Wisteria support

msbumble(z6 NJ)March 15, 2007

I have a young Wisteria (18" h) that I would like to grow along a trellis fence or screen about 7ft. high to provide privacy between my yard and the neighbors' driveway. Houses are close together and the yards are not large. I can put posts in the ground, and I can attach pre-made trellis panels, but I don't think I can make the pergola-type top section that the wisteria would drape over. Books and catogs seem to show only arbors & broad pergolas that create a tunnel or shelter effect, but I need a screen only. Are there sources for the top pieces in various sizes? I've looked at Brattle and like their look but I don't think they have what I need. Who else sells pre-cut wood?

Do I need to hire someone to build this? The landscape design companies in my area do some mighty grand stuff and probably wouldn't want to bother, and I'm not sure I can afford them anyway.

Any thoughts? Thanks

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If you want that decorative arbor look for the top of your support and can't manage it yourself, then you should consider hiring it done. Wisteria will quickly grow to be a large, aggressive and very heavy vine and any pre-made supports I've seen will simply not stand up to it for any length of time. I'd even question the suitability of pre-made lattice panels for this purpose. You need at a minimim 4x4 supports (6x6 would be better) set in concrete and a heavy duty system of cross pieces. Wisteria will eat anything smaller and pull it right out of the ground.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 12:45PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

i agree with the above. the previous owner of our house put a simple 4x4 post in the ground and tied the wisteria off to it. it is growing away from the post and pulling it over now. i had to hook my truck to it with a chain to pull it back up semi-straight and put some temporary bracing in until i figure out HOW i am going to support this beast.

the current 4x4 is splitting under the pressure.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:35PM
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plantfiend(z7 VanBC)

Check out this site for information on how to 'control' it and some words of caution. The author starts by indicating 'Wisteria is Latin for work' - which might give you some idea of manageability.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Amnesty

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:13PM
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msbumble(z6 NJ)

Thanks for the replies. No wonder everyone's reaction to my lovely idea is like, "Oh. Wisteria. Are you sure?"
Are 4x4 posts with a sleeve over them any stronger or are they just decorative? Thanks. MsB

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 8:04AM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Wisteria???? RUN!!!! RUN for your life!!! You say houses are close together and your yard is not large??? That cute little wisteria will soon totally consume a trellis, bend your 4 x 4's till they break, and eventually eat your house. Then it will eat your neighbor's house.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:22PM
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saypoint(6b CT)

Check out the native American Wisteria as an alternative to the Chinese or Japanese Wisterias. It is less aggressive, and blooms on current year's wood.

It will still need a sturdy support.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 9:35AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I love wisteria and think theyÂre much maligned! The problem is not usually with the wisteria but that the owner of the vine does not do the necessary maintenance. Having said that though, I would never grow one on a flimsy panel with the intent to use it as a screen to block the neighbours! The easiest/safest way to grow a wisteria and keep it from eating the world is to grow it as a stand-alone tree or bush. That works especially well for the Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) which has shorter flower racemes than the Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda). The long racemes of the Japanese ones show to best advantage when hanging down from a height  either from a tall pergola or grown as a tall standard. It is easier to grow the Chinese type to produce a good display simply because it does not need to be as tall. But prune, prune, prune is still the essential step. I planted our Chinese wisteria as a stand-alone (with supports while it is young) in 2001. It bloomed for the first time last May. ItÂs quite a sight in bloom and an unfamiliar one for some people  we had people stop their cars on the road and come ask us what it was when it bloomed! Here it is on June 1 2006 as the blossoms were starting to fall:

So, donÂt be put off from growing a wisteria but site it carefully (not on a flimsy support!) and control its growth. It is not a low maintenance vine but it is a beautiful one and well worth the time and effort in my opinion!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 11:29AM
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