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03/21/2011 in gardening, invasive plants

It’s Chinese wisteria season

wisteria bloom

When the Chinese wisteria bloom, they create a desire to own… inside of the heart of everyone that sees them…
The flowers are purdy, and they smell nice… I like to pick a cluster to add scent to the cab of my pickup truck…

Chinese Wisteria come with a huge downside

Chinese wisteria pwns the trees

Chinese wisteria is invasive, and shouldn’t be planted… Anyone that plants wisteria can’t get rid of it…

The tragedy of Chinese wisteria, is that it constantly sends out new vines from the roots, and I’ve seen yards where in spite of being mowed frequently, the vines ran along the surface of the soil rooting frequently, and climbing trees which it proceeded to strangle!

In spite of any amount of herbicide applied, I haven’t seen where it was ever entirely killed out. Wisteria is even more of a problem than the vine that ate the south, (kudzu). You can kill kudzu… Chinese Wisteria sends tap roots straight down for several feet, any amount of digging you do in an attempt to remove wisteria, only seems to encourage it…

There’s another issue with Chinese wisteria… It really depends on your source whether it will even bloom!

Many nurseries carry seed grown Chinese wisteria which can take years to bloom… I once gardened in a yard that had a wisteria that was several years old when I got there, and in the 10 years that I gardened there, that wisteria vine never bloomed! I eventually took cuttings from another vine that had mid-season bloom as well as the spring bloom, The cutting bloomed very well right next to the non-blooming vine.

I’ve read the articles advising heavy root pruning, and fertilizing… those tactics simply increased the non-blooming vine’s determination to out grow the location… Turn your back for a minute, and it’s already trying to escape!

Chinese wisteria reminds me of a story I read as a kid, where the narrator bought 20 acres, only to find that he had a pond, the 20 acres were stacked on top of each other… When his son dove in, there was a dry spell, and the pond dried up… the boy had to be pulled out like a carrot… so they planted beans… As they started planting the second row, the tendrils from the first row began to climb the narrator’s leg…
Anyone knows the name of that story, please let me know… I’ve been unable to find it…

Getting back to the topic of wisteria…

There is a native wisteria… it’s less widely available, and as it blooms after leafing out, it’s less spectacular… and as a result, people keep planting the invasive import.

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7 responses to wisteria

  1. Nice piece Stone. My Wisteria is at the edge of the road and (almost) choked by blacktop by the shop… never has a chance to become invasive. However the pic you have is a chilling caution!

  2. I made the mistake of planting this evil plant a few years ago under my deck. We enjoyed the beautifl flowers in the sping and reliazed we needed to get “rid” of it in 2009. last year we kept seeing a vine here and there coming out for the floor of the deck. We now have Wisteria cancer! forturnatly we are changing out the deck. for two days I have been un covering carrot sized roots and following them to there leader. It is painful to say the least. Your article is terrifing to me. Our plan is to remove any and all root systems we can find and spray the life out of the soil. Then put a weed block fabric. Do you have any ohter suggestins or shoud we not put up the fabric. This is right next to our foundation. Please help we only have days to do this before the new deck comes in and I am horrified!

    Thank you in advance!

    • stone said on 04/12/2011

      Hey Kimberly,
      Sorry to hear about your experience…
      I do have some suggestions and comments…
      First of all… I wouldn’t spray the soil with poison, it has a lot of bad effects on our health, and the environmental health. You might be interested in the reports that have recently surfaced about roundup:

      If you must use this poison, the extension service talks about “painting” it onto the stem with an artists paintbrush.

      I don’t think much of weed block fabrik either. The wisteria would just run underneath the fabrik until it found light…
      If it was me… I’d leave access to under the deck, and crawl under there every month and cut the wisteria stems that emerged through the soil… It’s got to exhaust it eventually, right?

      Plants have got to have light…

  3. The story is “McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm”

  4. Anita said on 07/18/2016

    706 Oakley Drive – previous owners of this home had a trellis covering the back patio with some sort of vine covering it. They moved, we bought house, trellis rotted and was removed and the thought the vine was removed as well. No, it’s now trying to come through the siding of the house and has succeeded in one place. However, the bottom board of the siding has begun to rot and other boards are bulging. We’ve tried cutting back, pulling up what we can, and applying homemade “potions” but we can kill it and it continues to grow. Landscapers won’t touch it and so far I can’t find the right exterminator. Can you help me?

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