Nothing is quite as picturesque as a house covered in English ivy. However, certain vines can damage building materials and necessary elements of homes. If you’ve considered having vines growing on siding, continue reading to learn about possible damage vines can do and what you can do to prevent it.
Damage from Growing Vines on Siding or Shingles
The biggest question is how do vines damage siding or shingles. Most vines grow up surfaces either by sticky aerial roots or twining tendrils. Vines with twining tendrils can be damaging to gutters, roofs, and windows, as their small young tendrils will wrap around anything they can; but then as these tendrils age and grow bigger, they can actually distort and warp weak surfaces. Vines with sticky aerial roots can damage stucco, paint, and already weakened brick or masonry.
Whether growing by twining tendrils or sticky aerial roots, any vine will take advantage of small cracks or crevices to anchor themselves to the surface they are growing on. This can lead to climbing vine damage to shingles and siding. Vines can slip beneath spaces in between siding and shingles and ultimately pull them away from the home.
Another concern about growing vines on siding is that they create moisture between the plant and home. This moisture can lead to mold, mildew, and rot on the home itself. It can also lead to insect infestations.
How to Keep Vines from Damaging Siding or Shingles
The best way to grow vines up a home is to grow them not directly on the home itself but on a support set about 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) out from the home’s siding. You can use trellises, lattice, metal grids or mesh, strong wires, or even string. What you use should be based upon what vine you are growing, as certain vines can be heavier and denser than others. Be sure to place any vine support at least 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) away from the home for proper air circulation.
You’ll also need to frequently train and trim these vines even though they’re growing on supports. Keep them cut back away from any gutters and shingles. Cut or tie back any stray tendrils that may be reaching for the home’s siding and, of course, also cut or tie back any that are growing out wildly away from the support.