Now Is The Time To Consider Pruning Your Wisteria

Last weekend I was visiting my brother and he told me he was going to prune his wisteria, so I thought I would help him out and see what it entails.  Pruning is the process of trimming a plant to promote healthy growth. Wisteria grows at a very fast rate, up to 20 feet in a single season! They need a lot of room, so it’s important to prune your Wisteria to train the plant and help it maintain an attractive shape.  

Wisterias have two main types of branches: strong, woody ones and delicate, flexible ones. Pruning gets rid of the weaker branches so that more light and water can get to the plant. Here are some reasons to prune your Wisteria:

  • To prevent the plant from getting too large.  This keeps the plant size manageable and prevents the plant from taking over. 
  • Increasing air circulation within the plant helps maintain healthy leaves and prevent fungus and other diseases.
  • Removing diseased or dying branches, which will protect the plant and prevent it from becoming infected

Pruning wisteria is not difficult. There are two main tools you need to get started - a pair of lopping shears and a pole saw, or my brother uses a hedge trimmer too.  A pole saw is much more difficult than lopping shears, but it can be used in certain circumstances when lopping shears are not enough. For example, if the tree has branches that are higher than your reach, or if you want to prune the tree without standing on a ladder.

Pruning your wisteria plants can be done in many ways, but it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Don't prune when the plant is wet or when the weather is excessively cold.
  • When deciding which branches to cut, make sure to choose ones that are dead, diseased, or crossed with another branch.
  • Never cut off more than one-third of the total length of any branch at a time because this will lead to weak growth in future years.

While pruning a Wisteria in the late summer can be necessary due to aggressive growth, the ideal time to prune it is in the late winter.  During this time the plant is dormant, and you will be able to see the branches clean up any tangled stems.  At this time, you can also determine if any support you are using, such as an arch or wall needs maintenance.  It is easier to do any repairs when there are no leaves or flowers in the way.   Wisteria produces flowers on new growth, so pruning is needed so new flower buds can form.

Let us know if you have any tips for pruning your wisteria!

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