The Purdue Plant and Pest Diagnostic Laboratory

P&PDL Picture of the Week for
November 12, 2007

"Pea sticks"

Rosie Lerner, Extension Consumer Horticulturist, Department of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Some garden plants need a bit of a support to keep their foliage upright and tidy in the garden.  A traditional English gardening technique is to use spring prunings from trees and shrubs as plant stakes, commonly called "pea sticks".   The natural color of the twigs blends in nicely in the garden and soon becomes invisible as the plants grow up and around them.  Hazel and birch are traditionally used for pea sticks, but most any woody species can be used.  Pea sticks aren't just for supporting peas; they are also useful for pole beans, delphinium, campanula, or even top-heavy peonies and dahlias. 

Click image to enlarge

Picture 1. You have to look closely to tell that there is a plant "cage" made of twigs in this perennial border.  

Picture 2. A closer inspection reveals the bent twigs bundled with soft twine to form an attractive Victorian cage that will soon be completely covered with sweet peas. 

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service