Wire harming Wisteria?

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Daniel Mosquin, Aug 26, 2002.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The following was received via email:

    I am questioning our method of using wire to support the trunks of our wisterias. Could the wire be harming them? Here are the situations:

    A wisteria sinensis in place since 1996 twined up wire to reach a supporting arbour. It has always flowered beautifully, and the leaves look good. However, it is very small for its age, and for the last 2 years the new growth shoots have died. (If the wire isn't the problem, I suspect that the poorly drained soil could be.)

    We lost a wisteria on the front of the house, also trained up wire to a pergola. A clematis armandii overran it, but I am wondering if that would have been the likely cause of death.

    Inspired by the Asian garden, we have planted wisteria 'Snow Showers' up a doug. fir that has been limbed way up. We planted the wisteria about 18' from the tree, and installed a wire for it to make the trip to the tree about 6' up the fir. I have allowed 2 wisteria main stems, one much bigger, to twine up, and we are tattaching 3 main leaders gently into the bark of the fir with U tacks. Should I leave the wire supporting the wisteria trunk up to the fir tree, or get it out before it gets grown into the trunk of the wisteria.? How do you affix your wisteria leaders as they climb up the fir trees at UBC?
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wire on the Wisteria

    From the same email:
     

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  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wisteria sinensis

    From the same email:
     

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  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Wisteria floribunda 'Snow Showers'

    From the same email: (please note that W. floribunda 'Snow Showers' is considered to actually be W. floribunda 'Alba' by the Royal Horticultural Society):
     

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  5. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    The wire could be affecting the wisteria, but these plants are normally so vigorous that they will compensate by producing new growth from below. I would suggest that there is a soil moisture problem if there is a lack of vigour.

    However, if a Clematis armandii survived in its place, you have unusual conditions, indeed. Most gardeners have difficulty in establishing C. armandii over time, and wisteria are notorious for running out of bounds.

    What sort of pruning practices have you followed on the wisteria?

    In what area do you garden?

    Please describe your particular soil properties and watering practices.
     
  6. Susan Evans

    Susan Evans Member

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    wisteria support

    To answer your questions:

    wisteria #1, (sinensis), 1996, is planted in a bottomless tub set on wet clay soil. I don't water it because of these conditions. Over the years I haven't pruned it much, except for new growth low on the trunk and from the ground, because the plant has yet to fill the desired space. It produces an abundance of fragrant blooms every year. Since I wrote you in early August, it has sent out some new streamers from the upper growth. It remains to be seen if these will live. The wire support to the arbour is starting to be encased by the trunk, but I think I could still get it out if you so advise.

    wisteria #2 (sinensis), 1994, companion to the c. armandii and believed deceased, has indeed sent up a shoot from the base in recent weeks. It is planted is well-drained soil and irrigated the same as the clematis. When this was a big vigorous plant, I used to prune it all summer by cutting back steamers to 2 or 3 leaflets. It never bloomed well, and I wasn't unhappy to see it turn up its toes.

    wisteria #3 (floribunda), 1999, is planted in amended soil 18" (not 18') from the douglas fir we are growing it up, and is irrigated. It hasn't flowered yet. Pruning began this year, and I am trying a different method: taking streamers back to 2 or 3 leaflets at the end of August and at the end of December. Three streamers are being trained up the fir. We aren't sure how to tack these streamers firmly but without hurting the tree or the wisteria. How do you do it at UBC? And should I leave the wire that the wisteria trunk has twined around to get to 6' up the tree?

    My garden is on Salt Spring Island.
     
  7. Douglas Justice

    Douglas Justice Active Member UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society 10 Years

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    It may be difficult to train the wisteria up a bare trunk as large as yours. We normally allow wisteria shoots to encounter smaller branches on their way up.

    Having said that, I still think wisteria is a dangerous plant to put up a tree. We've had fairly significant trees damaged by the twining stems. Perhaps the only exception would be a mature western red cedar; this species seems to be able to counter the the strangling habits of the wisteria.
     

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