Instructions for Homemade Plant Supports

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Just about every gardener experiences it at some point--a beautiful, lushly green plant that is too tall for its own good or has too much weight in fruit; down to the ground it bends. This problem is remedied easily with plant supports, which can be made at home.

Wire

Use wire to make a long or circular support. Chicken wire is probably most easily procurable, and you can work with it without a lot of hassle. For a straight support, wrap each end of a long length of chicken wire around a thin piece of wood (one piece of wood per end)--even a large twig from a branch may work, depending on the size of support you need. Using pliers, twist any free wire strands down so that they hold the chicken wire around the piece of wood. When you position the wire around the wood, leave a little wood hanging out. Dig a small hole in the ground, place the extra-wood end into the hole, and "plant" the support into the ground. For a circular chicken wire support, connect the two ends by bending the end wires together. You do not need to attach the wire to wood in this case because the wire connects to itself. Circular supports work best for shorter, stockier plants, especially ones that bear fruit, which might pull the plant down (e.g., tomato plants). Straight supports work better for plants that like to vine or grow very tall, such as morning glories or ivy. One thing to keep in mind is that wire may rust over time.

Wood

Make a wooden trellis with pieces of flat wood. To do this, lay a few pieces down so that they are parallel to each other but not touching (a few inches apart). Then lay another piece of flat wood on top of these so that it is perpendicular to the first pieces. Nail the perpendicular piece to all the other pieces. If desired, you can use two perpendicular pieces for added stability. Wood can hold more weight than wire, but it's prone to rotting and damage from insects like termites.

Considerations

Use whatever you have on hand. Just about anything can be used to support a plant. For instance, you can stick an old bicycle wheel in the ground and let the plant climb up the wire spokes. Indoor plants can use shish kabob skewers, especially if they're quickly secured in place with a garbage bag tie or two.

Durability and Type

No matter what you use to make your trellis or plant support, make sure the material is durable enough to suit the plant. For instance, chicken wire is a better choice for plants like morning glories, which have small tendrils for vining. If you want to support a heavier plant like a corn stalk, you'll need something sturdier. If the plant is supposed to support a perennial plant, you'll want something that doesn't need to be replaced often, if at all.

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