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Wisteria Repair


I have a Wisteria climbing up against the back of my house. A year ago I noticed that the main trunk was badly infested with boring beetles. Dealt with that, and the rest of it seems healthy, and it bloomed well. Anyway, I have just cut out the dead rotten trunk and cleaned up a bit. The old trellis it grew up against has rotted and almost collapsed. Clearly I need to replace this, but the live stems with twisted round it etc. Anyone had to do anything like this before? Any tips would be appreciated. Guess it might be a painstaking case of putting out the old timber, replacing the trellis and then manually tying in the wisteria.

Love to hear thoughts.



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,936
    I'm afraid wooden trellis like that is just not strong enough for trellis. I don't envy you the job of removing the old stuff.

    You may well find that your plant is strong enough now to be freestanding? 
    The best solution would be wire onto vine eyes but I notice you have rendered walls which makes that problematic.

    Is there any scope to cement a strong wooden post into the ground and secure the trellis to it? The alternative might be to get hold of some strong metal trellis although that has its disadvantages as well, namely if it gets hot, it could burn the bark.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • Hi!

    I was going to try slotting in a new trellis behind, but I'm glad your answer has put me off from doing that!

    I'm not too confident about it being freestanding. When the wind blows, which it really does here, I think it could take it down. Post is a good idea, but sadly the area in a flagged area and has an opening where the wisteria is planted. There won't be any way to get that in without destroying roots.

    Maybe vine eyes and galv wire might be the answer. Would you think it might be a series of horizontal wires and tie the stems in to it?
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,817
    We inherited 2 free standing wisterias whose trunks are now a sthick as those on a tree and yours won't be long off that stage of being self-supporting.

    I suggest you cut or pull out all those broken bits of wooden trellis and then see if you can attach a vertical support system for the main trunk and lighter ones for horizonal stems;  If you can insert some 4 x 2 behing themain stem and attach that firmly to the wall you can then screw into it some long vine eyes to which you can attach an adjustable strap to go round the main stems and hold them while they thicken and strengthen.   You'll need to check the girth each year and loosen the strap accordingly.

    Some vine eyes attached to the wall and with tensioned wires between them will hold the horizontal stems but don't wind them round the wires as they'll grow round and swallow them.  Rather tie the stems loosely to the wires so they too can thicken and strengthen over time.

    Take the opportunity to remove any dead, damaged or diseased stems you find as you go and neaten up the general shape.

    This is the smaller of our two, just coming into flower in late April but it shows how thick and strong the trunk and stems will become.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Starting to look a lot better - see attached. Sadly it was the main trunk which got badly affected and died off the other year, so most of the stems a still fairly thin. It all seems to stand up, but I need to fend off against the wind. Possibly thinking of the 4x2 idea, but a couple going horizontal to the left of the window - so I can strap many of the stems at two intervals?
  • McRazzMcRazz Posts: 358
    Theres the structure there for a nice vine, you can see it. Assuming thats all living material i'd say you could take an awful lot more off that. 
  • @McRazz Yeah, most of what remains is alive there. Few stranded twigs to pull out. 
    What do you think, a thinning out? Would you reduce some of the vertical stems?
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,817
    The vertical stems will join up over time to form a trunk but I would advise trimming off some of the low, straggly bits so the energy is concentrated higher up on the horizontals.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • McRazzMcRazz Posts: 358
    edited 24 November
    There will be more qualified people along to comment no doubt, but if it were me I'd prune all the whippy stuff away to 4 buds away from main stem and concentrate on the strong T shape that it already has (clearly cut properly at some point). Then I'd allow one or two whippy ones to extend out from that T horizontally. After a year I'd remove the weakest of the two and train one strong stem across the facade of the house. You can see what Obelixx has done and it looks awesome. 

    Remember to encourage flowering you need 'spurs' of growth coming off the main stem (you can see these all over your mature growth from previous pruning) - refer to RHS advice online

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,817
    I didn't do that - inherited it, admittedly in a mess as it hadn't been pruned for at least 5 years, so we cleaned it up when we arrived in October - removing stuff from the main stem - and then in Feb we cut off all the stems shooting up under the gutters and trying to get in the roof or hide the windows.

    The main trunk is a lot thicker now but still needs cleaning and clearing every year and the main cross branch still sends shoots up where they shouldn't go annd some down to mug us when we use that door so it's a repeat pruning job every year but the results are certainly worth it - lovely perfume and repeat flowering thru summer.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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