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How to Train Climbing Vines

Vines will help make your arbor a beautiful and shady spot to relax, and they're a lot easier to train than the family pet.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Plant During the Spring

English Ivy is a hardy, fast-growing plant that will fill in wonderfully, and any of the following vines would work perfectly -- Mandevilla, Jessamine, Pandorea and Wysteria. All provide great year-round color. There are even climbing versions of roses and hydrangeas. The best time to plant is in the spring. Consult the recommended instructions for preparing the soil.

Step 3: Train Vines to Grow Horizontally

Remove the stake and any twist ties and plant the vines along the base of your arbor. To make sure the foliage fills in adequately, train the vines to grow horizontally first. As the vine fills in across the bottom, lateral shoots will work their way up. If there's a gap between your arbor and the ground, get your vine started by stretching a string horizontally between the two poles. If necessary, add some lattice to make it more vine-friendly.

Step 4: Prune Vines Regularly

For established vines, trim off any dead leaves or long offshoots. Plant the vine and tie stems loosely to the base to give it room to grow and expand. Carefully weave just the tops of the branches into the woodwork. Climbing vines are easy to maintain. The most important requirement is regular pruning to curb runaway growth.

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