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Will this orchid damage my wall?

 
steward
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Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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I have a vanilla orchid in my greenhouse.  It's started growing and the roots are grabbing into the gaps between my wall boards.  Initially I thought that was great so it could climb on its own.  But now I'm wondering what the roots will do back there.

The wall consists of 1" pine boards (stained on both sides), then a layer of a breathable rain screen membrane which is small plastic wires that keep the wood separated from the next layer so it can breath.  It looks like this:

Outside of that is standard poly plastic.  

So I think the roots will grab into the gaps in the wood boards. They may reach back through and fiddle around in the membrane.  

I doubt there's much nutrition back in there for them to seek but maybe there's some moisture.

Would they be likely to penetrate the 6 mil poly sheeting?  Or fill that membrane with enough root matter to keep the back side of the boards from breathing?  By breathing, I mean that if the poly was tight to the boards, they'd get damp and start to rot.  Adding the layer of rain screen allows air to circulate behind the boards and keep them dry.
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pioneer
Posts: 46
Location: Douglas County, WI zone 4a 105 acres
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Mike, I would say that the root is going in there for a reason - it knows something you don't.
You can just cut it off with a sharp, sterilized knife and won't hurt the plant.
Maybe fill the cracks behind it with silicone or something, or install some impermeable barrier like thin stiff plastic or metal.
How fun to grow your own vanilla beans!
 
Mike Jay Haasl
steward
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Thanks Mary Beth!  I figured it might be going in there just for support as it climbs.  So maybe once it has a grip it will stop reaching in there?  But I have no idea so that's why I'm asking...
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Mike, roots of the vanilla will not stop growing on their own. In the case of your siding, the roots will find their way through then they will grow fatter and that pressure will break the siding boards.
I would suggest you build a trellis for the vanilla plants to grow on, that way you won't get much damage to the siding or the green house.
Don't forget that this plant is perennial so make sure it will have room to grow (these vines will get over 40 feet long).

Love that you have one growing but wow, curing vanilla beans, that takes about 18 months.  Good on you kola.

Redhawk
 
Mike Jay Haasl
steward
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Well shoot.  I was hoping it could climb up there and just look cool and not be a management issue.  It can climb 18' before it hits the roof so I have decent room.  I guess I'll put a trellis up that white truss and just watch to make sure it doesn't send roots into the wall.  Thanks Bryant!!!
 
Did Steve tell you that? Fuh - Steve. Just look at this tiny ad:
dry stack retaining wall
https://permies.com/t/85178/dry-stack-retaining-wall
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