The Q&A Archives: wisteria: can it be saved?

Question: I recently bought a house with wisteria growing in the backyard. The realtor for the year the house was on the market chopped it a away with a weed eater. I guess it is at around 10yrs old. In the last 2 years about 8-10 vines sprang from the stump the realtor left, which was about 6-8 inches in diameter with 3 large roots steming in different directions. This spring I was able to train the vines around a trellis that was about 10ft high. It was a tripod trellis and the wisteria wrap around 1 entire leg and down about half way on the other 2. Hurricane gustave trampled the metal trellis it was on. How low can I cut it down and still have it come back? and Can it be transplanted, if so how?

Answer: I'm not sure you would be successful in digging and transplanting a wisteria that has been in the ground for 10 years. The root system will be quite extensive and I'm afraid the stress of having roots severed during the digging process might overwhelm the plant. Rather than try to transplant the original plant, why not propagate it through a process called layering? This way you will have one to several new plants and can place them wherever you want in the garden. Layering is simple but time consuming. Here's how:

Step 1: Choose flexible young shoots on the outside of the plant near to ground level - or that can be bent to ground level. If none are available prune to encourage new shoots for the following year.

Step 2: In either autumn or spring (evergreens are better in spring) make a 1-2in incision through a leaf node approximately 12in from the shoot tip and wedge it open with a toothpick; wounding encourages roots to form. Applying hormone rooting powder to the cut may help.

Step 3: Make a shallow trench, 4-6in deep and peg the wounded section into the bottom, using metal pins.

Step 4: Secure the stem tip above ground by tying to a vertical stake.

Step 5: Back fill the trench with soil and firm. Water in.

Step 6: A decent root system should develop in 12 months. Lift, sever and transplant the layers to their final positions.

Hope this information helps!

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