Large wisteria


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Seaville, NJ
I have found some large wisteria growing on an old field. Has anyone had any experience collecting these? Some are 6"-8" in diameter. :eek:
I'm wondering how hard they are to dig up. Thanks

Tom, I have collected 4 or 5 Chinese Wisteria over the years and they have all done well. It was done in early spring while they were blooming are just after.I have herd that they can even be collected in the middle of Summer.
Use a sharp spade to dig them, I use a belt sander to sharpen mine and it will cut right through the roots of most any tree.
The roots tend to grow like the tops, long and running everywhere, but it seems that if you get some feeder roots and pot them up in some good soil and keep them out of the wind and afternoon sun until they get growing they do well.
They seem to like a lot of water and fertilizer after the roots fill the pot.
Here in South Carolina the Chinese Wisteria blooms in March and you see them everywhere all up in the tall pines and sometimes the blooms can get burned by a late hard freeze. They can take over around here and become a real weed. The native Wisteria is not so invasive and you do not see it a lot.
It is a good idea to not let them freeze after being collected.
Hope this was some help.
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One thing to keep in mind, the interior of a wisteria vine will rot very quickly if it is not properly sealed. Unless you want a hollow trunk, seal all cuts with a good cut paste. I like to use the type of cut paste that comes in a tube. It is a little messy, but it seals very well. Large cuts will never heal over and must be maintained from year to year to insure the integrity of the trunk.

Something new I tried this year was to treat the cut areas with a liquid hardener first. It seemed to stabilize the soft parts of the vine pretty well. Won't know the final results until the vines come out of dormancy.

I have collected many wisteria vines over the years and found them to be very hardy plants. If the ones you are considering collecting are growing in an open field, you should have no trouble digging them up. Most of the ones I collected were growing along a mucky stream bank mixed in with the trees. This made collecting a bit tougher due to all the tree roots that were present.

Good luck,
Tom, Wisteria are one of the easiest to collect. While obtaining a nice root ball is always a desireable thing. They will survive with very little root at all. I have collected them in spring, fall, and winter. With a 100% survival rate. The one pictured below was collected in January. It was protected after collection in an unheated shed till spring. It now resides out west with Art.


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Tom is correct, this species is easy to collect and will survive even if collected with minimal rootage. The tree below was collected from in front of an old house where it was growing in a narrow space between the foundation and sidewalk. I had no choice but to use the saws-all and cut only 6" around the tree, it took my truck to finally get it out. Needless to say when it finally came out, there were very few roots left.

The picture below is of it two years after planting it in the landscaping where it is used for cuttings and layers. Last year it bloomed on four separate occasions. I can't keep up with the pruning!



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Now, I am in the process of trying to locate the owner of the property. I will post some pics if successful.


I've collect two old wistarias from a construction site in early September 2004, Summer in Portugal. Both are now two promising bonsai, flowering each Spring.
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I would NOT collect these plants now. I would wait until after bloom next spring. If you collect now, you risk losing the plants to winter kill and rot.

The biggest problem with collecting big wisteria (over 3 inches up to 24 inches in diameter) is not roots. Roots are never a problem with wisteria. They're rampant growers--except in the North...They will root in almost anything in a matter of days (At least here in Va.).

The biggest problem with collecting "wild" wisteria is dieback and trunk rot.

Wisteria can be pretty much collected anytime (outside of winter and later summer--which leaves it with no time to reroot and prepare for winter--if you don't have a storage area that's frost free), with little or even no roots. With larger specimens (over 3 inches or so), trunk dieback is a big issue. If you dig a big or huge trunk (don't be afraid of HUGE trunks by the way--24" trunks aren't unheard of--as they can be dug easily too) with no roots, you WILL get a lot of dead trunk down the road and possibly a dead wisteria in a couple of years. Since wisteria wood is extremely soft and prone to rot, big trunks have a tendency to "dissolve" into ghosts of their former selves even if they re-root. Same for big pruning wounds, rot sets in very quickly when branching is removed.

The best way to avoid this if you find a notable specimen with a great trunk is GRADUAL removal. You can sever many of the larger roots with a handsaw --skip the shovel--find the primaries by digging around the base of the trunk with your hands. You will most likely find dozens of roots. Sever about HALF of the really big ones and all of the small ones, backfill with eight or nine inches of forest soil. Come back next year to remove the plant--

Do not use a truck or other drastic measures to collect it, if its trunk is a good one--you will destroy it---See above--wisteria wood is extremely weak. Use a hand trowel, hand pruner, handsaw and iron prybar for the removal work. Shovels are OK, but aren't really necessary either. You will make more progress by simply getting on the ground and working with the trowel to unearth roots, severing them with the hand pruner or saw.
I would NOT collect these plants now. I would wait until after bloom next spring. If you collect now, you risk losing the plants to winter kill and rot.

Just an FYI this thread was originally posted in Feburary. M. Dias is a necromancer and reviving dead threads. ;)
I noticed the original date after I posted. Sorry. I didn't remove the info though, as I spent alot of time typing it :D:D

To DaveV: Necromancer is a rough word apache people use to insult good people.
To DaveV: Necromancer is a rough word apache people use to insult good people.

Actually there was no insult intended---Ang3 was making a joke about you "magically reviving" a long dead thread.
To DaveV: Necromancer is a rough word apache people use to insult good people.

I meant no disrespect... necromancer is a common internet term used for people are reviving long dead threads. It is standard practice in online forums to let dead threads lay. Usually only the Original Poster will revive a thread if it a chronology or to show results of some work. For the most part however it can be misleading when someone posts on a thread that had not had activety for a few months (much less years)...

for a better definition of necromancer see : This link
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