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How to Train a Wisteria Tree

Wisteria is an ideal addition to any garden because of its rapid growth, fragrant blossoms and easy maintenance once it is established. It is a hardy twining vine with large beautiful flowers that come in colors ranging from white to purple. This plant grows best when trained up a support system, so it can spread up and not take up much ground room. It will also be easier to prune in the future.

Decide what type of support system you want in order to train the wisteria. Keep in mind that wisteria gets heavy as it matures, so use a trellis, sturdy wire or arbor for support. If you choose rows of wire, use copper or aluminum so they don't rust.

Install the support system behind the wisteria plant, or else plant the wisteria right under or in front of the support system if it is already installed.

Choose the wisteria's leader shoot (whatever stem is the most healthy and strong) and trim back with pruning scissors any side shoots. Within a couple weeks, the leader shoot--the wisteria's trunk--will produce side branches from which the flower buds will emerge.

Continue to train the main wisteria trunk upward or along the side of your support system, using loose plant ties to secure the branches if necessary, or you can wrap them around the support. Pinch off the main leader when it reaches the desired height. This will help encourage more side growth.

Keep the vine under control by pruning after it stops blooming in early summer.

Train A Wisteria Tree

Gardeners willing to put time and effort into training a wisteria tree will end up with a whimsical, flowering focal point for their landscape. Training a wisteria vine into a tree shape, also called a standard, is not difficult, but it requires consistency and vigilance to end up with a sturdy, aesthetically pleasing specimen. For example, for a 48-inch tall tree trunk, you would use a 60-inch post. Remove all side shoots from along this stem with a pair of pruning shears. Make each cut 1/4 inch above where the side shoot joins the main stem to avoid causing damage. Continue to tie the stem to the post, securing it in place every 8 inches with an additional tie. Allow the stem time to grow to the top of the post. Cut off side shoots that develop on the bottom two-thirds of the stem. Adjust old ties as needed, loosening them to allow room for expansion of the stem's circumference. Prune out any dead, crossing or crowded branches in the late winter when the wisteria is dormant.

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