- UC Marin Master Gardener Events & Classes
Garden Help from UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Farmers Markets
- Help Desk
- Oak trees of Marin
- Hummingbirds, nature’s extremists
- The benefits of houseplants
- What to do with spent bulbs
- Fruit trees: benefits of thinning young fruit
- Microgreens: tiny plants, big flavor
- How to grow delicious beans
- All about citrus
- Ornamental grasses
- Beneficial insects
- Preventing a codling moth invasion
- Stop snails in their tracks
- Winter garden color
- Caring for holiday gift plants
- Propagating native plants
- Japanese maples
- Container gardening
- Growing gorgeous camellias
- Redwood trees
- Pomegranates: an ancient tree
- Bulbs for spring
- Nothing quite like a freshly picked bouquet
- Seeds hold the miracle of life, so save, swap and share them
- Sold on Salvia
- Sudden Oak Death: a million trees gone and counting
- Habitat gardens
- Growing In Your Garden Now - Fava Beans
- Using water effectively in the garden
- Yikes, thrips
- Growing a salad in a pot
- Rain gardens: an attractive solution to a challenging environmental problem
- How to select bare root roses
- Lovely birds... or pests?
- Australian plants in winter
- Get a head start on spring with cold frames
- Snails and slugs: keep them out of the garden
- Sow seeds now for flowers in spring and summer
- Fire-safe landscaping
- Plants made for the shade
- Chinese pistache tree glows in autumn
- Attracting honey and native bees to your garden
- Sow wildflower seeds in fall for spring show
- Native shrubs create a visual anchor in landscapes - fast
- What to plant in the fall-winter veggie garden
- Proper pruning of wisteria for a plethora of blossoms
- Compost for every corner of your spring garden
- All about mushrooms
- Butterflies in the garden
- Growing blueberries
- How to plant a fruit tree
- Protecting plants from frost
- What's that plant?
- Bright spots of color lift the drabness of the winter garden
- Books for Marin gardeners
- Benefits of School Gardens
- Trees: not just nice to look at
- Dealing with mosquitos
- Epilobium – California fuchsia
- Why bees matter, and how you can help
- Picking the Right Plant for the Right Place in Your Garden
- What's That Plant?
- Keeping Cut Flowers Fresh
- Late Summer Color
- Growing Summer Squash
- Short on space? Containers!
- Herbs: tough, attractive, practical
- These plants are true companions
- Companion planting in the vegetable garden
- Get Grounded – Healthy Soil Does Matter
- Mushrooms on the March
- Our Gentle Winters are Good for Vegetables
- Rodents like it Warm
- Know What Makes an Invasive Species Invasive
- California Natives - Plant Like a Native
- Consider a Simple Water-Catchment System and Rain Garden/Bioswale Before Winter Rains Arrive
- Have You Scheduled a FREE Bay-Friendly Garden Walk?
- A Green Autumn
- Rx for Pests: Ants
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- Colorful Drought-Tolerant Plants Thrive in Marin
- Water Restrictions and Recognizing Signs of Water Stress
- UC Researcher Is Helping Plants Survive the Drought
- Summer Is Perfect For Peppers
- Do the Leaves on Your Trees Look Scorched?
- Fine Tune Your Garden
- How to Recognize Drought and Water Stress
- Spring is the Time for Potatoes, Asparagus and Citrus
- Don't Let Stink Bugs... Bug Your Vegetables
- Harvesting Berries
- Water Heroes
- Natural Cold Storage
- Fruit Trees; Why We Treat Them in Dormancy
- Fondness for Old Friends
- What Happens to Garden Bad Guys in Winter?
- Plants that aren't blown away by the wind
- A hill o' beans
- Fruit tree thinning
- Fragrant plants: Add some chocolate or Kool-Aid to your garden
- Top 10 resolutions for Marin gardeners
- Trees with interesting bark shine in winter
- Who says your garden has to be green?
- Plant bulbs now for spring beauty
- Gardener's checklist for fall
- Cover crops boost soil in vegetable beds
- Rx: Living with deer
- Growing berries in Marin
- How to build healthy soil
- Gardener's checklist for summer
- Water-saving tips for the home garden
- Gardener's checklist for spring
- Stop the popping - Controlling hairy bittercress
- How to control aphids
- Brightening up the winter garden
- Selecting a fruit tree
- What to plant and harvest in the winter vegetable garden
- Rain, rain, don't go away
- Gardener's checklist for winter
- Getting rid of rats
- Fall: a time for planning and planting
- Asparagus: spears for years
- Lawn: use it or lose it
- Rx for powdery mildew
- Community Outreach Projects of UC Marin Master Gardeners
- Great Gardening Information
- Selecting Plants
- Marin Master Gardener Independent Journal Articles
- How to Become a Master Gardener
- UC Marin Master Gardeners Opportunity Fund: Providing for the Future
Proper pruning of wisteria produces a plethora of blossoms
When the buckeyes and maples announce the change of season and begin to shed their multi-colored leaves, my garden thoughts revolve around pruning my trees, shrubs and perennials.
At the top of my list this year will be an 8-year-old wisteria, running wild along a trellis at the end of the garden.
I know wisteria can be tricky. If you do it wrong, you get lots of new foliage and few flowers. The point is to prune it enough to control and shape its growth, and to encourage its splendid spring flower display.
There are several good pruning books: "Pruning and Training" by Christopher Brickell, Sunset's "Pruning," and "The Pruning Book" by Lee Reich. To my aid came the latest issue of a small quarterly I enjoy: "The Journal of Japanese Gardening."Ê Let me share with you some of the practical advice from an article, "Wisteria Pruning."
It helps to understand wisteria's growth habits.
Shortly after flowering in the spring, wisteria sets new flowering and foliage buds, but it is difficult to distinguish between them. By winter, however, flowering buds will be fatter and more clearly differentiated from the smaller foliage-producing buds.
The key is to prune to preserve the flowering buds as much as possible while cutting back the foliage producing buds to control growth. So, in summer (yes, summer), remove spent flowers and lightly prune the whips at the tips. Cut back any vine-like stems that are encroaching too far from the home trellis, wall or fence. The idea is to discourage rampant growth, but not too much. Wisteria benefits from growth for photosynthetic gain, and too much pruning will produce massive sprouting and disrupt the plant's energy gain.
In winter, when it is obvious which of the buds are flower-producing, prune more severely, cutting back stems to within 6-8 inches of their base, leaving five to seven buds on each. This is a bit of work, especially if your trellis is high, as mine is, and you have to work from a ladder. It also feels slightly brutal, but persevere. You will end up with a cleaned-up woody structure, with stubby cut branches and short flower stems, not unlike irregular fingers, each with numerous flower buds on them.
If your wisteria is old and neglected, the pruning procedure is based on the same principles, but may take two or three years before you get the vine the way you want it. Remove only one or two main branches each year, but treat the stems much as I've described.
"The Journal of Japanese Gardening" article also encourages keeping the entire plant above the trellis or arbor, and preventing the flexible whips from wrapping around the trellis structure. This is to allow the trellis to be repaired or parts replaced easily. When pruning, keep in mind the entire plant (some are huge) and how to shape it to fit the space in your garden.
Wisteria is a versatile addition to most gardens, and is delightful when it bursts forth with its fabulous, fragrant flower show in the spring, April to June in West Marin.
Most often, it is grown on a trellis, along a fence or eve, or espaliered on a wall. Wisteria also can be trained as a standard and grown in pots, creating graceful, miniature flowering trees for a patio or terrace. As to care, wisteria prefers limited fertilizer and water, and will thrive in full or partial sun.
By Julie Monson