Nervous about cutting my climbers for painting....

Melanie N
by Melanie N
When I bought my 1880 Victorian home two years ago, I grumbled about the invasive climbers the previous owner had planted to grow up the porch (a wisteria and a trumpet vine!). But I became accustomed to the constant pruning required and love the charm they add - particularly when they are in bloom. I'm now getting the house painted, and they need to be removed - at least temporarily. Because both are so agressive, I strongly suspect that if I cut them back, they will eventually return...but have concerns I may lose one or both. Any advice??
Trumpet vine on the side of the wrap-around porch
Wisteria - view from on the porch
Wisteria at the front of the house - why can't I find the pics of them in bloom??!!
  12 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 07, 2013
    I love your porch...I think you will be OK with a combined approach. Prune them back about 50% or so and unwind them. your painter should be able to get around the bulk of them if they are not spraying.
  • Marcy Marcy on May 07, 2013
    Your house is so pretty and charming!
  • These plants can be cut back enough to pull them away for access by the painter. However I must interject my opinion on this type of plant on a house. While the plants offer some sort of charm to the house, you are really doing damage to it by having them grow on the home. The parts of the plant that stick to the house harbor insects such as ants as they die off and new shoots develop. The also allow birds to nest. IN addition they can cause decay to the home trim work as over time the moisture the plant holds will cause the wood to soften. Ideally a trellis should be considered that will keep the plants away from the structure of the home. If you keep up on the plant and prevent it from growing behind the gutters and between any gaps of the trim you will be fine for a short time, But as the plant ages it will become more and more of a chore and difficult to do and by then the damage will have been done. In any case it is a charming look.
  • Melanie N Melanie N on May 07, 2013
    Ugh. I know you are right and this was part of my gumbling...and maybe i just needed someone to tell me. It IS a chore to keep them out of the gutters (bi-weekly cutting of the wild trendles that grow on the wisteria). So. Maybe a trellis is the answer for that one, and complete removal of the trumpet vine - which I like less and sends shoots up in my lawn. Sigh. I've grown to like them alot....but don't want to end up having to replace the porch supports! The weight concerns me too....
  • JOANN F JOANN F on May 08, 2013
    your home is beautiful!! :)
  • Melanie N Melanie N on May 09, 2013
    Thank you all for the compliments. :) It has become the never-ending project of love! The first year, Irefinished the original oak floors on the first floor, did some room painting and decorating, put in new windows upstairs and and a new sidewalk. Last year I began some landscaping changes, added a vegtable garden and put on a new roof. This year, more work on the flowerbeds and landscaping, and I'm having the outside of the home painted. Maybe some day (when I'm retired!) I'll get to stripping all the wide oak trim and doors that someone slathered paint all over (I mean it looks okay and they did a nice job....but why???!!). lol!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 09, 2013
    @Melanie N my brother lives in a 1927 craftsman type bungalow. The openings to the living and dining rooms are big and wide, as well as a lot of the other trim. I keep telling him that the oak underneath the white paint is dying to come our and play. He replies ya someday...maybe.
  • Melanie N Melanie N on May 09, 2013
    :) It's just such an overwhelming project - I can relate! I urge people NOT to paint your woodwork!!
  • Melanie N Melanie N on May 22, 2013
    So I've cut back the trumpet vine and am going to dig that one out. I'm still debating on the wisteria...let it grow back or remove it completely! I agree with the arbor or trellis idea to keep it off the house, but not sure how to incorporate one with the steps being right there...
  • Melanie N Melanie N on Jun 05, 2013
    So I've cut the wisteria off the post for painting, and look what its done! I'm really considering how I will be letting it grow back...!
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Jun 06, 2013
    That looks like a bit of wear from the plant moving in the wind. Before it gets painted you can fill it with a "bondo" type wood filler then sand it square to match the rest of the wood.
  • Melanie N Melanie N on Jun 06, 2013
    That or from being hugged too tightly due to the vine diameter increasing every year! Thanks for the tip - I'm on it! :)