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Steve, best way to deal with vines?

 
William James
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Hello Steve,
Great book! It's time someone put this kind of thing out there.

Mine is a two part question:

1. Vines that are perhaps unwanted, or inhibiting the growth of target trees. I'm thinking kudzu and Ivy here. How would you deal with them? What if they're are high up in the canopy?

2. Potential target plant as vines. Martin Crawford hangs leaf-cropping grape vines on the bottom branches of alder. How could you best integrate grape, kiwi, passion flower, or other vining crops in a forest system?

Thanks,
William
 
Nick Kitchener
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Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Great question James. I've been thinking about that myself. Vines are a layer in the forest and I too are wondering about how you can practically utilise this layer (with hops or grapes), when harvesting seems to be a huge challenge. Even hops, that you cut down every year, winds itself through the trees so thoroughly that it's almost impossible to untangle it.
 
Rob Read
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Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
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What I've heard about is training the vine along a couple of branches that you've left as a purposeful trellis. They would be facing east and west on the south side of the tree (in the Northern hemisphere).

Incidentally, I've heard from a reliable source that hardy kiwi fruit fairly well in a tree canopy.

In terms of harvest - I think a ladder is essential for something like hops or grapes, but am also interested in the answer to this from Steve.
 
William James
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Rob Read wrote:
Incidentally, I've heard from a reliable source that hardy kiwi fruit fairly well in a tree canopy.


That would be the mini kiwi I think, ACTINIDIA ARGUTA. (?) They probably grow well even high up untrained because the vines and the fruit are pretty light.
William
 
Mat Smith
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Good question, I look forward to the response. Amongst other vines we have Lantana here that climbs up just a bout everything
 
Nick Kitchener
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On the touchy topic of Kudzu, has anyone dared use it in a cold climate as an annual fodder / mulch where the winter kills the plant back, or even kills it outright?
 
Rob Read
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Nick: I've heard of only one report of Kudzu in Ontario, in Essex County (around Windsor). It was found by a naturalist (ie. in a field or near a forest somewhere), and he reported it and got it destroyed as a potential invasive.

There's this great book called How to Grow World Record Tomatoes (using organic, but intensive, methods), and he swears by kudzu hay as a mulch.

I've been gutsy enough to plant a hardy bamboo, autumn olive, but but as of yet, not kudzu. It seems kind of scary, even to me, and I feel like for me, it's roll as a nitrogen fixer is better served by stuff like clover and vetch. For its roll as a food, I don't see it as a world-hunger stopper, compared to how much it produces. I understand it's more of a starchy thickener than a primary food. For biomass: if it's anything like other vines, even small fragments can form new plants if you tried to compost it. I once had virginia creeper (a native vine in my area) come up in a pail of ashes, inside a barn with a small window, and it grew like that for a whole season. so unless you are really carefully hot composting them, I'd consider it a really good way to spread kudzu around. If it ends up in somewhere that is unmanaged...

As for winter killing it back: I don't know. This stuff in Windsor area was obviously overwintering. How long until your Sleeping Giant up there wakes up in the winter due to climate change? (Note: local joke - Sleeping Giant is a beautiful island park near Thunder Bay.)
 
David Irby
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I have been struggling to figure out ways to incorporate some vines (mainly hops) without causing too much damage to the fruit trees. I am wondering if it would be better to incorporate some nitrogen fixing trees and use them to support the vines thus leaving the fruit trees alone so they can put more effort into yielding their own fruits. I have had some issues with wild grapes which are causing too much negative impact on my apple trees where I tried to leave them. Any other thoughts?
 
Andrew Schreiber
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David Irby wrote:I have been struggling to figure out ways to incorporate some vines (mainly hops) without causing too much damage to the fruit trees. I am wondering if it would be better to incorporate some nitrogen fixing trees and use them to support the vines thus leaving the fruit trees alone so they can put more effort into yielding their own fruits. I have had some issues with wild grapes which are causing too much negative impact on my apple trees where I tried to leave them. Any other thoughts?


I think it is a decent idea to plant "structural" trees which can be living trellises. in temperate regions, trees like alder and poplar/aspen are fast growing and more vertically oriented and won't take up a huge amount of space. Alder has the added benefit of fixing nitrogen.

I have also recommended to other folks in the past that hops make a great sunny-side shade element in ones house or a building. Commercial growers train the hops up rope that is suspended from a ~12 foot tall frame.

One could add eye-bolts to the eves of their house, suspend rope or steel cable, and let the hops grow up every year. The good things about hops in cold climates is that they die back to the ground every year, which means you get the additional solar gain the winter, and as it gets hotter and hotter into summer you get more and more shade from the growing vines reaching for the sunlight. you can use that to your advantage.
 
Steve Gabriel
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Hello vine-fanatics.

Some good ideas here. I don't have a ton of experience with vines and we mostly deal with grapevine here, which I like to cut at the base (separate vine from root system) and then come back in 3 - 6 months once its dried out to pull down from the trees.

Combining vines with trees isn't really great in practice, I think. Better to build a strong wooden structure. Hops and Hardy Kiwi in particular will really stress trees, and even a weak trellis. Plus they can climb out of easy reach for harvesting.

Steve
 
William James
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Steve Gabriel wrote:
Combining vines with trees isn't really great in practice, I think. Better to build a strong wooden structure.


Ouch!
Yeah, perhaps on the edge of treeline, structured and pruned.

I have some ivy that I can't even get to with a ladder suffocating an Elderberry tree. Either I get a tree-climber or get up there myself, which I'm not looking forward to. Most things that vine hold on for dear life, so ripping them out from the ground isn't sometimes isn't possible.
William
 
S Bengi
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My elderberry canes are about 8ft tall, what cultivar are you using.
 
William James
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S Bengi wrote:My elderberry canes are about 8ft tall, what cultivar are you using.


Wild cultivar forgotten about for about 10-20 years.
My tree is like 13-16 feet tall, big trunks that might have been coppiced at some point. It's a big tree. Actually there's two of them. I was hoping to try and put them into production, if possible. Small elderberry are subject to blackberry, big elderberry left alone are subject to Ivy and/or kudzu. The Ivy seems to take hold up higher on the tree. I haven't finished cutting it's lines on the bottom, so I'm hoping once I do that it'll dry up and go away. The Ivy is flowering now and there are lots of bees nearby, which I had something else productive nearby that also was flowering.
W
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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