Disguising A Utility Pole

Although there are quite a few communities that do not have utility poles, I still think of them as a common issue (and challenge) in the landscape.

Utility companies are not being design conscious when they place them – they can’t be.  It’s a matter of support for their wires and they can’t be thinking about how their pole fits aesthetically into the landscape.

Here’s one strategy I’ve used quite a few times.

Climbing Hydrangea, although deciduous, works wonders as a vigorous climbing plant that in a relatively short time will wrap around the pole with lush, glossy green foliage.  As a bonus it will also flower in early summer.

At the top is a recent project currently underway with the woody plant installations – additional perennials and groundcovers will follow.

While trying to blend the landscaped property with the neighboring woodland, we have this utility pole smack dab in the mix.  It’s kind of a blatant statement of civilization.

So at the pole’s base we plant a young climbing plant (Hydrangea petiolaris, 5 gal. install size).

I was anxious to show you what the effect will be and remembered this other design of mine.

This climbing hydrangea has been planted by this pole for about 3 years now.  It is pruned every year just to keep it trained on the pole itself and not to grow much beyond the height you see.

Earlier I mentioned how vigorous a grower this is – and I’m not kidding.

It would eventually grow right up the entire pole, but with a little attention you can keep it in check.

I think this climbing plant does a great job of camouflaging the pole without taking up too much space at its base.

This plant happens to be a favorite of mine and I’ll continue to show you why in future posts.

  • David
    8:18 AM, 4 May 2012

    Climbing hydrangea is lovely, and vigorous, but in my experience, it takes 8-10 years to get established. Once established, it took off, but it sat in my garden for years before it did anything. Any thoughts?

    • Roger
      9:18 AM, 4 May 2012

      Hi David,
      I’ve noticed consistently that climbing hydrangea takes 2…maybe 3 years to really establish and start growing vigorously. It’s interesting that yours took so long, especially since it is now doing well.

      Honestly, it could be so many things that caused this, right down to the peculiarities of this particular plant. Perhaps if I was on the property I’d have some ideas. The history of the plant in terms of the weather, maintenance tasks & schedule , irrigation, etc. could all be considered.

      In the name of science and experimentation 🙂 why don’t you buy a small one (1 gal. size) and try it in another location in your yard? It would be interesting to see if you had a similar experience.

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