November 29, 2015

Protecting Your Property From Creeping Plants

Create an image of a picturesque house or bungalow in your mind. The roof is made of colourful shingles, with delicate flowers decorating the window sills and a nice stretch of ivy creeping up the side of the house. Seeing creeping plants on houses can give a real positive aesthetic to a property, however if that plant is left unattended for too long, it can do major damage to the structure and the brickwork of any building. 

It is therefore important to take note if you want creeping plants in your property, and what you can do to help minimise the damage they cause. 

What climbing plants can do

Although ivy is the most common form of climbing plant, there are also a number of other plants you want to watch out for, namely trumpet vine, hydrangea petiolaris (the climbing version of the plant), parthenocissus and trachelospermum to name a few. Essentially a climbing plant will make its way up another plant or the side of a building in order to get more nutrients from the sun and from the local weather, growing as it does so. 

Climbing plants can be very pleasing to the eye, but they can do a whole lot of damage if left unattended, particularly if you allow the plants to reach their way up to any roof or top area of a property. Their branches and roots will worm their way into cracks and holes in the brickwork, making it weaker and looser as they tighten their grip onto the wall. Over time and with general wear and tear this can be a real structural issue. 

Knowing when it can become a Problem

You’ve got a real problem on your hands when you go to tap the wall and it crumbles away easily in your hands. Another issue is where you allow climbing plants to reach the roof of a building, as they will crack and dislodge roof tiles in their bid towards sunlight, making it easier for bad weather, rats, mice and bats to make their way inside the property itself. Fixing and repairing a roof is a lengthy and expensive process, so letting your creeping plants get this high is a real issue. 

Unfortunately as we homeowners are wont to do, we are often loathe to cut away the creeping plants as the property may look bare or unattractive without it. However if we leave the plants as they are, they will only continue to do damage to the wall structure until the whole thing crumbles away, and you’re left with a big mess. So, it is important to provide a climbable structure for the plants instead of the wall itself. 

Fencing Styles to Help

Trellis fencing is the ideal frame or structure for climbing plants, whether you’re propping it against an existing fence in order to protect the main fence, or you are using it to protect the walls of your home. The cross hatch design of trellis fencing allows ivy and other creeping plants to easily worm their way around the branches, finding good footholds without clinging and damaging the walls of your property. 

There are, of course, other ways you can help reduce the damage done to a property by creeping plants. Chicken wire works wonders, although it can look pretty ugly for the first few months while the ivy itself grows. Combining your fencing styles to make an effective, yet sturdy fence is a good idea when looking at creeping plants, or if you’d prefer not to have creeping plants at all, it is important to make a note of where the plant stems from and hack it off at the root. That way you won’t have to deal with the reoccurring problem. Some creeping plants cannot find their own source of nutrients and die out after a while, but you shouldn’t rely on this; tackle the issue at its source. 

Your garden is as much a part of your property as anything within the house itself, so it is important that you keep an eye on it and perform regular maintenance to make sure that no lasting damage is done. A well-kept garden may be hard work from time to time but the benefits certainly outweigh the disadvantages and can also be a real winning factor when it comes to trying to sell. Make sure that you look after the whole property, not just the home and your interior.

Article provided by Chariot Fencing, a professional fencing contractor based in Gloucestershire providing all types of fencing to commercial homes across the Midlands.