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How to Support Climbers
Even self clinging climbers need a little encouragement to make initial contact with their supporting structure, as we showed in the Workshop: How to Plant a Climber. When choosing and planting climbers you'll need to offer them a form of support, based on their growth rate, eventual height and spread. The three major types of climber supports are: trellis , mesh and wires. It's a good idea to have your support system in place before you plant your climber. Never attach the stem of a climber directly to a wall or fence with a staple or nail. These will constrict the stems and cause die back. Panels of trellis or sections of wire mesh can be fixed with nails. Here we show you how to make a wire system to support a climber.
you will need
Wall or fence the climber is to grow against; roll of 5 mm wire galvanised or plastic coated; 5 cm length minimum vine eyes, either timber type screw in for fences, or mortar ones to hammer in to the wall; a steel tape measure; pliers; twine to tie in the shoots of the climber; Optional: wire tensioners.
Starting at 30 cm above ground level in front of the wall or fence, fix vine eyes in two spaced vertical lines to take a series of horizontal wires. Fences: screw the vine eyes into the fence posts, and take these along the fence to provide enough cover for the ultimate spread of the climber. Space rows 30 - 45 cm apart. The wire should be held 5 cm from the surface of the fence. Walls: hammer the vine eyes into the mortar of the wall, making sure that the wire will be held 5 cm from the surface. Space the vine eyes no more than 1.8 m apart along the rows, with 30 45 cm spacing between rows. Make enough rows to take wires to give support for the height and spread of the climber.
Attach the wire to the first vine eye of each row and stretch it taut between these fixings. Use pliers for this, or attach tensioners at the end of each row of wire and tighten with these.
Optional: once you have made the horizontal rows of wire, you may want to stretch vertical wires up from the bottom row, depending on how you plan to train the climber and how you want it to cover the surface. Install these in the same way, spacing them at 15 - 20 cm intervals to make a large mesh. You may want to do this only over part of the surface.
For timber pergola and arch posts, use 3 screw-in type vine eyes starting at 30 cm above ground level. Put the top one about 10 cm below the top of the post, and add a mid level vine eye. Then stretch the wire vertically through these fittings, as described above.
Use the right type of fixing for walls or fences.
Leave 5 cm of space when attaching vine eyes.
Stretch wire across, spaced 30 - 45 cm apart.

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