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Ivy climbing up a fence

Ivy makes an excellent wall or fence covering. As long as it's kept in its place and is well managed with regular trims, this robust and versatile evergreen will make a good backdrop for the most flamboyant of flower displays,

Raking the soil 1 Prepare a bed close to a fence or wall by digging over the soil to remove weeds and large stones. Dig deep to break up heavy soil, then fork in well-rotted manure to improve drainage. This also helps the soil hold more moisture. Rake the surface level.

Preparing the ivy plant 2 Although ivy plants are usually bought with their twining stems tied to a long cane for support, they shouldn't be planted like this. Instead, carefully untie all the stems and remove the cane completely. Unravel and separate the individual stems and lay them to one side.

Digging a planting hole 3 A single ivy plant will easily cover a 1.8m (6ft) square fence panel, so plant it exactly in the middle. Dig out a planting hole close to the bottom edge of the fence that's deep enough to hold the pot. Fork over the bottom of the hole to break up the soil.

Planting the rootball 4 Remove the plastic pot and position the rootball in the hole. Aim to keep the surface of the compost level with that of the surrounding soil. Pour soil in around the rootball. Firm in by hand or use a boot gently to get rid of air pockets.

Laying out the stems 5 To ensure the widest area of the fence is covered with ivy in the quickest time, spread out the trailing stems along the base of the fence. Try to divide the shoots equally between the two sides, laying each stem directly on the soil so it makes contact.

Pegging down the stem 6 To encourage each stem to root into the soil along its entire length, make some wire pegs to push down the stems at regular intervals. These will hold the stems firmly and prevent them blowing about in the wind. Cover sections of the stem with soil, keeping the leaves clear.

Watering the stems 7 Give the main plant a good watering to settle the soil around the roots, then water the entire length of the fence to wet the soil covering the stems. Over the coming weeks, repeat this on a regular basis.

Tying stems to the fence 8 Sideshoots won't grow immediately, so be patient. Once the stems have rooted into the soil they'll send up shoots from virtually every leaf joint. Ivy is a self-clinging climber, but give it a helping hand by tying in stems with wire clips pushed into gaps in the panels.

Tending the ivy 9 Within a couple of years the ivy will reach the top of the panel. Keep growth in check by trimming any unruly shoots. Wire in new shoots growing from the base to fill in any gaps. An occasional foliar liquid feed will ensure growth remains strong and healthy.


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Last modified: August 28, 2014