What I'm Seeing Now

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War Of The Worlds!

Don't be fooled!  This alien monster starts as a small seed or even in a small pot. 

And you plant it thinking how one day it will be beautiful, cascading, flowering delight. 

You build a pretty, but light, pergola to house your new little buddy.

But no.  Left unchecked this alien being can, and mercilessly will, take over its perch!

It will take over the world!

This humongous trumpet plant has been growing under, around and over this deck for nearly 20 years.

It is beautiful, especially when flowering, but at this point weighs hundreds of pounds.

And it is tearing up the deck!

 

It is also tearing up its support.

You can see a couple of supports toward the rear which have been removed from their original positions.

This lovely entry way light, not made for the outdoors, was moved here when a new interior light was purchased some time ago.

The way this is done is very "homeowner" in fashion, not correct and fairly dangerous.

But it has been there!

Sooner or later this plant will collapse this support!

 

 

The original columnar supports for the deck, beside which the alien was planted, have been completely eaten!

They had to be replaced, of course.

This being Virginia, Mr. Jefferson would be proud of the alien's intelligent symmetry.

Notice how both previous columns have been removed and preserved at exactly the same angle!

Parallels are hard to come by in nature!

But, with some trimming above, this alien creature might once again be the delight it was intended!

After all, with views like these it sure would be worth it!

The upper and lower decks both view into the property.  The nearest neighbor is no where near the house!

My recommendation:  keep your plants under control and away from the house!

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 51 commentsJay Markanich • July 18 2010 07:49AM

Comments

  Nature provides a beautiful canvas....sometimes it just doesn't stay between the lines.

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 8 years ago

I bought a foreclosed property in Rohnert Park, CA in the early 80s and it had an alien Wisteria vine that we battled until the day we sold the home 3 years later....we managed it and it was WORK!

Sometime I think people don't see what is before then and can't forecast the DAMAGE it can do if they don't "manage" it...my bad for "manage".

Thank you for the reminder, Jay

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 8 years ago

Sally, I think nature is a bit smarter than a three-year-old and doesn't want to stay between the lines!

Wallace - the other day on a new home I saw the builder had planted a cherry blossom at the corner of the house - it was 3 feet away from the corner!  Who thinks that is smart?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I've seen vines take over structures like this.  This is going to be a complicated job to remove.  I once had a year long struggle with a giant wisteria.

Also, don't plant English Ivy where it can grow on brick or stone work.  Sure, I know it's "charming and Old World" like, but it also creeps into the mortar and loosens bricks.  I've seen it happen.

What were they thinking?

This is a good article for "Ask the Home Inspector".  I'll add it tomorrow.  I'm working on an image of a home inspector. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Jay:

Great example!  Can't begin to imagine the number of times you come across those beautiful ivy vines growing up and into every crack and crevice, blanketing the house. . .

Did I mention those cute little bugs and spiders waltzing along the vines and into the house -- aargh.

Thanks for the gentle reminder.

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay, I see the same all over in my part of North Carolina.  The homeowners do not realize the damage which can be done.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Dale Ganfield over 8 years ago

Nature can get out of hand Jay and it's important to plant trees and even garden plants away from the home.  Yours is a real hullahbaloola!  I never saw anything like that, great picture though.  Thanks Jay.

Ann 

Posted by Ann Gravel (Pat Bennett Realty) over 8 years ago

Pruning shears can be a homeowners best friend.  But it's too late for this one!  Around here, a lot of folks like the look of English Ivy climbing up their brick homes.  But they don't realize the damage the ivy can do to the mortar -- or the whole structure itself!

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) over 8 years ago

Oh, yeah. I've seen the Trumpet Vine go under the siding of a house and into the home - not smart to plant anywhere that it goes unchecked.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 8 years ago

Jay, this things can definitely take over if they aren't kept under control. Looks nice though. Probably why the owners just let it grow.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 8 years ago

In climates like the northwest, where plants seem to grow year around, it becomes obvious when attention has not been paid to the local plant life. Something that looks just right this year is way overgrown next and out of control by the third year. No rest for the gardener.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 8 years ago

Lenn - wisteria is aggressive and must be kept in check.  It is not easy.  I have seen English ivy in basements happily growing 40' from where it was getting into the house!  And if you need a photo, I can get you one of Billy Jays...  or maybe not.  Would a regular one do?

Tish - that vine is a complete zoo full of assorted insects and arachnids!  It looks like a gun pointing at the head of the house, doesn't it!

Dale - plants can be very damaging, not just to the house, but also the foundation!

Ann - as soon as I saw it I knew a blog was coming.

Richard - I think this one will need a team of hyper-speed-premium-grade shears and gardeners!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Gregory - it is very aggressive, but this stuff is really old!  The lower deck was similarly taken over.

It's gorgeous, Michael, and a lovely place to sit.  But it is too large at this point.

Glenn - I bet gardeners your way are busy, busy people!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Plants can take on a new life of their own sometimes, knowing the plant and how they grow helps too...and of course maintenance

Posted by Jennifer Dulmaine, Seth Campbell Realty Group (Keller Williams Realty) over 8 years ago

Great post, Jay! Whenever I come across 'Nature gone wild', I always get a smile. First because I appreciate the beauty of it. Secondly because I know I will almost always find the damage caused by it. As the saying goes, "Nature will always find a way... to destroy what man creates."

 

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) over 8 years ago

Jay, great post and a wonderful reminder of what can happen when nature takes over...

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 8 years ago

Jen - maintenance is the key, not only to plants but everything else.

Jeff - I have been in the jungles of Mexico and seen pyramids totally covered with plants!

Andrea - thanks, and nature can be controlled, however time is the key!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Wow, I had no idea gardening could be so dangerous to my house. I'm going to go check my plants now to make sure none of them are out of line...

Posted by Dan Fritz (Prudential Fox and Roach - Turnersville) over 8 years ago

Good idea Dan!  The aliens are coming...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

I keep thinking that Swamp Thing is going to be in the picture too.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 8 years ago

Jay, isn't that a flying buttress?  Like on the great cathedrals?

Posted by Charles Buell, Seattle Home Inspector (Charles Buell Inspections Inc.) over 8 years ago

[quote=jaymarkanich]that vine is a complete zoo full of assorted insects and arachnids![/quote]

And let's not forget that it serves as a 'raceway' for rodents and pests such as mice, squirrels, raccoons, birds, bats... carrying a vast array of diseases such as Hantavirus and Rabies. Yes, there are other ways for these pests to gain access to the home, but they all prefer 'natural ladders'.  

 

Posted by Jeffrey Jonas- Minnesota Home Inspector (Critical Eye Property Inspections / JRJ Consultants) over 8 years ago

Joe - the little occupant of yesterday's post about the granite entry way is just on the other side of that AC unit.

Charlie - that or a plant pistol pointing at the head of the house!

Jeff - to quote Curly Howard, "Sointanly!"

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,  Is the deck supporting the vine or is the vine supporting the deck !?!?

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 8 years ago

Looks like it's eating the deck alive, doesn't it Bill!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay * They look so SMALL in the 5gal pot at the nursery!!! I "called the shot on your post"  !!!

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) over 8 years ago

Wow, thanks Wallace!  You da man, um, PM Chick!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

You would think that the homeowners would have noticed it before it became such a monster!  I guess it is sort of like the classic image of the frog in a pot of cold water that gets put on the stove.   They don't notice as it gets bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach (GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881) over 8 years ago

That first picture is hilarious. It looks like the tentacle coming out of the water in Pirates of the Caribbean and going into the ship.

Here in the midwest we would love to have climbing greenery that got that big. But I guess you're right, it could hurt a structure.

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 8 years ago

Jay,

Fun post, We love wisteria and other plants like it.  Perhaps, it is all in the art of trimming.  I have watched pros trim ruthlessly, and then have an orderly look.  LOL

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 8 years ago

Jay great post. Sometimes I think we all get caught in the moment of "how lovely"  . . . only to find later on that we should have taken the long thought! I have a "cute" little tree in front of my house. Someone pointed out recently that I better cut it down because it's going to wreak havoc with my foundation in about 10 years. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by Speed Equity® Mortgage Acceleration System, We help your clients Own Their Homes Years Sooner (Speed Equity®) over 8 years ago

Wow! It looks like it's looking for a way in!

Posted by Leslie Prest, Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson, (Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ) over 8 years ago

Jay, I can relate.  In Florida in summer, everything grows so fast and left alone, the whole state would turn into a jungle.

Posted by LLoyd Nichols, SW Florida Homes (Premier Florida Realty of SWFL) over 8 years ago

When we purchased our current home two years ago, the previous owner had a vine growing on anything that would support it.  The backyard became a jungle when summer approached, and I spent hours upon hours cutting away excessive vine.  Then Hurricane Ike came along and pruned it all for me.

Now that native plantings are a popular gardening approach, we try to stick with what's supposed to be here and prune as necessary.

Posted by Kate McQueen, Tailored service for your real estate needs! (CB&A Realtors) over 8 years ago

mother nature has a way of taking over when left unchecked!  it seems like it happens overnight sometimes, the little bushes you plant near the home become monsters overnight.

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) over 8 years ago

Good observations.  One of our problematic "natural growths" would be the blackberrys.  DELICIOUS as they are, they are considered 'noxious' here.  Birds eat them, and deposit the seeds hither and yon.  When they grow they take over everything. 

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 8 years ago

I always hear home inspectors talk about keeping plants at least a foot away from the home or any structures to not invite bugs.  Never thought of the weight of something like this.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 8 years ago

There a tinge of humor here.  Nature has a sense of humor and can be relentless.  Thanks.

Posted by Frank Castaldini, Realtor - Homes for Sale in San Francisco (Compass) over 8 years ago

Like the other comments here, I've seen similar vines take over structures but this is like "Day of the Triffids" Wow!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I think it would help if people looked at pictures of the mature plant or tree before they purchased and bought the plant.  The pretty little vine in the five gallon bucket can become the monster you illustrate.  And, trees planted too close together will not thrive and will end up being culled in the future.

Posted by Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin, C2 Financial (C2 Financial) over 8 years ago

I think it would help if people looked at pictures of the mature plant or tree before they purchased and bought the plant.  The pretty little vine in the five gallon bucket can become the monster you illustrate.  And, trees planted too close together will not thrive and will end up being culled in the future.

Posted by Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin, C2 Financial (C2 Financial) over 8 years ago

I think it would help if people looked at pictures of the mature plant or tree before they purchased and bought the plant.  The pretty little vine in the five gallon bucket can become the monster you illustrate.  And, trees planted too close together will not thrive and will end up being culled in the future.

Posted by Deborah "Dee Dee" Garvin, C2 Financial (C2 Financial) over 8 years ago

Hi Jay,

I never heard of this plant, but maybe I just wasn't paying attention when I lived in NY, MI, CA, WA, OR, TX, WI & FL...  Nature has a funny way of taking over to help itself...  I saw that when I went to Mt St. Helens after the 1980 eruption...  We had gone there 10 years after the eruption and even where the volcano had basically "destroyed" everything in its sight, there were trees, vines & plants growing back where the gray ash had taken over...  Nature does take care of itself!!! ;>)))

Posted by Ann-Marie Clements, M.S. Ed., Innovative Proactive Principal (Dubai International School, UAE) over 8 years ago

Kathryn - things in life have a tendency to slide along.  I'll get to it...

Leslie - or like a pistol or hand drill!  It appears to really be attacking!

R&A - trimming helps it to grow more full.  This plant certainly was full!

Harj - the cutsie trees eventually become big ones!  And you are right, they do damage.

Leslie P. - it actually was getting under the siding members.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Lloyd - I bet the gardeners there are very busy people!

Kate - sensible is as sensible does!

Robert - everything grows!  Like the jungles taking over Mayan pyramids.

Carla - I have heard they are very easy to grow!

Chris Ann - all that is true.  And I have never seen something take over like this - it is a very heavy plant!

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Frank - the title gave you that hint, didn't it!?

Russell - it is possible my picture did not do it justice.  It was huge!

Deborah - they were obviously trying to train it to climb the deck.  It worked!

Ann-Marie - you just can't stay still, can you?!  We humans could not destroy the world if we tried.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

Jay, I hate it when folks just let their plants grow like this. I have seen vegetation do thousands of dollars worth of damage to a structure. Good post!

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 8 years ago

Michael - things get bigger and then the war begins!  Two worlds, for sure.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

The secret: trim back and trim often. We have a hibiscus bush that would have taken over half of our yard by now if we didn't prune it regularly - and almost to the ground. Love the analogy!

I love English ivy or any vine climbing on a building, but my mother told me when I was young the dangers of it. In Florida, we see creeping fig climbing on walls and buildings, but I don't think it has the same intense roots. Will have to check on that.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 8 years ago

Oh!  But, Jay!  Wysteria is so pretty!  I have to have a bunch of ivy removed from my garage.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Sharon - regular pruning is quite a job, and I bet especially in Florida!  As to your vine, even if the roots are not deep, plants hold moisture against a house and can introduce insects.  I would beware...

Pat - not only pretty, but a beautiful aroma!  I love the smell, but not the bees.  But trim away!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 8 years ago

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