Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - September 10, 2009

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Grape Vines and spacing for Portland, OR
Answered by: Amy Johnson

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a somewhat small south-facing yard next to my home (less than 8' wide). I would like to build a tall arbor for grapes that runs along the length of my home (about 40'). How far from my home should I build the arbor so as to not have the roots cause damage to my home? Would grapes do well climbing a tall arbor? Thanks for your help! DL

ANSWER:

Yes, grapes would love to climb a tall arbor!  You would probably be very safe planting the vines 6-10 feet away from your home, and depending on the orientation of the arbor, you may want to plant the vines on the far side of it, away from the house.  You can always double check that when you purchase the grape vines for planting.  The best native grape vine for your area would be the Riverbank Grape Vitis riparia (riverbank grape) since it is native not only to your state but is cold-hardy enough for your area.  You can see a picture of this vine at this link.  The California Wild Grape Vitis californica (California wild grape) is native to your state, but more so in the southwestern area of Oregon.  It may adapt well to your area, but need a little protection from extreme cold.  You can see a picture of this vine at this link.  The Fox Grape Vitis labrusca (fox grape) is one of the most popular grape vines in North America - the famous "Concord" variety is of the Fox Grape species - though it is native to the more eastern U.S.  You can see a picture of this vine at this link.  Again, it may adapt to your area well, and is more cold hardy than the California Wild Grape, though wouldn't be as sure a bet as the Riverbank Grape.  Some good places to purchase these vines can be found at this link: National Suppliers Directory.

 

More Vines Questions

Coral Honeysuckle suitability for Central Texas Fence
September 05, 2012 - I recently purchased a house in Liberty Hill. My backyard is enclosed by an iron fence (painted). I am interested in creating a habitat for birds, so I'm thinking of planting coral honeysuckle vine...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Is there a simple way to
November 12, 2014 - Is there a relatively simple way to "guess" how old wild grapevine is?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Ohio
September 21, 2010 - I have a vine in my forest that grows up trees, that could eventually pull them over. It has roundleaves and prickers on the stem. What is this vine so I can research it?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.