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Tips for Training a Vine to Climb an Arbor or Pergola

November 28th, 2011 Gardening

Oftentimes, flowering vines look best when they're trained to climb up structures like an arbor, pergola or trellis. The flowers will reach up to eye-level where they can be smelled and appreciated more. A sense of height in your garden is also good to have because it adds interest and a sense of permanence. Here's how to train your vines to climb, according to The Home Depot and ThriftyFun.com.

Types of climbers Vines generally fall into one of three categories: clingers, grabbers and twiners. Clingers attach themselves using aerial roots or discs attached to their tendrils. They can be difficult to remove and may damage wood and mortar between bricks, so it's best to keep them away from buildings. Ivy and Virginia Creeper is an example of these types, which are better suited for flat surfaces. Grabbers use leaves or tendrils to wrap around whatever they climb. This type includes plants like the Sweet Pea and grape vines. Twiners twist and wind their way around objects using their stems. Examples include Jasmine, Morning Glory and Honeysuckle.

Training Make sure you match the type of vine you're using with the structure. Small arbors can be overwhelmed by lots of vines. If your vine is newly planted, cut it back by a half or more to encourage it to grow strong roots before the stems take off. Once the vine is established, you should limit pruning to removing any dead or diseased foliage. You will also want to cut back stems in order to control their growth - just trim them close to the structure they're covering. The best time to prune is normally in the early spring, but overly zealous vines should be pruned in the summer to slow down growth.