Vines and Climbers forum: Arbor for wisteria

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Mar 29, 2015 3:54 PM CST
Does this arbor look like it would be sturdy enough for a wisteria? I have a "Blue Moon" wisteria that I bought last year and have planted out in my veg garden to overwinter, and was planning to construct an arbor for it this spring... this one, made of cedar, by Suncast, is on sale locally for $200, and is 71-1/2 in. W x 54-1/2 in. D x 91-1/4 in. H. Just wondering what you all think about it I'm all ears!

Thanks!!

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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 30, 2015 7:48 AM CST
That is a pretty one!!

If left to its' own devices, no, I don't think it would be strong enough.


But if you control its' height the first few years, letting it form a significant trunk, a support is not needed at all. There are many Wisteria trees in peoples' yards around here without any kind of support. Just keep trimming it whenever it starts to lean away, gets too tall, to remove the excess weight and force the main stems to become strong and upright. In the case of a support, leaning against it, and curling around the uprights would be fine, but I'd try to keep it from reaching the roof for the first couple years.

However, once you put a woody, perennial vine on anything, it becomes impossible to maintain (clean, paint, yada yada...) You have to be willing to donate it permanently to the vine. For that reason, I would stick to Clematis, roses, annual morning glories, something that wouldn't be devastated by being trimmed to the ground, even if that's not necessary maintenance for the plant, should the need arise to maintain the arbor. Will you need to paint it, re-seal it?


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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 30, 2015 8:07 AM CST
Thanks so much for the reply, Tiffany! Very good information there... I didn't realize I could grow it as a tree as you describe, for one thing. Do you think this thing will grow that fast ("try to keep it from reaching the roof for the first couple of years") up here in the north? That's something else I really hadn't envisioned -- but I'd be really happy if it's that vigorous! This particular arbor is made of cedar, so it shouldn't rot (at least not for a long time) and should just 'weather' to a natural gray color; I've been planning to construct something similar, although perhaps slightly wider, and would likely use cedar for that as well. I think I'll take a little ride and check this thing out in person, maybe that will help me make up my mind... and a visit to a garden center would be therapeutic, after having a couple of inches of snowfall yesterday! Thanks again for your help Thumbs up
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 30, 2015 10:09 AM CST
Happy to try to enable. ;) I lived in OH before moving to AL, but didn't grow any Wisteria. Someone up there should know! Personally, I'd love to donate a thing like that to a Wisteria...

Enjoy your therapy!
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 30, 2015 6:33 PM CST
Oh, I LOVE being enabled!

I've never seen a wisteria growing in Michigan (I was raised in lower Mich., but now live in the upper peninsula), but have recently found that wisteria is native here Confused Blinking So, I bought this 'Blue Moon' variety, which is supposed to be hardy to zone 4. Anyway, I went and checked out the arbor today and it looks pretty darn nice, so I'm going to give it a try -- but I will take your advice about letting the trunk get stronger before I let the plant grow tall (if I can contain my enthusiasm, that is), and hopefully it will work out. At this time I just hope the poor thing survived last winter, and next we'll see if it makes it through NEXT winter... (that pretty much defines my life up here, actually...). Oh well, there's always clematis to fall back on! Whistling
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
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daylilydreams
Mar 31, 2015 4:57 PM CST
Sandy give your wisteria plenty of time to leaf out they take their sweet old time. My brother here in MN has one at his place he built a sturdy arbor for it which holds the vine well. I always want to get over there when it is blooming hope I make it this year. Forgot to add his is Aunt Dee.
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[Last edited by daylilydreams - Mar 31, 2015 4:58 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Mar 31, 2015 6:01 PM CST
Thanks, Betty ! Sounds a lot like a Sunburst Locust tree that we have, which is always the very last thing to leaf out...

I've never seen a wisteria growing in Michigan that I can recall -- and yet, after doing a little research, it seems that they are actually a native plant here! Smiling

(edited to fix typo)
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[Last edited by Weedwhacker - Mar 31, 2015 8:00 PM (+)]
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Name: Betty
MN zone 4
Frogs and Toads Birds Roses Region: United States of America Peonies Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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daylilydreams
Mar 31, 2015 6:54 PM CST
That is funny we also have a Sunburst Locust tree, you are so right it is always late leafing out just like my fringe tree.

There are wisteria growing at the Minnesota Landscape Aboretum, I think they were developed for MN.
If you want to be happy for a lifetime plant a garden!
Faith is the postage stamp on our prayers!
Betty MN Zone4 AHS member

Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 1, 2015 9:54 AM CST
I seriously covet that arbor!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Apr 1, 2015 6:24 PM CST
Woofie, I did end up buying one -- couldn't resist, once I started looking for it online and saw prices for the identical thing as high as $500 !! (and I'm not even sure that would have included shipping...). We went and picked it up yesterday and as we were hauling it through the store another couple asked us where we had found it -- they didn't have any actually set up, and the day before we asked an employee if they were out of stock or what and he directed us to the location. Anyway, that woman told us that her sister has one and it's REALLY nice... so that was good to hear Smiling . I'll say this much -- the thing weighs a ton ! Can't wait now until i can get it set up!

I don't think Menards is out in your area, but I'll be happy to pick one up for you and you can take a road trip to see me and take it home Green Grin!
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Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 2, 2015 7:23 AM CST
Can't wait to see it!! Yay!!
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
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Weedwhacker
Apr 2, 2015 7:52 AM CST
If only the ground was thawed out here... Whistling
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Name: woofie
NE WA (Zone 5a)
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woofie
Apr 2, 2015 9:05 AM CST
Ha! That frozen ground is probably why it was on sale! Hilarious!
Confidence is that feeling you have right before you do something really stupid.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 2, 2015 12:20 PM CST
Awww!

...so Whistling , unless I missed something (which happens often,) the arbor has 4 main posts, and you got 1 Wisteria? I believe that leaves 3 posts that could be home to 3 other vines?
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
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chelle
Apr 2, 2015 12:58 PM CST
(Oh no! We have Menards here! Sticking tongue out )

That's a beautiful arbor, Sandy! I'd second the strong trunk advice. Also, you might consider doing a wrapped trunk first http://garden.org/blogs/entry/465/ and then once it pretty much supports itself, let trailers grow up onto the arbor. That way you could cut it back every year if/when it gets out of hand, or if you need to do maintenance on the structure.

Otherwise, I'd set the arbor in a concrete slab. It's entirely possible that it would eventually pull it off-center if not.

Wisteria can be a long-term project, so there's no need to feel that several years worth of trunk-building will be wasted time; I think most of them take that long to start producing blooms anyway.

The flower buds on ours get killed by late freezes almost every year...what a waste! But yours is a different variety so hopefully it'll set buds a bit later for you. Smiling

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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
Image
Weedwhacker
Apr 2, 2015 8:27 PM CST
woofie said:Ha! That frozen ground is probably why it was on sale! Hilarious!


Rolling on the floor laughing Ya think??
And they didn't even have one assembled for people to look at Thumbs down

Tiffany -- yes, 3 more posts, to say nothing of the potential for hanging baskets on the sides... hmmmm

Chelle -- I'm really debating as to how exactly to site this thing; we get so much heaving of our ground in the winter it's ridiculous... when I was first thinking about this project I saw a plan for a scratch-built arbor that recommended holding it down by pounding metal fence posts in by each wooden post and bolting the arbor posts to the fence posts. Regardless, I think giving the plant time to form a strong trunk is a great idea -- I can only hope it will be so vigorous as to requiring pruning to do that!! Rolling my eyes.

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