How Vines Affect a Deck

Whether you already have vines creeping on your deck or you’re considering which plants you want to add to your outdoor space, it’s important to understand how vines can affect your deck. Though their thin, wispy stems seem fragile over time they can do serious damage.

Vines on Deck

Here’s an overview on how vines can help or hurt your deck.

When Vines Can Do Damage to a Deck

You’ve probably heard horror stories about vines that creep up the sides of homes and wreak havoc on the structure. There is some truth to the story. Depending on the type of material, ivy and vines can eventually overpower a structure.

When it comes to wood, there are a number of ways the vine and ivy can do damage. Here are some of the most common concerns.

Rooting Themselves in Crevices – while vines and ivy aren’t typically strong enough to create a crack, they can quickly work their way into a crevice and cause damage like a higher likelihood of wood rot.

Protection for Pests – Vines that wrap around your deck can be home to a multitude of pests. While many of these are harmless some can do real damage.

Shifting the Structure – The tendrils of vines can work their way between boards and around joints opening them up in the process. This poses a serious problem to the structure of the deck and can affect its integrity.

When Vines Can Add Appeal to a Deck

Despite the problems that vines can cause they are present on a lot of people’s decks. Why? Because they have a lot of great qualities, including:

  • They can add shade to a pergola, arbor and other overhangs.
  • They add privacy – vines can quickly grow thick enough to provide a natural divider.
  • They are visually appealing and easy to grow unlike some other plants.
  • When you have little space and want plants that grow up rather than out creeping vines can be a way of adding greenery.

If you choose to have vines around your deck it’s very important that you diligently maintain them so they don’t get out of control. Vines can quickly take over a deck and go from an appealing addition to an expensive nuisance. Vines have minds of their own, so you have to be active in influencing where they grow.

Keep them off anything structural (joints, railing, posts) as well as your decking. Again this requires you to keep a very close eye on the vines and knock them back on a regular basis.

Get rid of any super invasive species like English Ivy. There are a lot of different vines to choose from so opt for one that’s slower growing and easier to maintain.

If you heed the warnings above your deck may just be able to coincide with vines. While they can be very easy to grow, that’s the double-edge sword. You’ll have to be an active participant in keeping them contained so your deck is protected.

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