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Pergola's and Plants

Planting vines is a wonderful way to dress up a backyard garden or add shade and color to a pergola. Flowering vines look lovely covering a tree or trellis, and many vines can be used to cover a fence and create more privacy. Fruit and vegetable vines are usually easy to grow and are a fun and functional addition to your backyard landscape. There are even vines do not even require a trellis all you do is them get started and soon they will be covering a fence, deck, pergola, or wherever you need a little more shade and cover in the backyard. But, beware of invasion vines that can kill trees and flowers! It important to do your research before adding a vine to your backyard. Read on to find out more about common vining plants:

Fruit and Vegetable Vines

Cucumber, zucchini, squash, and tomatoes all thrive in full sun with lots of water. They also do well in containers-just start them in a large bucket and make sure to provide some kind of support.

Pole and lima beans are also a good choice for a home garden because the vines are hardy and will grow quite large (up to twelve feet!) and produce plenty of beans.

Watermelons and cantaloupe are another fun choice for summer, although they are more susceptible to fungus.

To maximize space, try a vertical vine garden-just guide the vines onto a trellis and support any large fruit (like cantaloupes) with homemade hammocks.

Vertical gardening has many benefits including fewer problems with disease, quicker ripening, and less pest issues.

Flowering and Non-Flowering Vines

Vines can easily add privacy to your space by providing fullness and height to any area that needs extra cover, such as in between trees. Vines are also a simple way to turn any fence into a year-round privacy screen.

Some of the easiest and most common flowering vines are the Black-eyed Susan, Climbing Rose, Sweet Pea, and Clematis. Clematis is a hardy flower that comes in many colors and would be perfect for climbing the posts of a pergola. All of these flowers do best with frequent pruning, so harvest often!

Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper are non-flowering vines that grow quickly and are adaptable in both full sun or partial shade. When planted in full sun, the leaves will turn a gorgeous red in the fall.

Evergreen vines are a great choice for providing shade or covering a fence-English Ivy, Wintercreeper, and Honeysuckle will provide year-round color and add interest to your backyard.

Because evergreen vines are perennial, they do not need to be replanted each year. This means that evergreen is a great low-maintenance choice for your backyard garden.

Grape Vines

Planting grapevines in your backyard can be a very rewarding experience. Grapevines can be more challenging to grow than other fruits, but they only need a small amount of space and a few plants can provide more than enough grapes for your household to enjoy.

Like with all fruits and vegetables, it's important to consider your region before choosing which variety to plant. Muscadine (also known as Scuppernong) grapes can be fun to grow in the South because they're drought resistant and do well in humidity. Canadice and Swenson Red grapes thrive in the Pacific Northwest.

Grapevines should be planted in early spring and pruned often. The best way to tell if your grapes are ready to be harvested is to give them a taste-- grapes that are sweet and colorful are ready to be picked.

Pruning your grapes is a very important part of the growing process. Vines must be aggressively pruned each year in order to stimulate lots of new growth.

Grapes are susceptible to many diseases, so it is important to know what to look for when attempting to diagnose a problem.

Climbing Plants

Climbing flowers and wall shrubs are a beautiful way to add shade and color to a backyard space. Wall shrubs are not natural climbers and need to be trained in order to grow vertically.

Have you ever been reluctant to cut down a small tree even though it wasn't doing very well? A great solution is to let it be taken over by a climbing plant such as Wisteria or English Ivy. That way, the dead tree (or bush) becomes a built-in support for the new vines and you won't have to lose your privacy screen.

Planting a climbing vine is easy with the right tools. In addition to a trellis, you can also teach climbing plants to grow up a wall. All you need is a network of wires secured to the wall with vine eyes.

It is very important to lightly prune climbing vines and wall shrubs in the summer in order to encourage healthy growth throughout the year.

If you're planting these vines on their own, remember that some varieties (such as Sweet Pea) climb with tendrils and must have the support of a trellis in order to thrive. Other vines, like English Ivy and Morning Glory, only need help in the beginning to start their climbing adventure.

Shrubs and Fencing

An easy way to add privacy to your yard is to plant a privacy hedge. Evergreen shrubs will remain lush and green all year and act as a screen and sound barrier between you and your neighbors.

Plan the height and width of your desired privacy hedge and choose plant species accordingly.

Maintenance for evergreen shrubs is lower than for something like Boxwoods, which require constant pruning to look their best.

Planting shrubs in a zigzag pattern will ensure maximum privacy and make pruning much easier.

It's also a good idea to try a variety of species, that way if you lose one to pests or disease you are much less likely to lose your entire row.

Invasive Vines

Dealing with invasive vines is one of the most challenging aspects of a backyard garden. These species are very difficult to eradicate and can quickly and easily overtake your landscape.

Invasive vines spread rapidly and compete with your plants for water, sunlight, and space.

The first step of getting rid of invasive plants is identification. Each region has its own list of troublesome species, so take note of the leaf shape, color, and size of the vine.

Many invasive species masquerade as harmless, common vines, so it is important to know what to look for. Some vines might be poisonous or have thorns, so be careful.

Most vines won't die just from cutting them back-you need to trace them back to the root and pull them up completely. Herbicides may be used in more extreme cases, but be careful not to harm your own plants.

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