cousin which blooms in 2-3 years. But I'm sure that waiting for those blooms is just part of the charm! What you don't know is that while you are waiting, that monster is developing a far reaching root system underground (perhaps all the way to China?).

And then there's that lasting legacy ... when the homeowner moves away, future residents for years to come can curse them for planting such a wicked vine.

And, as always, remember that blooms - while lovely - only last but so long. For the rest of the year you still have to live with the thug without benefit of those floral racemes.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

There are plenty of clematis that would fit your bill but they would need to be watered in the heat of the summer and they would take a couple of years to get established and provide a suitable cover of green and flowers. Betty Corning is a wonderful vigorous type III clematis that has wonderful pinkish blooms and the blooms have a wonderful fragrance. Polish Spirit, Etoile Violette, Venosa Violacea, Margot Koster, Blekitny Aniol, Kermesina, Madame Julia Correvon, Minuet, Purpurea Plena Elegans, viticella the species, campaniflora, Black Prince, Blue Belle, Huldine, Chatsworth, Prince Charles, Brocade, John Treasure, Royal Velours, the list is long for reliable type III clematis that are in the viticella group that have flowers in a wide range of colors.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Undeniably, clematis is quite lovely and refined; however, we all must remember the task at hand. Our nannerbelle is faced with the daunting task of screening out the trailer trash who, like a band of Gypsies, have descended upon the adjoining postage stamp of land. Lovely, delicate, refined vines may simply not serve the purpose. An industrial strength vine is what's needed.

And esh ga, I must add yet another couple of virtues to my earlier praise of _Wisteria sinensis_. One is that Chinese wisteria will flower sporadically throughout the summer and early fall--a faint, though much appreciated, echo of its grand spring performance. And two-- nannerbelle will certainly appreciate this--the seed pods of Chinese wisteria explode with loud popping sounds in the late fall when hit by a hard frost. Pop! Pop! Pop! they go--sending those annoying little urchins from next door a-skedaddlin.' _Wisteria sinensis_: truly a vine for all seasons.

While the Chinese wisteria is taking all those years to lay its abundant floral offerings at nannerbelle's feet, the Castor Oil Plant (_Ricinus communis_) could well be used as a quick, exotic, summer screen. It grows fast and furiously, and if planted in mid-April, will be a towering giant by the end of August. Huge leaves shaped like star-fish, maroon stems and petioles, other-worldly flowers followed by mace-like seedpods create a sheer vision of tropical loveliness.

The problem, however, with _Ricinus communis_ is like the problem with _Nerium oleander_: they're both exceedingly poisonous. The seeds of the Castor Oil Plant contain the deadly poison ricin. But hey, didn't your parents teach you not to eat the horticulture? Besides, Mother Nature tends to protect the innocent. The seeds will be so high up in the top of the Castor Oil Plant that an innocent child should not be able to reach them unless that babe is airborne.

Some people call the Castor Oil Plant the Mole Plant. Years ago, gardeners planted the Mole Plant, or Castor Oil Plant, around the perimeter of their vegetable gardens with the belief that the Mole Plant warded off moles, voles, and other root-devouring, subterranean varmints. [In the Antebellum Era, Floride Bonneau (Calhoon) Calhoun had a similar idea at Fort Hill, Floride and John Caldwell Calhoun's plantation home, now the centerpiece of the Clemson University campus. She had a mortal fear of malarial mosquitoes, which were largely confined to her native Low Country home in the swamps of South Carolina. This terror led her to plant Eastern Red Cedars around the perimeter of her Up Country South Carolina home, with the belief that the fragrance of the cedars warded off mosquito infestations.]

One of the many good things about _Ricinus communis_ is that a gardener doesn't have to cultivate the ground in order to grow a splendid specimen. Just gently push the seed into the ground, and Mother Nature takes care of the rest. Stand back and enjoy. But, remember, not to ingest the seeds, unless you have a sincere death wish. Ricin is that infamous poison that was used at the height of the Cold War by the KGB. You will probably recall the international headlines of the murder of a British spy on a London street sometime in the late 1960's. A KGB agent pricked the British spy with a ricin-encrusted stilletto concealed in the tip of an umbrella, dispatching the spy to his Eternal Reward.

I just ordered three packets of _Ricinis communis_ seeds from a seed vendor in Florida--one packet will contain seeds of the solid-green leafed form; the second will contain seeds of the maroon-leafed form form; and the third will contain seeds of 'Carmencita,' a named cultivar of _Ricinus communis_. I can't wait for them to arrive.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Jay, you obviously don't know a thing about clematis based on the statement you made. There are many clematis which while refined can grow like weeds and provide flowers that are a joy to behold. Don't count them out too soon.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

"_Wisteria sinensis_: truly a vine for all seasons." Jay, what an understatement! It grows like a weed in the spring, blooms for a week or so, and then grows like a weed in the summer and fall, strangling trees, and then again grows like a weed underground during the winter to far reaches of your landscape, where it starts all over again. It is, in fact, a weed, and has little to no "charm," except for a short bloom in spring. I very much doubt there is a rebloom to speak of. And the "popping" sound of the seedpods only means dozens of more easily germinated wisteria babies to further suck nutrients and water away from everything else in your garden.

The native wisteria I described above is a far better choice. You can always take a walk anywhere on the edge of woodlands in North Carolina and "enjoy" the invasive wisteria, if you must.

Here is a link that might be useful: Invasive Wisteria


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

I do not always enjoy having a terribly large trellis as it takes me longer to grow my vines through them.

Here is a link that might be useful: trellis.org


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

nanner, I love bignonia but my experience with it is it likes to grow up a bit then horizonal.
If you combine vines you might want to link them with a couple of coated wire rope horizonals with one or two
metal posts for support. The metal posts of the type that hold chicken wire are a decent basis for regular clematis to wrap around and crawl up to the wires and other vines.

If your location for these trellises is near enough to a limbed tree or ,better yet, mature cedar tree then a Lady Banksia climbing rose will go up your trellis and grow up through the tree and cascade down with blooms in spring.

Although bignonia and many other vines only bloom a short time you can start other annual vines to provide all summer color.

Just keep in mind the prevailing wind in your plans and be sure to make a strong support in the ground for your trellises. All that foliage can in a heavy,windy rainstorm will act like a wall and loosen the feet of your trellis in wet ground.


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RE: Ideas for a LARGE trellis

Wisteria is pretty but can be one big headache. Very invasive and can give you about as much problems as kudzu and english ivy.


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