Shrub to put on a trellis

tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)June 26, 2013


we are going to add some better plantings behind the house. Want to have a large trellis (already built it) 6' high X 8' wide. Proposed is a Climbing Hydrangea. OK. Good. My question is, when the trellis needs to be repainted (6-8 years), how easy will it be to get the shrub off the trellis so I can re-paint it

Here's a pic of a smaller trellis, same type though. The climbing roses offer no problem for re-painting.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

therein lies the reason.. back in my trellis days... i went pvc ... so it never needed any maintenance ... though initial cost was high ...

but yours is already built.. hmmmm... if i saw it in place.. i could probably come up with some ideas ....

but this is also why i started defaulting to annual vines such as morning glory...

or perennial vines.. that could be cut down .. like SOME of the clematis ...

also ... snow load can be an issue .... so add that to the equation ...

the term shrub... is a common term .. in your usage.. i use the term now... to mean flowering shrubs like forsythia.. lilac.. etc ... which are not trellis type things ... so on some level ... you need to define what you want a little more precisely ...

if you used the common store bought lattice.. i dont know if you will be getting 6 to 8 years between paintings .... though that is not what the one above looks like ...

i think we need apic.. of it.. and the site.. to really help you ...


    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 7:35AM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Perhaps using a plant such as Clematis rather than hydrangea would allow you to just cut the whole thing off a few inches above the ground, repaint the trellis, and then let it grow up again. It would probably fill in in no time.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 9:00AM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Hi guys (and any ladies who may show up)

The trellis will go here, between the two casement windows. This is southern facing, nearly full southern exposure in AM.

The trellis (approx. 6' high, 8' wide) is currently in the basement. Needs a few coats of stain, The lattice will be cream white, same as pic (above), and cedar 4"X4" post at each side, stained chocolate brown. It is pretty sturdy, clear select pine, with a wrapping of 1/2" clear poplar around the perimeter. Snow load will not be an issue.

Here's two pics of the front foundation plantings. Looking to bring this much more "softer look" all around the house.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:01AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Plant a nice clematis with the idea you will be pruning it back hard when the trellis needs work. Much better idea.

Climbing hydrangeas are one of those plants that take forever to get going, but once they do, look out. I've seen them going 60 ft up an oak tree.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 10:27AM
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Handsome trellis and I think you've chosen a good spot for it. Your front beds are lovely as well. Will you be widening the back beds so that they have similar depth to them?

There are two issues with climbing hydrangea in this setting. One is the enormous size that Mad G referred to. The other is that it holds on via aerial roots that once detached for painting won't readily reattach themselves and will also leave residue on the trellis that's difficult to remove.

A summer blooming clematis (or 2 or 3) would look wonderful on the trellis, but won't easily grab onto such large diameter pieces of wood since it's the leaf stems/petioles that wrap to help it climb. You would want to give it some netting or twine or fishing line woven loosely through the slats to give it something to grab onto. Otherwise you'd be spending a lot of time guiding the clematis. The summer blooming clems (type 3) are pruned to about a foot (1 or 2 leaf nodes) during the winter, so you could easily paint before the clematis did too much growing. The type 2 clems bloom on old wood as well as new vines, so if you pruned them hard early in the season, you'd lose the first bloom, but get a good second bloom.

I think a noninvasive honeysuckle would climb it since the stems twine and weave, though it might need a bit of help initially to start it weaving through the lattice. I have a relatively young Lonicera sempervirens 'Major Wheeler' that has red flowers that are popular with insects and hummingbirds.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Agree with the two previous posts - climbing hydrangea is not a great choice for this situation. It is not a trellis-y plant :-) Either the clematis or honeysuckle would be much better suited both in size and ease of removal/pruning back.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 2:04PM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Thanks to all the above.

Have to add, the siding on the house is "HardiePlank" just a few years old. My fear was that vegetation would climb up and get in between the boards. Bad stuff. I need to avoid that.

Yes to nhbabs. The planting beds will be much wider/deeper, same as the front. If you like the look, it wasn't me. The local designer guy (Dennis Kovalcik) is very talented, small issues with the proposed hydrangea notwithstanding.

Clematis is a large group. Can anyone zero in on a clematis that would work here?



    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Agreed! Aristolochia might also be an option, Dutchman's pipe. An annual display of morning glory, hyacinth bean vine, sweet peas, Thunbergia, Nasturtium, might appeal.

Also looks like a great structure to try some edibles, tomato, cucumber, cantaloupe, squash, zucchini...

Your trellis doesn't have to have just one kind of vine, and may change from year to year depending on what seeds you might find.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 3:23PM
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With the light yellow color of the house, I'd opt for a purple clematis for contrast. Jackmanii is a longtime favorite and a robust grower but Etoile Violette would work equally as well. Both are considered as group 3 (hard prune) clematis but IME, jackmanii has a much longer bloom season.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:31PM
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I agree that purple would look nice with the house. I am currently enjoying a mix of Clematis Viola and Betty Corning. Both are more true purple and less pink than the photo shows.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Stunning Clems!!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 5:23PM
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tom_nwnj(z6 NJ)

Seems any of these clematis will be a good choice. The purple ones are stunning.

In front of the trellis will probably be 5 knockout rosebushes (red or pink).

Will be a lot of color.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2013 at 6:34AM
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