The Q&A Archives: How do I prune wisteria?

Question: I have a beautiful wisteria vine, but it's overgrowing its arbor. How and when should I prune it? Debbie Benner Summerdale, AL

Answer: Wisteria vine grows like a weed in Alabama. You'll have to prune it back three times each year to keep it under control and blooming, says Bray McDonald, head gardener at the Mobile Botanic Gardens. Here's what we do. In mid November, we cut back any shoots less than one inch in diameter to two or three buds, says McDonald. Wisteria blooms off spurs formed by the new growth. Using the same rule of thumb, prune the vine again in March after it finishes blooming and starts putting on new growth,and again in July, he advises. If the vine is out of control, you'll need to prune severely and you may not have many blossoms the next year. If it doesn't bloom after two to three years, try root pruning the vine by digging a trench around the plant, one foot deep and three feet out from the center, says McDonald.

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