Trellis – A “lath screen” used to support ornamental vines against walls and other vertical surfaces where the vine can not or should not climb on its own. If not in front of a wall or building, a trellis should be adjacent to one; it is seldom used alone.
Trellises are available, or can be constructed, in many sizes, types, and designs. The choice is usually governed by the style of architecture and landscaping. For a heavy vine, make sure the trellis is sturdy and long-lasting.
Because many vines make close growth, with matted, twisting stems, they need free circulation of air on all sides. Don’t set a trellis flush with a wall. Use brackets, angle irons, or wood blocks to hold it at least four inches – preferably six – away from the wall. And unless the wall behind is brick, stone, or masonry that will not need painting and repair, install a trellis so that it is not difficult to remove it. Hinges will often do the trick. A light, small structure can be set up so that it will easily swing back or out on inconspicuous hinges. A larger, heavier trellis may be equipped with sturdy door hinges; when the center pin is slipped out, the whole thing can be lifted out and set aside.
A vine-covered trellis can be used to frame a door or window, to soften bleak areas around garage doors. It is not usually the object of interest, but a supporting one just like a potted plant such as dracaena deremensis warneckii. But in winter, when the stems of a deciduous vine are bare or a herbaceous variety has died back to the ground, it should not stick out like a sore thumb.
For annuals and herbaceous vines, a temporary trellis is sometimes a good idea. Fish-net types, made of strong cord, will last several seasons if taken down and stored during the winter. Or fashion an unobtrusive trellis with plastic line strung through holes or eyes in a lightweight but strong wooden frame.
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