Here’s an easy way to tie up plants in your yard and garden.
A few days ago I was walking through the hardware store when this stuff caught my eye.
It’s called Soft Wire Tire and basically, it’s rubber coated wire.
You can use it to tie up your plants without damaging them because it’s very soft on the outside, and the rubber coating is thick, making the wire tie almost a quarter inch wide.
This also helps to protect the plant much better than a thin string or wire.
Here in the nursery, we do all kinds of things with plants that mean we have to tie them up and at the same time not damage the bark or stem of the plant.
This Soft Wire Tie would be great for tomatoes since tomatoes are almost all soft tissue and can be damaged or broken easily.
If you’re like me and like Training Beautiful Flowering Shrubs into Single Stem Trees, this stuff is also good for that.
It makes the job so much easier!
You know that I am crazy about the Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree.
The one that I have in my front yard is spectacular and I have hundreds of them in the nursery that we are training.
These are really beautiful and interesting trees, but it takes some effort to teach them how to be a tree.
As a matter of fact, I made a movie of the process!
This plant tying wire is called Rapiclip Soft Wire Tire and it’s distributed by Luster Leaf Products, Inc., in Woodstock, IL.
I found it at my local True Value Hardware store so I’m hoping that it’s readily available in your area as well.
What I like about this stuff is that it’s soft and pliable, when you bend it it stays put like Gumby.
Remember Gumby? The rubber kids toy that you bend into shapes?
This stuff is just like that so it stays on the spool and doesn’t get all tangled up in the garage or tool shed, it’s easy to cut with a small pair of wire cuttings or garden shears.
Probably not good to cut it with your good pruning shears because the wire will dull the blade, but if you have an old pair that would be perfect.
Is this kind of information useful to you? Tell me with a comment below.
Fred Dempster says
Maybe you can help me search… I have some old bushes that are top-heavy, and thus the limbs are spreading out … I’d like to tie them to see if I can continue to nurture back to health… not sure if just a jute or something else.
We’ve a big/tall spruce tree, and years ago, they used a heavy jute type rope about 6′ up to keep it stable … has worked great … grown better, no apparent damage.
Looking for best solution and product…. Thanks
Jute should be fine.
Margie Holm says
I love this tie product as well!
It does not harm tender vines and works very well to help train my clematis. I fasten it securely to the trellis and then form a loop for the vine. It will last for years and years. Mine has been in use for two years with no obvious changes other than a slight change in the color. I used it for tomatoes. I left the Soft Wire Tie on the tomato cages after removing the tomato vine, and stored it in the shed with the Tie stilled attached.
Hilary Turner says
I agree with the thoughts about using biodegradable twine whenever possible, However, there are times when this long-lasting flexible wire is called for – I just stumbled over some yesterday at Dollar Store! $1 for 16.5 ft.
grocery store plastic bag, cut into strips, i love doing this especially w the ones w holes in bottom so i can recycle them all over again and once the season is over, garbage, but that one bag has been reused for 4 plants or more minimum,, nothing beats free, and nothing beats recycle, and its a good way to use old shopping bags w holes in them, they hold up the plants and last till fall, by then the sun has usually shredded them and burnt them,,i garden in an appartment, i also have a coposter home made, and ive got black gold, im sooo thrilled w this discovery ! love you Mike, god bless
Thanks Angel, I appreciate it.
This stuff could be very useful for connecting, repairing and toeing down fencing to bottom wire. Especially useful preventing opening at bottom of fencing. Also could use to secure signs and other things to chain linked fence.. People also use these wire to tie electrical cords down together. Great tip Mike Keep them coming brother .
You’re welcome Scott.
Marge Every says
I have been using this to tie up my plants for three years now and I love it too Mike! It isn’t available locally in my neck of woods but is available online. I reuse it every year so have only had to buy it once.
Brenda Mowdy says
Never used anything for ties but old rags. Going to be looking for some of this soon!
Mike, great tip Im going to train my Harry lauders walking stick to grow upright. This should be just what I need to tie it to a stake. Thanks for your great advice, you keep it simple and easy to understand. I just read your book on propagation, it was great! I feel like i can grow anything now .
It turns blue in a year in the sun.
I appreciate getting advice on new products. Thanks.
I have been considering your backyard growing system for a while now. I hesitate because we have deer wandering through our yard and they do sometimes eat my plants. Today when I went out to feed my chickens there were two deer standing close to my front door. Love the wild life, but….. Any ideas?
Pretty much everybody that grows plants has to deal with some deer issues. But you can’t let that hold you back on doing something that truly want to do. Even if the deer did some damage, seldom is it permanent and there are so many ways to protect plants in a small area from deer. I’ve got deer all over my nursery. It’s just part of what I do. But I can make plants a lot faster than the deer can get to them so I come way out ahead. -Mike McGroarty http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm
Thanks for all the great information.I don’t get around to responding to often,as you have probably noticed.The piece on the Mantis was great.I have a little experience with the Mantis,I owned one for about 5 years.It disappeared last year.It was stored behind my riding mower,between my chainsaw and my weedeater[I still have them].Maybe I bragged too many times about it.
Sorry to hear that somebody grabbed your Mantis. They certainly are easy to pick up and walk away with. I guess that’s the downside.
Sandy in FL panhandle says
Mike, I always get that “OH GOODIE!” feeling of anticipation when I see your name in my email. This new (to me) flexible tie product looks and sounds great. I recycle a LOT of things. A ladies’ long gown or slip to cut into a continuous round and around strip. Roll that strip into a ball and then cut as needed. Those discarded LONG phone cords have many garden uses. I am working on a plan to make a trellis using TV cable wire. I have some incredible uses for vinyl siding products. Flower pot surrounds, plant markers, etc,. If there is a blog on your site, Mike, I’d love to share more ideas and instructions for making many things. Does a half of a post hole digger get any ideas? Thanks, Mike, for all the wonderful information you share.
Right now about the only place we have that you can share ideas is here on this blog in the comments section. We need to think about that.
If I ever get to an altitude where things like to grow … In the meantime I’m enjoying and bookmarking your essays, publications, etc. thanks
I like to hear from you too! I always use your helpful hints. And as for the Japanese Maple, well my son has a weeping Japanese Maple in his back yard and I am taking samples to grow now, using your tips of course…Thanks..
Bill Wilson says
Mike please keep up the tips and information flow. I am still trying to make the breakthrough in to full time plant propagation.
Esther Ammon says
Mike. I just wanted to say “thank you” for all your encouragement. I haven’t started in my backyard gardening, yet. I am renting right now, but looking forward to this Summer when I can have my own yard.
Can’t wait to start, so I started with some house plants. <3
I love to get my hands in dirt!!
Love all your tips and your "down to Earth" advise. (pun intended)
Esther, good for you! Believe in your dream! -Mike McGroarty
i’ve used wide sewing elastic for delicate plants, it comes in different wideths and can be cut to any length. i’ve not used this on large heavy plants but the young tender plants do well with it,if can be bought in a roll or in any desired length. it expands with the growth so it’s not necessary to redo as the plant grows
Nancy Taylor says
Sound like great stuff. I don’t know how but i always find your newsletter in my junk box…I need you bck in my in box…what address do i use for that? Thanks Mike
Nancy, you can white list my from Email address which is [email protected], but in this day and age you really need to check your junk mail box just like you do your regular in box. Lots of important Emails will end up in junk folder if just a few words appear in the Email that trigger the spam filters. Try marking the Emails as “not junk” and see if that helps.
Sherry carpenter says
Ditto ditto ditto 🙂
Debbie B says
Thank you for so many useful tips and videos. I have learned so much from you. For our tomatoes I have used torn up stips of t-shirts to hold the plants but I will definitely be making a trip to the hardware store to see if I can find some of this. Thanks again!
You can find this product at Lowe’s Home Improvement where I work. a couple of years ago we had a Hurricane off the coast of NC that knocked all of my young Rose of Sharons over. I stuck in a pole and tied them with this stuff. Works great, you can easily cut it to any length you need and it does not damage the plant at all.
How about a day-by-day plan for flowers, veggies , landscaping, and licking back to relax, listen to music, and read!!
Nels Boe says
We have True Value hardware in our town. I bet this new rubber coated wire is available in our local True Value.
No need to contaminate the enriorment with this wire. In the fall when the plants are done. put the pieces you used on the plants in the garden shed or garage and use them next year!!!! I used the wire hoops last summer. The tomatoe vines were four feet longer than the wire hoop. This year I will add some wood poles next to the wire hoops so tomatoes can cling to those poles. Some of that rubber wire or old cloth in strips will tie the vines to those poles.
Charles Buddy Haddon says
Mike, you are one in a thousand !! Thank you, thank you for the wonderful and constructive tips you so lavishly give away.
God continue to bless you and yours. Merry Christmas
to all. .
I use my knee highs (that have runners or holes) to tie all kinds of things. I don’t even knot them. I tie them in a bow and the nylons stay together. And they stretch! Tomatoes, vegetables, tarps, plants, etc.
I recycle my old pantyhose for tying plants of all types. Already paid for & less waste. 🙂
Thanks Mike…love all your tips. Will be looking for it soon. Keep the tips coming…
D. K. says
I also use it in my boat to tie down my fishing rods and paddles to keep them from blowing out. Real handy stuff.
By the way. It is good to be responsible re:environment. I’m sure we all can decide the proper thing to do here regarding disposal.
Mom passed down the habit of tearing up old sheets or pillow cases [even Tee shirts but they tend to stretch] into 1″ wide strips to use for tying up tomato plants. I tie around the entire branch and back to the stake. Mom ties one end around the stem of the branch and the other around the stake or tomato cage. Either way works.
I grow my cucumbers on upright poles and the crop has been way more prolific than when they grew on the ground. I would think growing squash on a trellis would be difficult since they don’t ‘vine’ like cukes.
Sir Long John Hairy E. B. III says
Mike, I wouldn’t be concerned about the enviro impact as this material is undoubtedly constructed from recycled tires or such. I have no doubt that it can be recycled numerous times. The plus side to it is the support it gives to tender shoots that twine, etc. doesn’t because of their small diameter and limp profile. Keep the good stuff rollin our way
This is better than the tape I use. I’m switching. It is obvious to me that this will provide training across a wider spectrum of plants,due to it’s composition. Thank you, Mike.
clyde w holmes says
mike never seen it here in bama i never need it mike am
not abel to garden wish i have learned a lot from your
tips keep up the god news mike i know these gardening can get a lot from your news an tips i know i could if i was
abel to garden thanks mmike
I am glad you posted this; can’t wait to get to my True Value Hardware Store to get some.
I hate trying to tie up my tomatoes, and roses with those old pantyhose.
Mike enjoy all the products you put on your site. I will look for the rubber tire ties. Thanks
Nick Lang says
How’s the price of this match up with a regular ball of twine that I have been using for years on my tomatoes? Twine seems more environmentally friendly as well. Doubt this stuff will be breaking down anytime soon…..
I was going to say the same thing… this stuff isn’t biodegradable… plastic made from non-renewable oil… Short-term convenience at long-term environmental cost. Plain old twine rots away before it can damage trees and just becomes soil building compost – instead of toxic waste. Gardeners shouldn’t be polluting the Earth… we all have responsibility towards future generations! Every decision should be considerate of the seventh generation to come… our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren!
fred shoup says
one advantage is that some of us old people can Handel tieing little strings, what with our arthritic hands. we can use warp like this, and we can used them forever like you said they last and dont rot on the plant they cut .
fred shouop says
can not tie them litte strings
I agree, I love a ball of biodegradable twine for a lot of projects in the nursery, but often times, when training plants the twine won’t hold up long enough to do the job. For some things it’s great.
Like Grace, I’ve been using old nylon stockings. Knee Hi’s are usually about the best ’cause you don’t even have to cut them to size — and they’re free. They’re also wide if you spread them out flat to wrap around stems, and at the end of the season, you just cut them off (or break the stems)and put them in the trash — nothing like recycling!
Mike I recommend Flexitie especially for roses that are lax and heavy with blooms and need support or to tie on a trellis. Found this in England in 2005 and can buy on the internet from http://www.Kinsmangarden.com.
The name is Flexitie and it dark brown and about 1/8 inch thick and hollow like spaghetti. It stretches some as well and is darn near invisible on shrub or climbing roses. The price has gone up some ($4) to 19.95 but there’s 112 feet in a roll and it is very reusable. Just thought I’d let everyone know about this wonderful stuff. I always read your emails and watch your videos – started reading to help out a friend who needed to make money!
The heck with spending money on something when hay twine is available. It is big and soft, and won’t harm the plants as long as you don’t strangle them. Ask anyone who feeds hay to their animals if you can have some. They usually just throw the stuff away. The hay twine lasts forever it seems and is handy for all sorts of things in the garden or elsewhere. It is also good for making braided rugs, belts, and other crafting projects.
Julie Richards says
I really love this product. I also think it would be great for trellis gardens.
Catherine Lewis says
Oh I liked u for FB below but I meant ‘also’ Twitter lol sorry Mike!
Catherine Lewis says
Can this stuff be bought ONLINE? I dont drive but would LOVE some! Also HOW do I put u on my Facebook page? Do you have a widgit or some way to ‘like’ u on FB and Twitter?
I would LOVE to grow things, as I was always told that I have a green thumb but I cant afford the Kit you sell.
Great Idea today, I want u 2 know I also forward your emails to friends and today God used you for an idea I have on making dolls! Thank you so much!
Katee (Catherine Lewis, TX)
Catherine, you can just hit the like button on this page for facebook. But I don’t spend a lot of time there. I spend more time here and writing my newsletter.
Catherine, I’m sure you can find it online, just google the name of the product. Thanks for sharing me with your friends!
Thanks for this tip. I will look for it. I have been using old nylon stockings for this. the soft rubber tie sounds like it would be less trouble. I will look for it. thanks again.
Wiley Rutledge says
Great stuff, I’ve used it for several things and its the easiest thing I’ve found for quick and secure. A cheap or old pair of cutter pliers can be wrapped in the end of it and you’ve always got something to clip it with.
Virgil Twigg says
Thanks for the heads up.
Looks like a good idea..
I will certainly try it…
Yes! Keep letting us know about the treasures you find out there to help with gardening. I never miss a chance to pass on a new discovery. I’ll keep my eye out for this product. Sounds like just what I need.
Sandy Trank says
Thank you so much for the tip Mike. I’ve been ripping old towels into strips and this is so much better!
Will the Lavendar Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree survive and thrive in central California’s San Joaquin Valley? If so, where would I aquire the tree?
the Lavender Twist is really happy in zones 5 through 8. It might work in zone 4, I’m not sure. Anything warmer than zone 8 I’m not sure about either. Wish I could be of more help.
Kriss Gross says
Penny, contact your local nature conservation society, they should be able to tell you if this tree can thrive in your area. If they don’t know either, they could definitely point you in the right direction.
I love the Lavendar Twist, Weeping Redbud Tree. Can you tell me if it will do well in the San Joaquin Valley in central California? And if it well, where do I aquire one? Thanks, love your newsletter. I’m always learning something new.
Penny, you’ll have to call around and see if you can find one locally. Or check with any of our members. Many of them have some in stock. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/category/backyard-nurseries/
Sarah Rodriguez says
Thanks for the info Mike . I will be looking for this soft wire on my next gardening trip . Great idea !
Trucine Weige says
I’ll be checking out the Dollar Tree today and see if they have it in’ Thanks
IMO, it’s better! Both are reusable, but this product can be better used to tie things up without worrying about tying too tight or leaving too much slack/room at the tie area. For instsnce: Less abrasive when tying tomatoes off to old rusty wire cages
I have been using coated wire for years, First bought it in TN. 25yrs ago,
Jann Keith says
Love this stuff. Use it on tomato and raspberry plants. Works great on everything in between as well.
Is this better than Velcro ties?
This is awesome stuff! I am actually using it to keep the gate on my chicken coop closed as the wood swelled when it got wet and I can’t close it yet. Has been holding good all winter, it’s pliable even in sub zero temps. Can’t wait for spring to use it in the garden!
I knew of this product, I always use yarn… my wife has tons of scrap bundles and it hold really good, you have to be gentle but it’s very cheap(free)
I’m sure I’ll get to use the rubber wire some day again
Very excited to try these! Thanks for all your wonderful posts which are now turning up on facebook and other garden sites- You help me stay inspired!
I’ve used this, too. It works great.
This Soft Wire Tie is still being used by me after purchasing the product over 12 years ago.
I use it to tie my growing tomato plants to a stake.
Me too, I use it for my cucumbers on the trellis. Also the velcro plant tape is great stuff too!
Duane L. says
Looks like a good product. I have Peonies that always fall over Have tried different methods to keep them upright …will give this a try ..
Donna lee says
Bless you Mike! Thanks,this is a very needed item for every gardener !!
Lenora Kirby says
Mike, I appreciate your help,
Libet Sparks says
My next trip to Home Depot , I will add this to my list . Thanks Mike !
Nice! This will come in handy for other things, too! Thanks, Mike!
great stuff you can find it at the Dollar Tree stores every year in their spring planting section. I’m not waiting for spring to grow stuff I got a cold frame set up in a raised bed and planted with cool season crops already. And tied to a stake with that soft tie wire to keep it from blowing away in a bad storm.
keep up the good work. Appreciate you.
Libet Sparks says
I will definately check the Dollar Tree for this great product . Thanks Teresa
You’ve found another very useful product! Thank you for all of the time you spend helping us with gardening hints and inspiration.
I will definitely check this out as I plan doing square foot gardening so I will have a lot of plants to tie
Sure appreciate any help like this you give us. Thank you soooo much.
I’ve used this product and LOVE it.
Peg B says
I’m going to look for some of this! I’ve been tying my tomatoes up with knitting yarn. This looks much better than yarn and probably will hold better. Thanks for finding this!
Sandy Trank says
Yes! I will too because I am going to grow my squash and pumpkins this year on a trellis. It saves space, keeps them from getting too wet, keeps them out of reach for bunnies and limits the bending for harvest. This will be my first trellis experiment so I hope it works as well as I’ve read.
Bobbie Jones says
I saw some of that in the store and was curious about it but now that you said you like it I will pick some up.
Thanks for your tips and videos because they are always interesting and helpful.
Great little item and will be very useful. I’m heading to the hardware store now! Thanks for all the great info to make gardening easier. I appreciate it.
Jedd Craig says
I really appreciate the tips, suggestions and product reviews, thank you Mike you have become like a friend I look forward to hearing from.
I am still considering your program after going through some major changes in lifestyle over the last few years this seems like something that may work for me.
Jedd, keep in mind, making the decision to grow and sell plants can be pretty simple. You don’t have to make a big commitment, just have fun and make some baby plants. You’ll make others happy. -Mike McGroarty http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm