Wisteria

Brooke here:

Now that most of the boxes are unpacked and it’s cool enough to work outside, we’ve thrown everything into basic landscaping.  The drainage project I mentioned in an earlier post was pushed back to allow for another few passes with the chainsaw, so the dirt will arrive sometime mid-week.  In the meantime, we’ve taken down more trees and I’ve got a call in to the power company to send out a their tree maintenance division to remove several trees which have grown up around the power lines as (a) it’s a free service and will save us some work, and (b) they are freakin’ power lines.

Meanwhile, down on the ground, I’ve started to go after the wisteria.  The vines are everywhere, which makes me hopeful; wisteria grows in a tree form or a vine form, and the tree form is impossible to kill while the vine form is merely almost impossible.  Don’t misunderstand me… wisteria is a beautiful vine and the flowers are delightfully fragrant, but we live in the South and down here, wisteria will dig its roots into the soil and will pull down anything within its reach.

 

View of wisteria climbing over a volunteer aspen (maybe) in the backyard.

 

 

Close-up of same image; wisteria are the vines with dark green symmetrical leaves.

 

Now, I’d love to not use any herbicides on the property, but I’d also like to have a lot of money and perhaps a unicorn.  Wisteria is not a frail plant and the old standbys of vinegar solutions and the whatnot don’t do crap.  Online, gardeners seem to agree the best time to remove wisteria is in the late summer or the fall, when it has yet to go dormant and the weather isn’t conducive to a second growth surge.  These gardeners also agree – the sane ones, anyhow – that wisteria can only be eradicated with a steadfast scorched-earth regime.

I dropped by a garden center to check out their wisteria control products.  I brought a couple of herbicides to the counter and asked the very pleasant salespeople what they would recommend for wisteria.  The first lady blinked at me, twice.  The other asked if I knew what wisteria was.   I explained that, yes, I knew what wisteria was and that it’s hard to remove, and we had recently purchased a property where the landscaping had been allowed to go to seed.

(We’ve found that “We’ve recently purchased a house and…” helps get us out of a lot of lectures on Why Things Shouldn’t Have Gotten This Bad.)

 

Wisteria flower. A lovely thing, despite invasiveness. Image taken from a gardening forum.

 

One of the salesclerks pulled out Roundup* for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, and an herbicide you can paint on with a brush.  She said the best way to try and kill wisteria was to spray the leaves with the Roundup, wait 72 hours, then cut the newly-dead vines off of the plant and paint the stumps with the herbicide.  And, if you were very lucky, you wouldn’t have to do that again for another couple of years.

The other clerk called her specialist on the phone for his opinion.

“We’ve got a customer here who wants to buy something that kills wisteria…” she started.  She then covered the mouthpiece on the phone: “He’s laughing,” she said.

The specialist said they didn’t have the root killer I needed to go after wisteria, and that I should try Home Depot or Wal-Mart for a dichlobenil root killer, and use the root killer a few days after the Roundup had time to work. But, he cautioned via the clerk, I should be careful because the combination might kill the wisteria but would certainly kill everything else around it.

“That’s okay,” I answered.  “Everything else around it is English ivy.”

“Oh,” he said.  “Good.  The ivy will be fine.”

*Yes, yes, Monsanto is the devil, we know, we know.

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9 thoughts on “Wisteria

  1. G

    We have wild cherry trees. This is a problem because wilting cherry leaves are very poisonous, and horses are stupid. So we cut down the cherry trees as they grow. Futile; they grow like the weeds they are and they sprout back up from stumps almost immediately.

    We have to either spot them when they’re young enough to uproot entirely, or take a large drill bit, drill into the stump, and pour concentrated Roundup in the holes. And then paint over with stump sealant.

  2. djheydt

    Do you plan to kill ALL the wisteria? Isn’t there some way of isolating some of it (concrete barriers in the ground maybe)? It’s so pretty. It seems a pity to kill it all off, just ’cause it wants to conquer the world. Out here in the Bay Area we grow it over trellises and it stays put. Maybe it doesn’t like our dry season?

    1. Smut

      She plans to *try* to kill all of the wisteria. If you read carefully, you will notice that she won’t succeed. There will still be wisteria, no worries.

  3. My Word

    My mother recoomends a literal burned earth procedure for the entire garden. Several years of that may be enough to allow herbicides to take hold….

  4. Pingback: Rent-A-Goat «

  5. Jim

    If wisteria is such a problem in the south why can’t someone come up with something that WILL kill it ! If you have something this invasive (and certain types are) you will see no beauty in it I assure you.

  6. nate

    How has your work on this horrible plant gone? My wife and I recently bought some property with acres of wisteria. I plan to raise goats to help me get rid of it…have any of you known someone to do this?

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