Wisteria

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Soiled, May 19, 2018.

  1. Soiled

    Soiled Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all, have a wisteria which has overgrown by a great deal, I am coming back from long-term illness. I wish to trim it but obviously do not want to damage its growth, any advice on this would be greatly appreciated thank you for your time
     
  2. Doghouse Riley

    Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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    Wisteria are pretty resilient. They're really like an attractive weed.
    You have to take charge.
    Decide which branches you wish to keep and prune off the others.

    It's a bit like a "leaky hose," the energy will be going into the parts of it nearest the roots. So it will be producing a lot of side shoots near the base. These need pruning off regularly so that the energy is forced to go to the higher parts.

    I'm constantly pruning off unwanted shoots throughout the summer.

    Then it gets its main prune down to between two and four buds. I do this between Christmas and New Year.

    You have to be ruthless, so it ends up looking like this. Branches I don't want get pruned off.

    P1010059.JPG


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    Then you get this. The blooms will appear before any foliage.


    P1010544.JPG
     
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    • Graham B

      Graham B Apprentice Gardener

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      I used to have one at a previous house. It took a couple of years to get established, and then the trouble was keeping it under control!

      Wisteria mostly flowers on the horizontal branches, so you want to encourage that. If you don't already have straining wires, get some in to help that. You don't have to have them dead horizontal - Riley's more informal pattern is really pretty - but you do want them spreading across rather than up.

      And if you want to train new growth along a straining wire, don't be afraid to bend it into the shape you want. It's pretty resilient stuff, and it trains best with end of season growth or last year's which isn't too woody yet. Do remember that it wants to wind clockwise round straining wires too.

      Edit to add... And as Riley says, don't worry too much about chopping anything which isn't going where you want. It's damn near impossible to kill, and the way it puts out new growth, you'll have new branches quick enough.
       
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      • Doghouse Riley

        Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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        One of the features of wisteria is that you always get a second showing of blooms. They are sparser and a bit straggly, but "it does its best."

        They're just coming out on this one, which I trained to grow up an old tree stump..

        P1010713.JPG
         
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        • Cedarhouse

          Cedarhouse Apprentice Gardener

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          @Doghouse Riley your wisteria is absolutely beautiful! Does it take years to get to that stage?
           
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          • Doghouse Riley

            Doghouse Riley Head Gardener

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            Thanks for the kind words.
            To be honest we've not had too much luck with wisterias.
            It's difficult to remember dates as the five we have are of various ages.

            This is one in about 2000, that we bought in the mid eighties. I grew it along the pergola I built for it on the back of the house. But unfortunately it died. It was replaced with another and that presently shares half that pergola with the branch that comes round from an old one next to the garage.

            Wisteria 2.JPG


            This one was here when we bought the house in 1972. Just growing along part of the garage wall The house was built in 1965 so I guess the first owner planted it around then. He said it didn't flower. Over the years I encouraged it and eventually trained it over a pergola next to our koi pool, both built in 1986.


            From these photos I guess taken around 1990 you can see that the white one growing up the pergola post in the foreground is very young.

            File0009.jpg

            This is the old pool pergola, built from 3" X 2"

            scan.jpg

            (Digressing). Seeing this, I've just reminded myself. We went from French windows at the back of the house to patio doors with the new extension, then back to French windows. An example of one of my wife's, "What I though was....."

            P1060504.JPG

            Unfortunately the main part of the one on the garage died three years ago. I wasn't that bothered as it had got very woody and I'd already had to build a more substantial pergola a few years before to support its increasing weight. I had to dig out all this rotted wood.

            P1060736.JPG

            But a part of it survived I'd already trained that branch you can see, years before over the top of the side fence and onto the pergola on the back of the house, that branch is doing fine.


            P1060749.JPG

            I'm training new branches from it back over the new pool pergola.
            This pergola has 4" X 4" posts and the two main beams.

            I had to make special wooden brackets to support the pergola and accommodate the garage guttering.

            P1000730.JPG

            Although I bought a white one and planted it half-way down the side garage
            last year and is doing well.

            P1010809.JPG


            The one on the fence between the tea-house and the shed is I think about 25 years old now.
            The one in the bed near the back fence about fifteen.
            It really takes that long to get them established, but you have to keep removing unwanted branches regularly if you want it to grow long.
             
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              Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
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