Whether a simple, one-paneled lattice or an elaborate arbor or pergola, trellises in their many forms showcase climbing roses in gardens the world over. A successful trellis design will consider not only how the trellis will look, but also the characteristics of the rose bush as it reaches maturity, and the ability of the trellis to support it.
Climbing Roses Need Support
Designing a trellis for a climbing rose begins with considering how large the rose bush will be at maturity. Varieties such as climbing Cecile Brunner may in some climates overtake a large tree. The same rose in a climate with a shorter growing season will reach more modest proportions. Some shrub roses throw out 8- to 10-foot canes and can be grown as small climbers. Know your U.S. Department of Agriculture climate zone and the growth habits of rose bushes in your local area. A properly designed trellis will support the mature rose.
Roses Need Air and Light
A rose bush must have air circulation at all levels. This prevents disease by keeping the leaves and stems dry, and it allows the light to reach all around the rose bush. A properly placed trellis will not hamper air circulation and light exposure. Site the trellis in full sun at least a foot away from walls and solid fences. Site away from damp situations such as an area kept constantly wet by automatic watering systems.
A Simple One-Paneled Trellis
A prefabricated 4-x-8-foot panel of architectural grade lattice securely attached to fence posts set in concrete or gravel will allow for good air circulation and support. The size and setting of the posts should be determined by the expected size of the rose at maturity. This basic design can be expanded upon by adding fence posts and panels or by placing the panels either vertically or horizontally. Consider the growth habit of the rose. A rose with stiff, upright canes grows naturally upward; a rose with more flexible canes can be trained easily.
An Arbor or Pergola
An arbor or pergola trellis is a more elaborate structure and may be constructed by expanding the basic one-panel trellis design. An arbor may be built over a gate in a fence or wall or designed to shade a garden swing. An arbor will have two sides and a top for a total at least at least three panels. A pergola, designed to stroll under or to shade a patio, is more elaborate still. It will consist of any number of panels and a top. Supporting posts for arbors and pergolas must accommodate not only the roses but the entire structure, and be set accordingly. Consult a professional builder for guidance.
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