Vines on the Mind

The autumn season is upon us and, I don’t about you, but I am always astounded by the beauty of the leaves. Suddenly, our neighborhoods are transformed into colorful havens for crisp, rejuvenating air and crunchy walks down leaf-laden sidewalks. The many pumpkins smile, or scowl, at us from front stoops as we start craving hot apple cider and pumpkin-flavored everything. During those cozy walks, I often find myself enamored by the homes elegantly entangled in climbing vines.

Vines can be a beautiful and charming feature for brick walls, fences, and garden trellises around your home. The changing of seasons invites their metamorphosis, often involving spectacular color displays and flower-blooming. Whether you seek classic green ivy for that prestigious university look or if you prefer some sweet, fragrant flower blossoms and color-changing leaves, there are several unique species to choose from when giving your home a leafy make-over.

I want to share some helpful information about when and where to add and not to add climbing vines, hacks for adding climbing vines when your home isn’t the best candidate, and how to safely remove climbing vines from your home or other surface.

To Vine or Not to Vine?

When it comes to adding climbing vines to your home, it’s important to consider your local climate, level of sun exposure, and exterior façade materials. Issues and damage tend to be more common with wood siding and damp climates. Many popular climbing plants adhere onto surfaces with tiny, but strong, adhesive pads. This attachment process allows the plant to work its way underneath the wood, trap in moisture, and eventually rot the façade.

Need a Loophole?

If you’re feeling crushed after your dreams for all things viney have been destroyed-don’t lose hope! There may be other options. If your home has siding, wood, old or damaged brick, or even stucco, it is recommended that you grow vines up an alternative surrounding surface, like a screen or metal armature. This will provide protection for your home and will successfully fool the onlookers’ eyes…now it’s YOU for the win while the vines just look pretty and behave themselves….or at least grow, untamed, in an acceptable place.

For the Young and Strong

There are many homes that are already properly equipped to handle such beautifully devious plants. If your home has relatively youthful brick with strong, solid mortar, then you need not worry. If you’re ready to add that enchanting old-world charm to your dwelling, check out the list below for some native vine plants of the west coast.

Lathyrus splendens (pride of California)

Lathyrus vestitus (Pacific pea)

Lonicera ciliosa (orange honeysuckle)

Lonicera hispidula (pink honeysuckle)

Marah fabaceus (California manroot)

Parthenocissus vitacea (Woodbine)

Rubus leucodermis (whitebark raspberry)

Rubus ursinus (California blackberry)

Vitis californica (California wild grape)

Time to DeVine?

Whether your property was overgrown with “enchantment” without your approval or you’re simply ready for a change, you may have some undesirable work ahead of you. Ivy grows fast, and the roots harden as they age. Therefore, the longer you wait = the greater your struggle will be to conquer the additional amount of ivy and heartiness of the roots.

Step One:

Kill the vines. The plant will likely have roots in the ground, providing its primary nutrients. Dig out the roots and apply herbicide (like Roundup). Word to the wise: don’t be deceived by their harmless appearance…a dead vine doesn’t necessarily mean an abandonment of mischievous ways. If you wait for too long to clear out these ambitious organisms, they will begin to rot, causing potential damage to your home.

Step Two:

Remove as much of the plant as possible. This process will require careful patience. If you pull too hard, you risk breaking off pieces of the wall, as well. Steadily and gently, begin pulling on a vine. If you have trouble with separating vines from the wall, use pruning shears to cut them at their roots.

Step Three:

Once the wall has been cleared of all vines, you may notice a matted, fuzzy layer remaining. Since the roots tend to work their way deep into cracks and crevices, they will likely be tricky to remove. Try several types of tools for digging, prying, scraping, and scrubbing.

For How-To, DIY, and other helpful videos, check out the links below:

How to Remove Ivy

Planting and Training Your Climbing Rose

How to Build a Lattice Structure

40 DIY Homemade Structures to Plant Vines: Trellis, Arbor, Pergola, etc.

Alright…now go get some hot apple cider!


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground