How to Prune a Wisteria Tree


The wisteria tree is a Chinese vine that has been grafted onto a standard tree trunk. When planted it will act like a vine and cling to anything near, which can make it invasive. Established wisteria can be hard to eradicate. There are many varieties that feature fragrant, hanging blossoms. The more popular colors are white, yellow, purple and violet. All parts of the wisteria tree are poisonous, which can be dangerous if you have animals or children close by.

Step 1

Prune the wisteria tree at the sign of new leaves in spring. Remove all broken and dead limbs with a sharp blade or sharp pruning shears. Cut each one back to the point of origin.

Step 2

Support the wisteria with a wire trellis or arbor. Allow only one main leader to grow along the main support. Select the thickest, healthiest, upright stem as the main support.

Step 3

Prune side shoots that are at 45-degree angles with the main stem. Make slanting cuts to prevent water from polling into the cut and causing rot. Prune the shoots to three to five buds to help the tree concentrate on flower production.

Step 4

Train your wisteria by allowing two to three shoots to grow and twist around the arbor or wire. Cut back the other shoots to achieve a desired shape. Secure the shoots to the arbor with wire hooks that are spaced 18 inches apart.

Step 5

Cut the tops of the shoots off when they reach the top of the arbor to help train the tree and provide an open canopy for the rest of the shoots to grow.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Pruning shears
  • Wire hooks
  • Arbor
  • Wire trellis


  • AgreiLife Extension: Proper Pruning Techniques
  • Ohio State University: Growing Wisteria
  • Wisteria Tree: Facts About Wisteria
Keywords: growing wisteria, pruning wisteria, wisteria trees

About this Author

Melanie Hammontree is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists and has been writing since 2004. Works include publications with "Hall County Crime Examiner," "Player's Press" and "The Gainesville Times." Hammontree has a Master of Business and is working on a Master of Journalism from the University of Tennessee.