How to Train Vines on Garden Fence Panels

Some homeowners with garden fence panels look forward to the enjoyment of growing vines on these panels. But they soon realize this kind of project involves more than simply planting and watching. Vines, especially the fast growing variety, require training to keep them from growing out of control. As a homeowner who plans to grow vines on your garden fence panels, you can learn in six steps how to train and beautify your vines.

Step 1 – Choosing Your Vines

The way twining vines climb is to wrap themselves around wire, trellises and similarly narrow strips. Clinging vines, by contrast, use their roots or "holdfasts" to attach themselves to flat surfaces such as brick or stone walls. So, if you plan on attaching string or wire to your garden fence panels, and if you don't mind spending time replacing or mending the string or wire, you can plant twining vines. Otherwise, you'll be better off with the clinging variety.

Step 2 –  When To Begin Training Your Vines

You can expect more manageable growth from your vine if you begin training it immediately after planting and attaching it to your fence panels. If you expect your vine to twine, then you should begin at once wrapping it through your narrow strips, wire, or string.

Step 3 – Choosing How You Want Your Vine To Grow

For a vine that gives you even coverage over a vertical surface, you will want to control its upward growth. The tendency of vines is to grow upward toward the sun and light. Without training, you will find most of their attractive leafy growth concentrated at the top of the structure they grow on, leaving the lower part to consist mostly of leafless and unattractive stems.

Step 4 – How To Train Twining Vines

If the structure you're using includes narrow pieces, or strands, you should weave the young vine stems around these pieces or strands as the vine grows. Start at the bottom of the structure and weave the vine horizontally, back and forth and creating one row on top another until you've reached the structure's top.

Step 5 – Vine Maintenance

Because vines have a tendency to grow upward, those at the top of your structure will have nowhere to go as they grow. Consequently, when not trained they will simply hang wild and waving in the breeze. Instead of cutting them back, weave them again so they will attach themselves to your structure.

Step 6 – Training Clinging Vines

Clinging vines, because they attach themselves to a surface, cannot be wound around pieces or strands of a structure. Instead of attempting to wind them, allow them to attach themselves as they begin to grow. When they have grown 6 to 12 inches you can influence the vine to branch out horizontally by pinching off it's top. You can control the vine's upward growth and train it to grow more horizontally by continuing to pinch off the tops of new shoots.

By using this training method throughout the vine's growing season, you will maintain a more evenly distributed leafy vine that will look beautiful and well cultivated.