The Q&A Archives: Broken Wisteria Trunk

Question: Strong winds have broken my wisteria 2/3 up the trunk which is about 2" thick. It had wound its way around a metal pole so it seemed secure to me. Will it be possible to graft it so close to winter? If so can you instruct me on the procedure? This vine is 30 yrs old and I have been pruning away its suckers the past few yrs to encourage blossoming with some success.

Answer: I'm sorry about your wisteria! I have my doubts but wisteria is a tough plant and it's always worth a try. Match up the broken ends as closely as you can (like matching a chipped piece of china) and bind them together securely. Add a splint (such as a wooden clothes pin) to the outside if you have to in order to keep it together. Grafting tape would be the preferred wrap, but electrical tape seems to work also. To reduce wind stress and sup[port the vine a bit you might try attaching it to the trellis in several spots above and below the break and trim back the top to reduce the "sail" effect. Wait and see what happens next spring. If it doesn't heal, the plant should still recover very quickly because it can regrow from the undoubtedly massive root; in this case be sure to select one or two suckers and trim out the rest so it sends its energy to only one or two main replacement stems.

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