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December 2014

QuestionWhen is the best time to cut back a wisteria?  We planted ours 9 years ago when we first moved to Arkansas and it is almost bigger and heavier than the trellis that supports it and we want to re-route it. 


Answer Don’t touch it now, since flower buds are set for blooms next spring.  The time to prune wisteria is right after flowering in the spring—or if yours is not old enough to bloom, after it begins to start leafing out.  Heavy pruning is recommended annually to keep it in bounds and prevent it from spreading too aggressively. 


September 2012

QuestionWe're preparing to stain our deck and we have a Carolina Jasmine that is wound around one part of the railing. Last time we stained, we managed to pull it loose and lay it on the ground in order to work that area of the railing. My question is can I cut it back significantly and if so, when? How far down?


AnswerCarolina jasmine or Carolina Jessamine is a tough plant and would survive being cut back, but it would impact its flowering ability next spring. Flower buds are already set not for next spring. The best time to do severe pruning, without impacting flowering would be in the spring, immediately following flowering.

March 2012

QuestionI have a scuppernong vine that has gotten out of control. I was recently told to cut the vine down to the ground and let it restart. This seemed a little extreme and I am not sure I would be brave enough to do this to mine. What are your thoughts on this advice?


AnswerIs it producing well? If it is, then there is room to salvage it. Scuppernongs are a type of muscadine grape and they can be quite prolific. You also need a male and a female plant to get fruit. I would try to prune it back by 1/3 – ½ and try to keep it pruned to a trellis or fence. If left to its own devices, it can grow up into your trees and all over your landscape. Growing in the shade of a large tree can cut down on its production. It does much better in full sun. Make sure to prune annually to keep it growing and producing to its full potential.

December 2009

QuestionHow and when do you trim a trumpet vine? Our trumpet vine is about three years old and covers a 8 by 8 trellis.


AnswerTrumpet vine, Campsis radicans, is a fast growing, sometimes invasive deciduous vine. It produces large orange trumpet shaped flowers all growing season, provided it doesn’t get too much nitrogen. Prune it hard in the spring before new growth begins.

July 2010

QuestionI have an overgrown clematis vine. Do I cut the vine back at the end of the season?


AnswerIt depends on which clematis you are growing. If you have one that blooms all summer you prune before growth begins in the spring. If yours only blooms in the spring, you allow it to bloom and then prune in late spring, but pruning back in the fall shouldn't be a great option for either one. Then there is the sweet autumn clematis that blooms late summer through fall and it typically dies back during the winter.

July 2010

QuestionI have a wisteria that is over a large arbor. It bloomed this year for the first time. I read that you should prune (hard) the wisteria after blooming. Is this right? and what does hard pruning actually mean?


AnswerYou are getting a bit late to prune. We like to prune wisteria back hard--cutting off roughly half of the growth after bloom to keep it in check. If it is allowed to grow, any place it comes in contact with the soil it will root. It can also grow up trees and the woody vines can girdle and harm the trees. If you have a large arbor you can simply keep it pruned to the arbor once it covers it. Try to get the pruning done as soon as the flowers finish--usually in early spring. Wisteria sets flower buds in late summer to early fall, so you don't want to keep pruning it all summer or you may interfere with flower bud formation.

August 2007

QuestionAre there two kinds of wisteria --one that blooms and one that doesn't? We have had a wisteria vine on an arbor out in the full sun for 3 or 4 years and it has never bloomed no matter how well we keep it fertilized, watered and pruned.


AnswerWisteria is one of those plants that call for patience. It grows at an alarming rate, but often can take up to 8- 10 years before it slows down enough to bloom. This is especially true if the plant was grown from seed. Avoid giving it too much fertilizer, as this simply aids in the growth rate. Keep it trimmed to the trellis that you have it on. When you do prune (if you do), prune it in the spring after it should have bloomed--not late in the season when it is setting flower buds. Once it begins to bloom, you will get more and more flowers every spring, so just wait.

October 2006

QuestionSoon I will be pruning my mandevilla and placing it in my greenhouse. Would you tell me what part of the vine to use to start new plants? How should I water and fertilize? Also, the mandevilla that is three years old did not bloom very well this summer. It is in partial shade. I fertilize with slow release fertilizer and Miracle Gro once a week. I water every other day.


AnswerFirst of all, mandevilla plants like full sun. If it is not getting at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day, it won’t bloom well. It also blooms on the new growth, so if the plant is large and well established and not growing much, that can also reduce blooming. Prune hard before moving it back outdoors, and consider repotting then as well. Mandevilla plants can be grown from cuttings. The parts you trim off in your pruning now could be used. Make sure each cutting is no longer than 3- 4 inches in length. You may want to use a rooting hormone on the cut end. Even in a greenhouse, you may want to keep the cuttings in a closed system to keep the humidity high and prevent the potting medium from drying out. If you are lucky enough to have a mist bed, don’t worry about it, but many hobby greenhouses don’t have that. A closed system is the pot inside a plastic bag. You could make a larger chamber since you do have a greenhouse. No fertilization until well rooted and growing. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.


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