A: Covering chain-link isn’t easy. Different vines have different methods of climbing. Some lasso the support with twining tips, like morning glories. Others, like peas, have tendrils that wrap tightly around wire, string or trellising. Clematis climb by wrapping the leaf stem (petiole) around a thin support.
Woody vines usually attach themselves to a surface with little rootlets and sticky pads, such as ivy, woodbine and climbing hydrangea. Woody plants similar to that need a flat surface like masonry or wood to climb, so those are out for a chain-link fence. Vines that wrap by tendril make poor candidates, too, because they wrap around themselves instead of fanning out and offering coverage. Massive vines such as sweet autumn clematis, grapes and kiwi will provide the best coverage, by hanging in great mats.
All of these would be brown in winter. I think that I would plant shrubbery, either evergreen or privet type, to get a more permanent and satisfactory result. Maintaining a vine on chain-link is a lot of work. Also, if you plant inside the fence, instead of on it, that eliminates any ownership concerns.
Q: My beautiful, 3-year-old clematis with many buds dried up and died a couple weeks ago! I understand this happens. I have cut it down to the base. Will it grow back? If not, is it safe to plant another clematis in the same spot? — Janice
A: It happens more frequently to those with large flowers. The smaller flowered types, even Jackmanii, seem less susceptible to clematis wilt. It might grow back, depending upon how deeply you planted it. If the…