Is my wisteria going to strangle my tree?

Hi I'm new on here.

I have been tidying up my garden this weekend and a wisteria that is about 7 years old I noticed has flowered for the first time ever, lilac flowers, looks pretty.

At the time of planting I thought it might be nice train it up a really old huge magnolia tree which finishes flowering about by April usually. However I have just noticed that the wisteria at the base has grown very thick about 2 inches of trunk and is coiled around the magnolia.

My question is, is the wisteria going to strangle my lovely really over magnolia tree? In which case I will have to cut it down completely or try to move it.

Does anyone know? I don't want to wait to find out and then one day my old old magnolia tree starts dying?

Please advise? image


  • Peanuts3Peanuts3 Posts: 758

    Our neighbours have just had to completely clear the wisteria as it was completely smothering their magnolia tree and making the tree v leggy, but not killing it as far as I can see.  

    All depends though I guess on how much you are going to prune the wisteria and control it.  This is something our neighbours never did and hence it went crazy ! Beautiful though.  It went up to the top of a 30ft conifer as well !

    Lots of people on here will be able to advise you on the pruning front though. 

    Good luck. 

  • Thanks .... any idea if it could kill the tree? 

    I too have never pruned it mainly because it was always quite weedy and never flowered, until this year. It's now grown and spread a lot, so I need to prune I guess for sure. May have already left it too late, as its at the top of several of the magnolia branches and thats about 15ft off the ground. image I guess I could wait a bit for the flowers to fade then hack it back.

    Also, does anyone know if you can do cuttings as there are some good long stems, and I may try to create a separate wisteria tree.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,064

    The trunk of a tree grows outwards throughout the life of the tree. If it can't it will be in trouble as in tree ties that don't get loosened in time

  • Thanks nutcutlet, that's an interesting analogy, but don't trees/plants continue growing but just bulge around the tie? hmmm. I guess I need to cut it down, I'll wait until after it the flowers finish. 

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,363

    Nutcutlet is perfectly correct - the only living part of a tree trunk is a thin layer of cells just under the bark (sometimes only one cell thick!) known as the cambium.  If this gets restricted all the way around the trunk, the tree will die.  See here for an explanation:


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,200

    Wisteria can be kept under control in terms of growth and direction of growth and judicious pruning in July and January will increase the display of flowers.   See here -

    To make a new plant you're probably best off layering but you could also try softwood cuttings from late spring to mid summer or hardwood cuttings in winter.  Scroll down here for info on propagation -

    I also think that left to its own devices your wisteria will end up strangling your magnolia so ask yourself how long you plan to live there, how much it would cost to remove a damaged magnolia and the comparative costs of relocating or removing your wisteria and planting a new one.


    The Vendée, France
  • Thanks, my magnolia tree is stunning, and must be really really old like over 50 years. Whether I am here or not, I know how slow growing magnolia is, let alone to get to this size of a tree, so I would not want to do anything that would potentially damage or kill it, as I appreciate it's beauty.

    My original thought was to have flowers at different times of the year, as magnolia is done by April usually. I never realised that the wisteria could start to strangle it.

    I'll have to try to cut it down and create a new wisteria plant once the flowers die.

  • Wisterias are growing all around my area and can't say I have seen a tree strangled yet but the wisteria is right to the top of all the trees maybe sixty feet or more. I do fear strangulation but also water deprivation as the roots are immense. To get water up that distance the roots are about four inches or more and run quite a distance. When we replaced our fence it was a real chore to deal with roots removal to make post holes.
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