The Q&A Archives: Pruning A Trumpet Vine

Question: I planted a young trumpet vine this year. It is on an iron type trellis. The growth has been great. I would like to train it to grow tree-like, instead of vines running all over. How do I prune this and when??

Answer: Campsis radicans is a rambunctious and large vine, so I hope you have a hefty trellis. This plant is pruned in the winter time and can be cut back as hard as desired because it blooms on new growth of the season. You may try to select just a few vines coming from the ground to serve as the trunk, removing all others as they emerge from the ground. Over time, these "keepers" will thicken. Then, cut back the stems to where you want the top of the "trunk" to be. The stems should branch out where you cut. As they grow, these end tips will reach out and cascade down and out a bit like an umbrella shape. Remember that you do not want to trim it back during the summer because this would remove the flowers for the year, although you can trim off the occasional really wild shoot. Enjoy your trumpet vine!

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