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Get your creepers under control

Lisa Garden on 30-01-2015

Get your creepers under control before they invade your house and treat them to a haircut so they're at their shapely best ready for new growth to appear in spring.

Wayward climbers can work their way into window frames, doors, guttering and roof spaces if left to grow unchecked, and need regular cutting back to keep them neat. Creepers you can prune now include ornamental vines, wisteria, ivy, Virginia creeper, Boston ivy and climbing hydrangea. They're all vigorous growers which will happily romp up your walls, giving you fine displays of flowers and often brilliant red, orange and magenta autumn colour, too.

Start by pulling out dead or damaged branches, then climb up a ladder (get someone to hold the bottom steady) to get to those hard-to-reach areas behind guttering and fascias. It's essential to keep climbers well clear, as if they work their way behind downpipes and drains they could pull them off the wall.

Trim top growth back by about a third and tie stems back in to supports at even spacings along the wires. Finally, give the plant a mulch and water to send it into spring revived and ready to go.