does Boston Ivy cling to metal?

Discussion in 'Vines and Climbers' started by zakthesnipper, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. zakthesnipper

    zakthesnipper Member

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    Parthenocissus tricuspidata Veitchii , the Boston Ivy is said to attach itself to any type of wall, but I have not seen any mention of metal specifically.

    I plan to cover "corrugated iron" clad shed walls with this Boston Ivy, and would like to know if the vine will cling to these metal walls all by itself?

    I will attach some horizontal wires to support the weight later on. Thank you for any and all advice!
     
  2. togata57

    togata57 Rising Contributor

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    Hmm. Is the shed in full sun? Just thinking that if yes, the metal might get hot enough to toast your ivy, and full sun is not the ideal environment for ivy in any case.

    As for the clinging-on part, I daresay it probably would!
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Full sun is fine for this eastern North American plant, which is not an ivy as in Hedera. And in a Tasmanian site the situation may be on the cool and dull side, suitable for growth of Hedera in full sun anyway.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Re: does Japanese Creeper cling to metal?

    Parthenocissus tricuspidata - not an ivy, correctly called Japanese Creeper - is native to eastern Asia, not eastern North America.

    Have to admit I've not seen it clinging to clean metal either. I suspect it may just be that metal is usually too smooth for it to get a grip on. Maybe if the metal gets rusty, it would be able to cling on. But there could also be toxicity problems with metal ions damaging the tendrils that it uses to grip.

    Give it a try, and see what happens . . . and report back!
     
  5. zakthesnipper

    zakthesnipper Member

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    Thanks guys, the Parthenocissus tricuspidata (indeed the Japanese Creeper AKA the Boston Ivy) seems to be happily growing on metal fences, so I was hoping it also "glued" its pads onto metal walls. Most photos on the web and in books are of vines growing onto masonry, but painted wood exterior would also be a smooth surface, so I am hoping for the best. Will report back once results are in!

    Once growing and shading, the vine would actually help keep the metal shed cooler, since the exposure would be to mid-day and afternoon sun, in a cool-temperate climate ... and probably with similar conditions during the summer as in your part of the world. Thanks again! Cheers.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    If you are talking about chain link the stems grow up this by twining rather than adhering to the wire.
     
  7. zakthesnipper

    zakthesnipper Member

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    Have you seen Boston Ivy or Virginia Creeper growing on a chain link fence? Vines with suckers attach themselves through sticky pads or disks, but maybe also twine around wires ...?

    A metal fence would also have post uprights, so the pads could be found on their surfaces. The evidence might be found there.

    This is actually an important issue for "living walls" and vertical landscaping on buildings ... any landscape architects out there with experience in this? Buildings in the future need to become greener to save on energy .... and shading with plants makes a big difference in cooling and heating costs.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    >Have you seen Boston Ivy or Virginia Creeper growing on a chain link fence?<

    Yes, that is what I was describing.
     
  9. zakthesnipper

    zakthesnipper Member

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    Ron, do you remember anything about the pads and if they were attached to the fence posts?

    This is what I'm trying to figure out, if the Parthenocissus tricuspidata vines attache to metal surface by their sticky pads.
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Put something for them to twine around over or next to the shed and you won't need them to be able to stick to metal sheeting.
     
  11. lurker

    lurker Member

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    The short answer is: Yes (so far).

    I was toying with the idea of containerizing a start of the Boston Ivy I have growing on the back of the house, so that I could bring some shade to our very sunny southern-exposed patio...and I found this old thread. It reminded me that three years ago, I found a dearth of information on Boston Ivy clinging to smooth surfaces, like sheet metal, or the painted steel siding that covers our house. I probably read this thread back then, and still didn't have an answer...

    Two summers ago, I planted three bare-root Boston Ivy starts along the back wall of the house. They didn't do much the first summer, but several vines (2-3 per plant) did reach the top of the masonry foundation wall where it meets the bottom of the steel siding.

    Last summer, the existing vines leafed out nicely and quickly began sending new vines vertically and horizontally. Most of the vertical vines ran into problems trying to bridge the gap between the masonry and the steel siding (the siding stands 1 or 2 inches proud of the foundation wall). Out of impatience and curiosity, I gently helped some new reaching vines along with some painters tape to position their newest leaves and sucker pads near the steel siding. Perhaps it was rough handling or the chemicals in the tape, but about half of these tender shoots shriveled up on me. But the remainder attached enough that a gentle tug would not remove them. Yay!

    By this spring, I had a few well-spaced vines creeping up the steel siding (perhaps 5 or 6 along the 25-30' back wall)...some just a few feet, a couple that had made it 5-6 feet past the bottom of the siding. These seem to be growing much faster this summer and we now have vines wrapping around the bottom sill of our second story windows (really only 10' or so off the ground) as well as the most vigorous just reaching the antenna bracket that is probably closer to 16-18'.

    I expect them to reach the top of the wall and start filling in (like they readily did on the masonry) by end of next summer. I took a photo early this summer after it leafed out. I'll try to remember to follow up with a current photo.

    I haven't tugged to see how secure the discs are attached, and I'm still wondering whether they will stay attached in the long run when the vines are taller and heavier. BTW, this is 70's construction, so the painted metal surface may have a bit more texture than newer steel siding. I'm looking forward to the fall color this year!

    There have been a few setbacks: once a mature vine/tendril is detached for any reason (wind, weeding accidents), it will not grow new attachment discs, and in most cases, seems to die off if flopping upside-down...if a vine detaches, prune it off. I also underwatered them in early summer of the second year, probably stunting them a bit.

    But, yes, Virginia, Parthenocissus tricuspidata does climb metal surfaces :)

    I hope this helps someone else looking to cover an unappealing metal surface with some lush greenery.

    Note: please ignore the "utility area" in the foreground of the pic--we hide our yard tools back here until the garden shed goes up. This was May 3, this year. You might also note the areas on the masonry foundation that are completely filled in--it definitely prefers a more porous surface. Without originally finding others who had success with Boston Ivy on metal surfaces, I went ahead and planted these thinking if they didn't attach to the siding, at least I could cover the foundation wall a' la Wrigley Field. Also, as far as I know, a wire support will not help, as Boston Ivy does not twine, only creeps and clings via suction discs.
     

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  12. lurker

    lurker Member

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    I took this picture this morning. As you see, the Boston Ivy has made some progress this summer.
    For a reference, the bottom sill of the basement windows is about 5' from the ground, so it looks to be approaching 15+ feet without any major vines detaching under their own weight. I did clip some vines crawling into the window sill on the left side last week, and I see I still have to retrieve some dead vines I couldn't reach from the ground.
    I actually have several cuttings I'm trying to root right now from that pruning to start a vine to cover the front of the house with southern exposure. I'm hoping it will help with heating and cooling, as the sun bakes the siding, reflects off the deck, and beats in through the sliding glass doors in the summer--you can feel it radiate through the door on hot days. As Boston Ivy is deciduous, it will shade the siding in the summer and let the sun warm the south wall in the winter. I'll have to train it from around the side of the house, so it will take a few years, but I love a long-term plan!
     

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