Pick a Proper Trellis

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Climbing roses always make an impact.  Whether they are running along a fence, growing up into a tree, or climbing a stately trellis, we can count on them to stand out. However, many people are daunted by the task of selecting a trellis and training their climber. So we have created a short guide on everything you need to know about trellises and climbing roses to simplify this process.

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When selecting a trellis for a climbing rose, it is important to consider the predicted size of the rose. Crowding a climber onto a trellis which is too small may result in an unruly mess, which will reduce the amount of blooms and encourage disease problems.  Therefore, you should pay close attention to the expected height and width of your rose so that you can find or build a trellis which will suit its needed space.

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In addition to ensuring the size of the trellis is correct, it is also important to use a trellis made from material which can withstand the strain of growing rose canes and the weight of the plant. There are two materials most commonly used to build trellises, wood and welded metal.  The advantage to using wood is it is less expensive, and it is easier to build oneself.  However, it does not last as long as metal, and thick canes can break the more flimsy wood apart, destroying the trellis over time.  When using wood for a trellis it is also crucial to use only cedar, redwood or other pressure treated wood, which will withstand rotting. Metal is the sturdiest material for a trellis. It is strong, and it will not break apart under stress, however, it is important to use a metal which will not easily rust in the rain, and which has been welded, not woven together.  One alternative to using only wood or only metal is to combine the two in the trellis, with the wood supporting the metal, and the metal holding up the rose. This creates a more cost effective trellis and still provides enough support for a vigorous climbing rose.

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Equally as important as selecting a sturdy trellis is choosing the right spot to place it.  It is important to bear in mind that roses will grow towards the sun, so keeping the trellis in a spot where each part of the rose receives equal amounts of sun is a good idea. Also, the rose will bloom on the southernmost side of the trellis, so choose a spot where you will be able to enjoy the blooms.  When anchoring the trellis into the ground, it is important to place the trellis at least two feet into the soil, sinking it into concrete will also help keep the trellis upright and sturdy. Finally, it is important to keep the trellis at least one foot away from your house as the canes can damage siding, and the rose will be harder to maintain if placed too close to a building.

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When training a climber to grow along a trellis there are two things which will help you be successful.  The first is to tie the rose canes onto the face of the trellis with a soft twist tie, rather than weaving the rose through the lattice, as this can damage canes and make the bush harder to keep under control.  Second, climbing roses should be snaked horizontally across the trellis rather than allowed to climb straight up. This will promote more blooms from the top to the bottom, creating a striking wall of color.

Whether you decide to select a trellis from a local craftsman, buy one from a garden store or build one yourself, following these basic guidelines will help ensure your climbing rose will grow into a thing of beauty and bring joy to your garden for years to come.

 

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