Controlling Or Getting Rid Of Wisteria
By: Nikki Tilley, Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden
Don’t let those beautiful, sweet-smelling blooms fool you. In spite of its beauty and fragrance, wisteria is a fast growing vine that can quickly take over plants (including trees) as well as any buildings (like your home) if given the chance. For this reason, wisteria must be kept under control with regular pruning; otherwise, your only option may be getting rid of wisteria altogether.
How to Control Wisteria
Unless you know how to control wisteria, this vine can quickly and easily choke out surrounding plants and other structures within its path. Learning how to cut back wisteria isn’t difficult but may be a time-consuming chore. Nonetheless, vigorous pruning is about the only way to keep wisteria under control.
You should lightly prune wisteria on a regular basis throughout summer to remove any unruly shoots as well as any new ones that may pop up. Wisteria should also be given an extensive pruning in late fall or winter. First, remove any dead or dying branches and then cut back side branches about a foot from the main trunk. Look for and remove any suckers that may also be present near the base.
How Do You Kill Wisteria?
So how do you kill wisteria once it’s gotten out of control? Getting rid of wisteria can be tricky but there are some things you can try. You could start by hand pulling or digging up any young sprouts. Cut the wisteria to the ground to prevent it from resprouting. Be sure to bag up and dispose of all wisteria branches (and seed pods) to eliminate the chance of new sprouts popping up somewhere else. Then, use a specially formulated herbicide such as a non-selective type, for getting rid of wisteria for good.
Paint or apply the herbicide directly to the stump. If, over time, you notice any new sprouts, you may want to re-treat them. Only spray the foliage as a last resort to ensure the safety of other nearby plants.
Alternatively, some people choose to place the leaves or as much of the vine tip as possible in herbicide solution for about 48 hours before cutting and removing the wisteria vine. Keep in mind that while most herbicides are designated for particular plants without harming surrounding areas, you should always use caution when using them.
Follow directions carefully for the proper application. Herbicides for getting rid of wisteria are best used in late summer or fall. However, winter is probably the easiest time for wisteria removal.
As long as you know how to control wisteria with regular pruning, you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, if your wisteria has become overgrown or if you simply don’t want it, then getting rid of wisteria may be your only alternative, cutting it down and soaking what’s left in a suitable herbicide.
Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.
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How to Prevent Bugs From Eating Wisteria
The wisteria is a type of purple-flowered vine that can quickly grow into a tree or shrub. Though wisteria is relatively easy to maintain, it is still susceptible to numerous pest insects. Keep your wisteria free of pest insects by correctly identifying the pest and using the proper control methods to eradicate it. Pests that are left to snack on the wisteria undisturbed can result in severe damage of branches, bark, leaves and fruit.
Observe the bugs around your wisteria plant for correct insect identification. Common insect pests of the wisteria include aphids, scales and longhorned borers. Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that can come in a variety of colors, including green, black, red, yellow and brown depending on the species. Some species can appear woolly or waxy. Scales include armored and soft scale species and are tiny, delicate-looking insects with one pair of wings. Longhorned borers are narrow-shaped, brownish beetles with long antennae, hence their name. Because different insects can require different methods of control, is it essential to know exactly which wisteria plant pests you are dealing with, though all of these insects can be dealt with using a broad-spectrum insecticide.
Follow the insecticide label directions if dealing with aphids and scales. Wear gardening gloves and protective clothing and use a garden sprayer or spray bottle to administer the insecticide. Avoid spraying the insecticide on other plants and insects if possible, as aphids specifically have many natural enemies, including parasitic wasps, lady beetles, lacewings and syrphid flies. Observe the plants 10 to 14 days after applying the insecticide to determine if another application is required.
Prevent longhorned borer infestations by keeping your wisteria tree healthy as these insects are mainly attracted to diseased and otherwise injured trees. Do not keep piles of firewood near wisteria trees, as beetles tend to emerge from firewood piles to eat nearby vegetation. Remove dead and dying branches of your wisteria tree immediately to prevent infestation. Spray an insecticide around the trunk of the tree to control borers, though the timing of the spray is contingent on the borer species. Talk to the staff at your nursery for specific spray information.
Know Your Wisteria: The Basics
The Wisteria genus has only between eight and 10 members, mostly woody vines, and it belongs to the pea family, according to Britannica. They can mostly be found in Asia and North America, but because of their popularity, they can be found cultivated around the world. Some are considered invasive species in the United States, such as Japanese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis), which grows in USDA growing zones 5 to 8, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. They can also tolerate poor soil quality.
Many Wisteria runners grow fast, so the plants themselves can grow large. Japanese Wisteria, for instance, can reach a maximum height of 25 feet and a maximum spread of 8 feet. Perhaps the most noticeable facet of Wisteria plants are their flowers, which grow in drooping groups and can appear in colors including blue, purple and white to name a few. Their seeds form in thin legumes and should not be consumed by humans.
Do Not Purchase or Plant Invasive Plants
This problem can be reduced if we refuse to purchase or plant these invasive species, and by politely informing your local nursery or garden center that this plant is highly invasive and that you will not shop at their places of business while they continue to sell invasive plants.
Be polite and gentle. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide education about the dangers of invasive plants to native habitats and the wildlife that is dependent on them.
Control measures for an out of control wisteria?
I'm getting my butt kicked by an out of control wisteria monster. I think I'm going to wait for Gary to get home to help me using the chainsaw.
When I first planted it it was about 30 feet from the house, but then my MIL died and we built an apt off the back of the house for my FIL so now it's only about 5 feet from the house. The addition has crawl space (the house is on a slab). This wisteria is sending out ridiculous amounts of runners under the house. So here's my question, if I get like 50lbs of salt and salt the whole crawl space will that keep the wisteria from rooting under there? I know nothing will grow in the salted ground, but will it kill the soil not under the crawl space out from the house?
Or are there any other ideas? I have health issues w/ most chemicals (severe reactive airway) so am not sure about volatile chemical measures.
Kassaundra, is this a plant you want to keep? Or are you planning on chainsawing it into oblivion? Are the runners roots, or do you mean its sending out vines along the ground?
Whether you're keeping it or killing it, I think I would avoid salt either way.
If you're keeping the wisteria you can put in a root barrier along the crawl space border to prevent the roots from entering that area.
The barriers are not cheap unfortunately, but are made to last for a very long time.
The roots that sprout or whatever they're doing in your crawl space can be sprayed with white vinegar, regular from the store (5% acidity) or horticultural which comes in 20% acidity. It doesn't kill down to the root, it mostly is burning and damaging what it contacts, but if you keep after them they will die.