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Wisteria - very hard prune?

FredTheFifthFredTheFifth South WalesPosts: 19
We've moved into a house with an overgrown Wisteria in the corner of the garden. Its a mess and has wrapped itself round a metal frame that's in there somewhere and various bits of trellis. I really want to cut it right back to a couple of main stems and start again. I don't mind if it affects next years flowering.
How hard can I be and is there a best time?
Thanks for any advice.


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,561
    We inherited 2 wisterias, one of which had very much outgrown the garage wall against which it was planted.  As we moved here in October, 5 years ago, we just waited for the leaves to fall so we could see where to cut back stems heading up under guttering or trying to get into roof space.   

    The other is against a single story annex wall and some was heading off up and over the roof so we took all that growth off and also trimmed it back to uncover the windows on that wall.

    Both have responded well to that heavy winter pruning.   In summer, the usual rule is to cut all the new whippy stems back to 7 buds.  Too many on mine so I just snip then back to the general framework without counting and I do them as I see them from May to September.

    One summer I did a drastic prune of the one against the garage as it was just too big and heavy and it didn't mind that either.  I also cut off about 4' of stems sticking out beyond the garage wall as we got mugged turning the corner.

    It is now one main trunk that splits into two about 4' up and then has one main branch either side from which everything else shoots.

    You therefore have a choice - go for it this summer or else cut back as much as you can now to make it manageable and then complete the pruning in winter when you can see the framework and decide what to keep and what to lose.     

    I wouldn't do it right now tho.  Wait till July when the flow of sap will have slowed.  Water it well - 20 litres - when you've finished as I expect you may find it very dry at the base and it will want to re-shoot.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FredTheFifthFredTheFifth South WalesPosts: 19
    Thank you, that is very helpful.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,561
    edited 15 May
    Good luck.  Let us know how you get on and don't forget to take before, during and after pictures.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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