Age ?? Wisteria. Vote your guess !!

Discussion in 'Vines and Climbers' started by M. D. Vaden, Sep 4, 2007.

?

In your opinion, you believe the Wisteria vine is how old?

  1. 30 to 40 years old

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  2. 40 to 60 years old

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  3. 60 to 80 years old

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  4. 80 to 100 years old

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  1. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Last winter, I started to prune a Wisteria in Jacksonville, Oregon.

    It's said by some to be a 100 years old. Others say its more like 40 or 50 years old.

    The pruning was a task. The tree service that was doing it, left deadwood up to 3" in diameter, so decayed that it could be squeezed like a sponge. And no thinning. Primarily "hacking-back".

    This vine is going to take years to restore decently. Last winter was mainly cleaning deadwood, light thinning and removing big branches so new supports could be slipped into place. Today's work was more light thinning and containing the spread a little.

    Anyhow, I took a photo of the trunk area. It's not easy to tell from the photo, but the trunk is 18" in diameter where it MEETS the soil. It looks narrower, like 14" about a foot up, but if you could stand sideways, its 16 inches in diameter there too. And about two feet up from the ground, its 16" to 18" in diameter at that point.

    The canopy on the arbor is 45' east to west, and 25' north to south. That's after reducing it's spread.

    Anyhow, the historical society has no photos from behind the historic building to document the age of the vine.

    Do vines like that have growth rings where an increment boring tool could detect the age?

    Can a vine reach that size in 30 to 50 years? Seen any examples?

    Place your vote, or write your knowledge and experiences.

    Thanks.
     

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  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well there is one in Sierra Madre, California that has been growing since at least 1894. It is purported to be the largest in the world.

    http://www.sierramadrenews.net/wistaria.htm

    The main stem on that plant looks similar to the one you are pruning.
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm going on the low side, the diameter isn't that huge (looks like 12cm)
     
  4. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Isn't 12 cm close to 5"?

    16" to 18" was the actual measurement.

    It's not multiple stems in the ground. It's a single trunk that branches into several stems.

    It's an "inch" increment tape, by the way.

    I indicated in the opening post, its hard to read the measurement from the image. Because you can't see accurately from the photo.

    The largest branch of the vine is close to 12" diameter near chest level.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  5. edleigh7

    edleigh7 Well-Known Member

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    I went 60 - 80 yrs. My parents cut one down recently because it was twisting their timber framing and it was about half that size and it was 30-40 years old. That was my theory anyway...

    Ed
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Can you repost the pics with a standard scientific scale measurement, to make it easier to comprehend?
     
  7. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    I believe your vehement opposition to the Imperial system of measurement may finally confirm my suspicions that your alter ego is indeed Pineresin of another (unnamed) board.

    Perhaps this is old news to some?
     
  8. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I just use the metric converter on the internet.

    http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm

    But I can list here that the single trunk at ground level is about...

    41 centimeters in diameter.

    I don't think inches is too tough for most people. "Pixels" might throw them for a loop though.
     
  9. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    I find it difficult to judge the age of a wisteria, since it's growth depends so much on the growing conditions and the pruning practices. (Picture a 50 year old bonsai wisteria, vs an uncontrolled 20 year old tree eating specimen). If I see a really old wisteria, I figure that I am likely to be more precise by estimating the age of the structure it's associated with than to try and date it from examining the trunks.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    I am going to opt for the 80 to 100 year end. This is based on what mine has done in the last 25 years in very good growing conditions weather wise and good water. I have a suspicion it might be even older.

    Liz
     
  11. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Do we know yet how old it really is????
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Measured one at 23cm diameter at the base, at 30 years old, so I'll change to 40 to 60 years old (if the software will allow for vote changes).
     
  13. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    No idea of the age.

    No historic photos, and different ideas of age in town.

    It's referred to as the "100 year old Wisteria" most often.

    Anyway, the most important part is that a lot of people enjoy eating Italian Food under it on the patio every summer.

    Anyone ever been to the Britt Festival there? It's every year. Many people come to hear their old favorite musicians play.
     
  14. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    i vote for 50 years....
     
  15. Karalyn

    Karalyn Active Member

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    I don't know much about Wisterias, but it sure looks awesome! I guess I will have to take a trip to JacksonVille to see this monster.
     
  16. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Actually I'd been toying with that question for some time, and then Michael recently (probably inadvertently, or maybe in response to your question) signed a post here with "Resin" which settled it for me. His quick ID of a Cedrus pollen cone in a current thread here also was pretty much diagnostic, I thought :-)

    Having become quite impressed with the breadth of Michael's knowledge and with the depth of Resin's, I am just happy that they "both" participate!

    PS: I have no idea how to date that Wisteria though!
     
  17. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    That Sierra Madre site requires some navigating to find any pertinent images - whoever takes the photos is interested in people, the event, the canopy, and the floral display - all lovely, but not helpful! To spare you clicking about interminably, here are the only partial trunk photos I could find in the lot - but it appears to be mult-trunked.
    http://www.sierramadrenews.net/wistaria/2k7/images/2k7wist6762.jpg
    http://www.sierramadrenews.net/wistaria/2k7/images/2k7wist6737.jpg
    http://www.sierramadrenews.net/wistaria/2k7/images/2k7wist6763.jpg
     
  18. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    OK in on the evidence of these pics I am going to revise way down to about 40 years. Reason I notice they are growing a tree fern of the same variety I have here in natural state. Therefore I assume similar type climate. Given that my wisteria is not as wide spread (pruning to a 2 storey balcony) the main stems however are about the same thickness and mine has been going for about 25 years.

    Liz
     
  19. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I just want to clarify that the pictures I posted were from Eric's link, way upthread, and are not the plant M.D. is guessing the age of.
     
  20. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Karni, in that case back up to the original estimate :))
     
  21. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I forgot about this thread !!

    Funny part is, I was at the Italian restaurant tonight, where this Wisteria is, picking up a pizza.

    Seems I missed a golden opportunity, because I borrowed an increment borer from the Bureau of Land Management to get a core sample from a Catalpa nearby; this one:

    http://www.mdvaden.com/catalpa.shtml

    So I returned the increment borer, and never thought about the Wisteria down the street, otherwise I could have tried taking a core sample.

    At least with the vine on the Catalpa, it showed about 70 growth rings on the dead vine trunk I took off of it. That was about 6" in diameter. Totally different vine though - I think the one on the Catalpa is a trumpet vine.

    One image below is not the Wisteria. But is part of the dead vine I removed from the historic Catalpa. You can see the growth rings. One live vine remains on the Catalpa.

    For an added bonus, the image without the knife, is a very big stem of poison-oak I found crosscut where a fallen tree it was on, was cleared from the trail in the redwoods. It has about 80 rings on the 2" diameter stem. Some rings were near paper-thin toward the outside.

    Anyhow, I never really paid much attention to growth rings on vines until the past few years.
     

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  22. Michael F

    Michael F Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wisteria doesn't have good annual ring uniformity (lots of semicircular rings on just one side of the stem, etc), so it would be impossible to get an accurate count from just one core.

    Wisteria wood also has interesting patches of included parenchyma, pale purple in colour, forming part-rings in the otherwise pale yellow wood. I used to have a cut sample, but it got woodworm in the parenchyma, so I chucked it. If it hadn't, I could have posted a photo of it :-(
     
  23. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member

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    See Michael NEVER throw anything out even worm riddled Wisteria wood. Never know when you might need it. Like now. :) How many times has that happened to me and I am considered the "mother of all" pack rats.

    Liz
     
  24. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    LOL @ Smivies re: Metric/Imperial

    My sister has a wisteria on her property that we believe was planted around 1920. I've not measured it but it looks like the photos in M.D.Vaden's first post. Hollows in it's trunk have been home to generations of chipmunks.
     
  25. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps a close look at its surroundings, the history, may give a clue to its' true age?
     

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