As of the end of this month, I shall be working in a garden with three young silver birch trees. I was thinking about training some peas up the side of them next year. to maximise the vertical I was wondering whether anyone had any experience of doing anything similar, and whether they could share their experiences, pictures, etc.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
posted 5 years ago
I don't have photos, but I have tried growing runner beans up young trees.
It was not a success-runner beans are really vigorous, and totally swamped the poor trees.
I think any climbing bean would be too much unless a tree's quite large.
Something weaker-growing like peas/sweet peas might be ok though.
I'd look for a large and established tree with strong limbs. Prune the limbs back a bit on the sunny side to let light in, then tie a string from a sturdy branch hanging down to the ground. If you use a biodegradable twine you can just cut top and bottom in the autumn and throw the whole lot on the compost, or let it fall and rot in place.
I suspect that this will work better than trying to train up trunks, as on large strong trees the trunks are usually shaded and on younger trees the runner bean may swamp the tree.
I haven't tried this on trees, but I have made a sturdy wooden scaffold to hang strings from and they climb it with ease.
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Thank you both for sharing your experiences. I was concerned that a runner might overrun the poor young trees, so that is useful to know. The strings, however, do sound like a viable option. I'm thinking of sourcing some Painted Lady seeds to give it all a decorative edge, too.
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