Homemade Vine Guard to Prevent Plants from Climbing Wires

I love growing flowering ornamental vines in my garden. Not only are they great for covering a drab blank wall, they're absolute space savers. Provide them with a climbing structure like a trellis and they will shoot up and grow like crazy. Tropical vines, especially, are beautiful yet notorious for being aggressive to the point of being invasive, if not contained.

Also, the placement of vigorous aggressive vines however may not always be ideal. You should be on the lookout for nearby plants and trees which the vine may cling and possibly smother someday.

Other structures near a wall that a vine may climb are telephone lines, television wires and cables, antennas, etc. and you'd have to watch these too.

Growing an Invasive Tropical Vine

In our property line, we have a couple of guy wires coming from a nearby electric post as seen in the above photo. The guy wires are only a few inches from the property wall.

The vine that's growing on a wire wall trellis attached to the wall is Thunbergia mysorensis. It is also known by other names like Mysore Clock Vine, Doll Shoes, Lady Slippers and Brick and Butter Vine. It has been declared by the book "Vines of the World" as the most beautiful and this vine has yielded truly remarkable flowers. Unfortunately, it is also a fast-growing vine that needs to be pruned heavily at least twice a year.

If I don't prune the vine consistently on a regular basis, the spiraling shoots of the Thunbergia mysorensis vine attaches themselves quickly to the two guy wires. The trouble with the guy wires is that each is less than an inch thick. And when the vines cling to the wire, they hang on to it so tightly. Because of the wire's relatively small thickness and steep vertical incline, the vine easily gains height. When that happens, removing the vine is so much more difficult because of its tight grip.

Purpose of the Vine Guard

A climbing vine guard discourages and sometimes prevent vines (climbing and clinging) from climbing up a utility pole's guy wires that are buried in the ground. Ideally, they should have a smooth outer surface for less traction. They should have a diameter of 10 inches or bigger, so the vine has lesser chance of hugging the guard tightly. They should also be high or tall enough so the vine can't just piggyback on other vegetation to gain height (scaffolding) and ultimately reach the guy wire.

Even with less than these ideal conditions, a vine guard can still be used to delay the climbing of vines to a large extent. If the vine guard has a length of 2 feet (or more) and a diameter of 3 inches (or more), you could pry off the clinging vines with relative ease.

Making a Homemade Vine Guard

  • Thin PVC Pipe: 4" Diameter (or bigger), 2 Feet long - 1 pc.
    (this will become the vine guard)
  • Plastic cup cover: 1 pc.
  • Insulated copper wire
  • All-weather Duct Tape
  • Construction Adhesive
  • Cutter or Heavy duty scissors
  • Hacksaw
  • Flat screwdriver

  1. With a hacksaw, cut a slit along the length of the PVC Pipe (vine guard). This is only on one side so you DON'T actually cut the pipe into two halves.

  2. With a pair of heavy duty scissors, cut a plastic cup (vine guard cover) around the middle as shown in the photo below. Save the cut rectangular plastic piece for use later. The rectangular cut will allow the guy wires to slip through and be positioned at the center. See photo below.

  3. With a power drill, create holes near the rim of the vine guard cover as shown above. If you don't have a drill, try punching holes with a 1-inch nail. The vine guard has an open top and these holes will serve as drainage so rain water doesn't collect at the bottom.

  4. Pass the guy wires through the slit so they will be inside the vine guard. Use a flat screwdriver to pry open the slit. If there are two wires (as in my case), tie the guy wires together with a piece of insulated copper wire. This will ensure both guy wires will be inside the vine guard. See the guy wires tied and inside the vine guard as shown below.

  5. Apply construction adhesive to the inside edges of the vine guard slit. Keep the slit closed and secure by putting duct tape at the top and bottom of the vine guard. Allow the adhesive to cure and dry.

  6. Apply construction adhesive inside the rim of the vine guard cover. Put the vine guard bottom cover by passing the two guy wires through its cut as shown below. Allow the adhesive to cure and dry.

  7. Apply construction adhesive on the plastic piece that was saved earlier. Cover the vine guard bottom hole with this plastic piece.

  8. To keep the vine guard in place, tie a piece of insulated copper wire to support or hang it from the guy wire.

After a few months, see how the vine grew on the trellis as shown below. The vine's shoots continue to grow but could hardly climb up the vine guard. Even if they do, they either fall or they're easily removed because they cannot grip the guard tightly.

Left unchecked though, the foliage will thicken and can eventually rise above the vine guard. But that is improbable as the vine would've been pruned by then.

Made from inexpensive materials, the homemade climbing vine guard is a simple DIY garden project. With the vine guard in place, it is much easier to remove vines that were able to wrap around the base of the vine guard. Pruning the vine's branches and shoots to contain the vine to its garden trellis is now faster.

UPDATE: Here's an update and review of this project.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

Unknown said...

I have a coaxial cable to an amplified TV antenna. The cable has DC injection to power the antenna.

It doesn't matter how far away I've moved the cable or how far back I prune the wisteria vine. Every spring it seems to put its earliest, most aggressive growth into a sprint right over to the antenna cable to wrap it up, as though it has a memory of where that cable is.

Can vines be attracted to direct current electricity? Are they repelled by anything that will make them not grow towards it?

Blackdove said...

I wish there was a way to either attract or repel the climbing of vines. But, alas.