Keeping plants secure

Amateur Gardening|July 04, 2020

Keeping plants secure
Tim Rumball looks at plant ties and the best ways to use them
Tim Rumball

THERE’S a good basic principle to follow when using plant ties: never tie living plant material tightly. It should be secure, of course, so first your tie should be fastened tightly to the supporting cane or framework, and then loosely around the living stem you’re supporting. As the plant grows its stems thicken, and a tight tie will literally strangle it.

Two types of ties

A range of materials is used to make plant ties, some better suited to particular jobs. Some designs can be useful for particular projects, or to speed up the process of tying-in lots of stems.

Ties fall into two categories: those made from organic material that decomposes over the course of about a year; and those made from inorganic material that will last for several or many years. Organic materials include garden twine (made from jute) and raffia. Inorganic materials include flexible metal wire and plastic. The exception is rubber – often used for tree ties – which is organic, but can last many years.

Metal wire, plastic-coated or not, can be a risky material to tie plants with. It’s ideal for stretching across fence panels or walls to make plant supports or tying canes together to make wigwams and the like, but it is thin, so it can cut, and it has no ‘give’ once twisted around a stem.

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July 04, 2020