Looking for deciduous vine non-toxic with dogs

Discussion in 'Garden Design and Plant Suggestions' started by LanietheBerner, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for a deciduous vine that is fast growing and non-toxic to dogs, and a bit showy. We have a 11 month old Bernese Mountain dog female and I'd hate to make her sick....

    We have an earth sheltered home in Grass Valley, California that uses solar energy to heat the house, and we're looking for a vine that will go over a trellis system that we just built across the front of the house. During the summer, when we get many days of sun exposure the house heats up to 72-78F, and my wife would like it a bit cooler. The winters (as long as we get 4 hours of sun), stays at 72F, so we'd like something that is deciduous so we could keep our solar exposure.

    Can anyone help us with a suggestion?

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Actinidia might work. Its fruit is edible for people - not a guarantee of non-toxicity for dogs, but a good sign.
     
  3. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    We were hoping to find something that was a bit more showy foliage wise than the Kiwi. We have a 11 month old Bernese Mountain dog female who's our kid, that's why we have not put in something like a Wisteria as it's posionous. Grapes are also somewhat posionous, and my wife did not want to have grapes above the walkway (even though I thought it would be OK, as I'd just be very dilligent with keeping the area clean) as she hate's bee's and in her words "goopy fruit all over the place...".

    We have an earth sheltered home (it looking something like the Hobbit House, in Lord-of-the-rings) with a large steel trellis system that we just finished. We use solar energy to heat our home, that is why I'd like to find a decidious answer! Pictures of the house (under construction) can be found at: www.earthshelter.com it's the house with the dozer on the roof!

    Any other suggestions would be great! Any idea's on Clematis?

    Brad
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Again, don't know about specifically for dogs, but Clematis, being in the Ranunculaceae, is very likely to be toxic.
     
  5. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Let me first start off by saying that you have an amazing looking home.
    Its quite a job trying to find a vine that meets your requirements. I would have thought that Actinidia or Grapes would have been a good choice except for what you said about them being overly messy. Clematis are poisonous so I wouldn't advise it.
    Another option would be Hops (Humulus lupulus). Although not overly showy, it dies back to the ground every season which would give you your sunlight for the winter providing you remove the dead vegetation from the trellis. I'm not quite sure if all parts of the plant are non-poisonous. They say it can cause mild dermatitis for people who pick the hops for use in beer. Anyways thats my 2 cents
     
  6. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    Thanks for the info and comments, especially on the Clematis, and your right it is posionous to dogs.

    I was thinking that Hops might be a good canidate, but I was wondering if the whole Hops plant dies back, or do they have a stem/trunk where the growth can be clean-off up to? The trellis system is about 9 feet tall and then crosses front walkway back towards the house which is another 9'

    Thanks again and & can send off pictures of the house with the new trellis system if you email me: Berner4u at aol.com

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  7. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    The Hops vine will die back to the ground every winter. No living stems will remain so you can remove the tangled stems from the trellis altogether. This will give you your sun in the winter and when the spring rolls around, stems will arise from the roots and cover the trellis which will give you shade. Hops will have no problem covering a 9 foot high fence in a short period of time. This vine will take off!
     
  8. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    Ok, but we have to go up a 9' post, and then go 9' across the trellis system....

    Thanks!

    Brad
     
  9. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    You can always put in more than one plant if they don't grow fast enough for you, though they should. I had this plant for a while, and remember it as well able to cover 9 feet high and wide within a year in my climate - I don't know how it increases, as mine died at some point, but if it's like most deciduous plants its capacity will increase after the first couple of years.

    Another vine that is deciduous in my climate is Schizandra (aka Schisandra) chinensis - it's a woody vine from which the flowers and leaves sprout every year, so you don't need to pull a mess off the trellis every year. Mine doesn't berry, but the flowers are nice; foliage tolerable. Akebia quinata, with delightful smaller flowers and very nice foliage, grows the same way, though might be a bit more of a tangle. You should be able to research easily through an internet search whether they are toxic, and whether they are deciduous in your climate.

    Then there's Aristolochia durior... I think this might be toxic though.
     
  10. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Actually, I think you need to consult a vine book; there are so many to choose from... am just remembering Schizophragma hydrangeoides, which is however more often grown in shade, and of course its cousin Hydrangea petiolaris.

    You could also espalier a deciduous tree to the trellis, but that's a lot of work. There are also shrubs that would grow up it, like a Pyracantha.
     
  11. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    I thought these were good candidates myself except that it lists all Hydrangea species as poisonous online. Even though Schizophragma hydrangeoides isn't a true Hydrangea, I could not find any information online to deem it non-poisonous so I didn't bother list it. Akebia quinata was my first choice actually until I realised it was an evergreen vine. Really nice plant though. Schizandra chinensis sounds like a really promising choice and definitely worth researching.
     
  12. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    My Akebia is deciduous. Perhaps it isn't in California. I did forget to check the toxicity of Schizophragma; just was mentally scrolling through the deciduous vines in my yard.
     
  13. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Yeah Akebia quinata in northern climates are deciduous but considered semi-evergreen in southern climates.
     
  14. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    Thanks for the info. I have attached pictures of our house the trellis system is 9' across and it has 9' post that hold it up.

    Brad
     

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  15. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    We're in Grass Valley, CA - Zone 7B, I don't know if you'd consider us nothern or southern...?
     
  16. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

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    Akebia quinata may be deciduous to your climate but I have no way of being certain. You may be able to find out from local nurseries to see if it is deciduous. I would personally pick this vine over anything else. No parts of the plant are poisonous and this vine is very showy. I hope this helps in your decision.
     
  17. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Oh it's a pergola, not so much a trellis.... interesting. And I can't quite tell whether the vine will clamber onto your balcony railing as well. What I can see is that getting up there to do annual maintenance is going to be a royal pain.

    To some extent, this is an exercise in design done somewhat backward and the outcome may show that - don't know how much the overall visual outcome matters to you. You have started your plan with function (shade), which is good, but to design the trellis before being sure there is a vine that will meet the requirements of this particular structure as well as your own might have been a little chancy. The thing is, Akebia is a very small leaved and small-flowered plant (you won't even see the flowers way up there), and doesn't have a lot of visual cohesion, and its stems won't look like much more than a wiry mess. Furthermore, at my neighbour's place, the dead foliage doesn't fall off her 'Alba' cultivar of Akebia in winter (at my place, the purple one does lose its leaves - go figure). I think that visually, you need something on this trellis on this house with Presence - that means big leaves, substantial branches. I think grapes would look good, or if toxicity weren't an issue the big leaves of Aristolochia would look brilliant. But it seems like you might be stuck with smaller-leaved options (Schizandra has some stem presence, but leaves aren't that big either).

    I think if I were you I'd go back to kiwi, although all in all I'm just not sure that a vine is what I would opt for in this situation. If it's possible, I would be planting another potentially large deciduous tree in a strategic location if you can. (Maybe a fast growing one and a slow growing one beside each other, and you can cull the fast grower when the slow guy gets to size).

    My neighbour also has an Albizia - not sure if that tree is a noxious weed where you are, but here it's an excellent shade tree (albeit messy all summer to an almost dangerous extent on walking surfaces) and very fast growing. It leafs out late, loses its leaves early, and even furls them up in the evening.

    But I think my first priority would be train the dog not to eat plants...
     
  18. Latifa

    Latifa Member

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    Could you post a picture of a dog? Sorry, cant` help you with the wine, but I would really like to see the dog! I had one of that kind for 12 years, they are my favourite, at the time we bought her I was just 2 years old, and that dog marked my whole childhood...We ordered her all the way from Switzerland...Even now I stop at the street when I see them, they are so beautiful, and you are happy to have him/her!
    Oh, just remembered a wine you could use, it grows good here ( in the winter the temerature goes under -15 deegres C), it is called Tecoma radicans, and it has big orange flowers! Sorry, I don`t have a picture to attach..
     
  19. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    Here's a picture of our past kid who was practicing her "flying technology" in the last snow storm (we typically get 2-3 inches per year). The other picture is our new kid, Amelia, when she was 4 months old, and now she's 11 months old and 95 pounds.... (yikes!!!).
     

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    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  20. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    It's a bit hard to train them if the plants are posionous and kill then as soon as they chew on them.... LOL!!! (Sorry a demented sense of humor).

    Thanks for your suggestion, We are starting to lean towards Hop's, but because Oregon has banned Hop's from coming into the state, people are not really willing to ship Hop's ryzomes (sp) to the west coast....
     
  21. Latifa

    Latifa Member

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    They are both beautiful! Well, I must say that you are lucky to have Amelia, and I hope she will not try to distroy any wine you plant! Good luck with this lovely dog, and I hope she will bring you joy, as my Bern did to me! And thank you for the pictures!
     
  22. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hope you find something that works. I should amend that I may not be quite right about the Akebia being deciduous either - I checked again yesterday and it has a few leaves - but I'm sure my memory has it blooming on bare wood, else you'd never see the flowers. Anyway... Don't forget to check Schizandra before committing to hops.
     
  23. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    What about if we espelier some apple trees? How long, and could I expect for a apple tree to grow up a 9 foot high (@3 meters) and go across a 9 foot wide trellis?

    Would I be better suited to find some non-dwarf trees for this project? My wife loves apples and this was a very positive suggestion when I spoke with her about it.
     
  24. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  25. LanietheBerner

    LanietheBerner Member

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    I'll check to see, but we are trying to get ryzomes (sp) rather than go with the seed routine. We called a number of nurseries in Oregon and were unable to get anything - even referals, so we'll check again! Maybe I'll call the County Ag. Commissioners in areas of Oregon where they do grow them..?

    Thanks for the suggestions!!!! Brad
     

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