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Which plants will damage my fence?

Climbing plants can grace your wooden fences with a quaint, characterful look, and transform them into an attractive feature for your garden. However, not all plants are good news. Before you buy, it’s essential that you brush up on your botanical knowledge and teach yourself about which pesky plants could be damaging to wooden fences on your property. While these plants may look great on non-wooden garden structures, they can wreak havoc to your wooden structures and cause disease, damage and destruction if left unchecked. In this article, we hope to answer the important question of which plants will damage your fence, and which will offer the fragrant, colourful addition that you’re searching for.

Plants that could damage your wooden fence

Woody vines:

  • Although some species may be very aesthetically pleasing, such as Common Ivy or Wisteria, they can also be harmful to fences and some can quickly get out of control due to their fast-growing nature.
  • These vines can hold excessive water against the wooden fence, inviting the opportunity for fungus, rot and other diseases to develop.
  • The strong, woody roots can also grow between slats and result in breakages in the fence, which is especially likely if the wood has already been softened by moisture.

Invasive species:

  • Invasive, non-native species of both animals and plants are renowned for their negative impacts to native species, and their ability to spread across large geographic areas that they are not native to.
  • Usually introduced by humans, invasive plant and vine species, such as Common Ivy or Japanese Honeysuckle, can damage structures and buildings and can outcompete other plants that you might be attempting to grow on or around your fence. By their nature, invasive species are very fast-growing and if not dealt with quickly, can spread to other areas of your garden.
  • In some extreme cases, the only way to get rid of an established invasive plant is to carry out controlled burning or apply costly herbicides that could be damaging to other plants in your garden.

Plants that are safe for your wooden fence

Non-woody vines:

  • The safest vines to grow on wooden fences are annual, flowering plants. These include herbaceous and non-woody vines, such as Morning Glory and some Nasturtium species.
  • Whilst they still do wrap themselves around a fence, if they are kept in check by gentle pruning, non-woody vines are not especially damaging. It is also much easier to guide them away from the most vulnerable areas of your fence and towards the light.
  • Non-woody vines are also less dense than woody vines, reducing the amount of moisture that is trapped between the vine and the fence, thus limiting the chance of wood rot.
  • While they might not offer as much privacy value as woody vines, they do have the advantage of sprouting colourful and decorative flowers, making them a welcome addition to your outdoor space.

At Barnard Fencing, we understand the need to care and maintain your wooden fence. We have 30 years’ experience of installing our huge range of fencing, available in many materials and styles, and have been offering our services to the Nottingham area on projects both large and small. For advice or just a chat, get in touch with our family run business today.


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