Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bella On Wisteria Pruning

What a gorgeous Easter Sunday! My family and I were sitting outside on the deck, enjoying the sunshine when I looked up and remarked that the buds on the wisteria were amazing this year. Truly. I have been training my pink wisteria for 8 years. It is now all the way across the lattice above my deck and simply loaded with flower buds.

Bella, my crazy cat, loves to climb up on the lattice. She makes a good subject to show the flower buds of this vigorous vine in perspective. Wisterias bloom once the vine has gotten quite old. I inherited mine and it was massive to begin with. The way I learned to prune wisteria is to remove all the wild, leggy, long shoots and to cut the stems back to the main vines and major lateral branches within 2-3 internodes of the major side branches. This method forms spur wood, which is how a wisteria blooms well. Look at the picture below and you will see what I am talking about. You can see a thick, main vine and then a smaller shoot with 2-3 buds coming off of it. That's how it works.

It sounds well and good when talking about it, and if you read pruning books, the diagrams seem straightforward enough. But when you are faced with a gigantic, insane, overgrown wisteria tangle it can be quite intimidating. Remember, its the crazy, wild vegetative growth that you must take off. We're talking giant tarp loads, mountains of vines, to get down to the nitty-gritty of the main vine, the side branches, the laterals, and the spurs. 

Once you do so, you will be rewarded with amazing display of fragrant blooms, beloved by bees, that you can enjoy for a couple of glorious weeks in May. This year it might be late April. Some years its Memorial Day weekend. You just never know these days. No matter when, I will be lounging on my deck, listening the the happy bees buzzing, and inhaling the powerful perfume of this wild and crazy vine. 

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