How to kill wisteria?

What seems to grow faster than a speeding bullet, acts indestructible and is able to leap large buildings in a single bound?

Look, up in the air, waving from the rooftop — it’s a weedy vine.

A number of weedy vines are persistent problems in the New Orleans area. For specific advice, click on the following links: Cat’s claw, Virginia Creeper, Bush Killer vine, Poison Ivy and Bindweed.

There are lots of difficult weeds out there, but, as a group, nothing is worse than weedy vines.

They don’t need to put energy into building strong stems to hold the plant upright, so they can put those resources into growth.

As a result, vines can quickly create major problems, rapidly spreading into new areas, growing to the tops of trees or buildings and killing shrubs and lower-growing plants by preventing them from getting light.

I’ve seen cat’s claw vine virtually swallow an abandoned building. How many weeds can do that?

Bush killer vine gets its common name from its ability to swarm over shrubs.

And weedy vines love nothing more than an extended period of lax maintenance.

That can happen when you forget to tend to an out-of-sight area of your yard, or if you purchase a home previously owned by someone unable or unwilling to keep up with the yard work. The vines can overwhelm the place.

For those situations, you have a huge challenge ahead. Vines that have had their way for years will fight you leaf and tendril until you boil with frustration.

Don’t give up. That should be the rallying cry for anyone dealing with weedy vines.

But you must be prepared for a long, hard battle. Be persistent and frequent in your efforts for however long it takes to eradicate the vines.

There is no single best herbicide or technique for controlling weedy vines. Every situation is different, and gardeners often have to use a variety of methods for best results.

For some of more pesky vines in the New Orleans area, here are a few ways to plan your attack.

Basic rules of thumb for attacking weedy vines.

Physical control: Pulling up or digging up vines is best done when the soil is moist. The goal is to remove as much of the below-ground roots, bulbs, tubers or rhizomes as possible. Done regularly, this is a great way to deal with occasional seedlings and light infestations.

Removing vines from buildings or fences is are good ways to clean up a situation. The roots and below-ground parts must be dug up at that time.

You should never try to control weedy vines simply by cutting them back occasionally. That’s like jogging on a treadmill — lots of work but you don’t get anywhere.

Spraying herbicides: Carefully spray the foliage with a systemic herbicide. This is only possible when the spray will not get on the foliage of desirable plants. If needed, nearby plants can be covered with plastic sheets to protect them while you spray.

Be sure to spray enough to wet the vine’s foliage thoroughly, but avoid excessive application and runoff into the ground. You may spray the vine intact or cut it back, let resprout and spray the new growth, depending on the situation.

Systemic herbicides are absorbed by the foliage and enter the plants’ circulatory systems, which sends the material into the roots, killing them.

Glyphosate (Roundup, Eraser, Killzall and other brands) or triclopyr (Brush-B-Gon, Brush Killer and other brands) are commonly recommended for weedy vine control.

Herbicides that contain combination of dicamba (banvel) and 2,4-D also work well. Once the vine dies, remove it.

Treating cut stems with herbicides

When larger, established vines are growing up in trees or on buildings or intertwined in shrubs, spraying the vine foliage is not practical. The potential for the herbicide to injure desirable trees and surrounding plants is too high. Instead use the cut-vine method.

Cut off the vine a few inches from the ground and immediately treat the stump with undiluted triclopyr (such as Greenlight Cut Vine and Stump Killer, Brush Killer, Brush B Gon). Applying the herbicide to the fresh cut prevents the stump from resprouting.

You may have to crawl under a vine infested shrub to do this. Once the stem is cut, the vine growing up the tree, telephone pole or shrub will die. The treated stump will die because the herbicide gets absorbed by the freshly cut surface and is translocated to the roots. This method is very effective and may be used any time of year.

Getting weedy vines off your property will take many repeated efforts no matter what methods you use. Do not get discouraged if early efforts are not as effective as you hoped. Keep at it.

If you make a major effort to get rid of a vine and then sit back and let it grow again, you’ll never make progress.

But, if you are prompt, aggressive and frequent with your efforts, you will begin to see results. You know you’re doing a good job when controlling the vines becomes easier. Don’t give up.


Love to read about gorgeous gardens? You can enjoy the best of Louisiana gardening, even when it’s too hot/cold/rainy to dig in the dirt. Sign up for the weekly home and garden online newsletter, and you’ll get gardening guru Dan Gill’s latest tips delivered once a week to your inbox. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, check out the new New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

Out of all the different types of vines that I have sold over the years, wisteria is by far the queen of them all. It is the personification of what people think of as a vine, and when gardeners want a plant that will travel and cover some space, I always recommend wisteria. But, it’s not a plant for the faint of heart. If left unattended, it can rip the shingles off your roof, tear down gutters or topple your fence. In a few short years it can climb to the top of an 80-foot tree. The stems can become so large that they will eventually crumble the very boards that were designed to support them. It can devour your yard before your very eyes. Worst of all, often it won’t even bloom. However, when properly maintained, a wisteria vine can be glorious. The question then becomes: “How do I “properly maintain my wisteria so it won’t eat my house and will bloom every year?”

Here is some guidance…

“Why doesn’t my wisteria bloom?” When you purchase a wisteria, ask for a plant that has been grafted. Seedling plants can take 10 to 15 years to come into bloom, but a plant that has been grafted will usually bloom the first year you plant it. Be sure you understand where the graft is located, because any growth that develops from below the graft will need to be continually removed. Wisterias will grow just about anywhere, but perform best in at least a half-day of sun and well-drained soil. Another secret to getting wisteria to keep blooming is pruning. Once it is established, you will need to do a summer pruning followed by a winter pruning or else all you will have is a huge tangle of vine and only some scattered blooms.

Here’s how you do it…

Somewhere around the 4th of July, you need to cut back all the twiggy growth to within 12 inches of the main stems. That will keep the vine within bounds and start the process of setting buds for spring. It is OK to do “light” pruning anytime, but this summer pruning must be done if you expect to have lots of flowers the following spring – it may take two seasons before you start reaping the rewards of this regime. For the rest of the summer you can let your wisteria grow.

Preferably late February or early March you should again shorten all the twiggy growth – this time you need to cut it back to within 6 to 9 inches of the main stems – stubs that you have left are where the flowers will develop for spring. This is an aggressive pruning program that may seem extreme but it works. Your wisteria vine will be tidy and full of blooms instead of a rat’s nest of twigs and few-to-no blooms.

If you follow this regime you should have a well-mannered vine with lots of fragrant blooms around this time of year, which will make all that pruning worth the time and effort.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at [email protected]

Step #1 Prepare the Mixture

The first thing you need to do is to prepare the mixture solution that you’re going to apply to the wisteria later on. You can use a disposable bowl as a container for the solution. However, it’s best if you have a garden hose sprayer.

The herbicide you’ll put inside it can be triclopyr, glyphosate, or garlon. There are pre-mixed solutions you can find on the market. These are the ones recommended because you don’t have to worry about doing mixings and stuff.

Just remember that they’re more expensive than the one you still need to mix. It’s also recommended that you add a bit of diesel fuel or vegetable oil to the solution so that it can penetrate the wisteria better.

Step #2 Make a Cut

The next thing you’ll do is to give the wisteria a nice open cut. As you’re cutting an opening across of it, make sure that a few inches will protrude from the ground. If you already opened it cut in the previous days, don’t hesitate to make another. You want the cut to be fresh. The deeper the cut, the better it is, so that the herbicide can penetrate the inside most portion of the wisteria.

Step #3 Peel it Off Nice and Slowly

You’ll see a bark located near the stump of the wisteria. You want that bark to be peeled off. Peel it off until it’s about an inch beneath the stump. This will make it easier for the herbicide to penetrate the entirety of the wisteria later on. You can use a simple pocket knife to peel it off down to the stump bark.

Step #4 Paint It

Bring out your paint brush and use it to paint the upper portion of the stump with your herbicide. Any paintbrush will do. However, it’s recommended that you use a small one, so you won’t paint on other parts. It’ll also be less messy. Apply a lot of herbicide but make sure that it won’t be too much where it will be dripping off of it.

Step #5 Second Round of Painting

Once you’re done doing the initial painting process, you need to leave it there for an entire day – 24 hours to be exact. This amount of time will be enough to enable the herbicide to seep through the interior of the wisteria, along with its stump and roots. The next day, do another layer of paint on the stump. Just repeat the process.

Step #6 Finish Off the Wisteria

The waiting time for the wisteria to die completely is around one week to one month. It depends on the size of the wisteria, the climate, and the intensity of the herbicide you’ve applied. When you see that it’s already wilting off and is already dead, then it’s time for you to cut the stump off. Make sure that its roots are included when you pull it off the ground. This will ensure you that it wouldn’t regrow in the future.

You can view this video to see how to control the growth of wisteria if you don’t want to kill the off

Q: I have two five-year-old wisteria vines that I have been trying to get rid of for several years. I have tried cutting them back to a stub, I have drilled holes in the stubs and poured bleach, total weed kill and other sorts of products and still they come back. The vines are sending very long shoots off into my pond area. Help!! What can I do to get rid of them completely?

— J. Keating

A: Wisteria vines, particularly the Chinese (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese (W. floribunda) varieties, are very aggressive vines that require effort and persistence to eradicate. You have performed most of the recommended actions but must continue doing so until the vine dies.

Most sources recommend:

•Dig up any new wisteria sprouts, removing all possible roots, as soon as they appear.

Cut the main vine(s) at the base of the plant with shears or a handsaw.

•Discard all cuttings, vines, flowers and pods in the trash — do not compost as the plant can easily re-establish itself there and create more problems.

•Apply an herbicide to the cut end of the plant. Although it can be done any time, the best time to apply the herbicide is in the winter while the plant is dormant. It will probably take several applications to kill the stem.

•Cut back any new growth that emerges and reapply the herbicide.

Another source recommends the drilling technique you used before applying an herbicide. Using a 1/8-inch drill bit, drill holes about an inch deep into the stump of the wisteria and any remaining vines that are at least an inch in diameter. Place the holes about a quarter inch apart.

The native alternative, American wisteria (W. fructescens), is much less aggressive. It is a shorter vine with shorter racemenes (flower clusters) and a lighter fragrance. Amethyst Falls is a very attractive cultivar that is widely available if you must have a wisteria but are concerned about the invasiveness of the Chinese and Japanese varieties.

Transplant or not

Q: My coworker wants to plant a garden where these flowers are. If we dig them up now, do we need to replant them right away? Should we wait until the fall? Or is this a waste of time?


A: Elizabeth enclosed pictures of the flowers. I can see daffodils, hyacinths and what looks like tulip leaves — all spring bulbs. Spring bulbs need to replenish their food and strength after blooming. There are a few options:

•Dig the bulbs after flowering and replant immediately to allow the bulb greens to grow and replenish the bulb.

•Allow the bulbs to remain where they are until the greens die back. Then you can dig them up, store them in a dark, cool area and replant in the fall.

•Allow the bulbs to remain where they are until fall and then dig up and replant.

•Dig them up now and offer them to another gardener.

•Give up on them and trash them when you dig the garden.

A reader’s orchids

I had to let you know how easy orchids are. My daughter gave me a Wegmans orchid many years ago, it blooms twice a year and flowers last forever. I keep it at a west-facing window, and water once a week, maybe a bit more in winter dry heat. So when in Hawaii, I hand-carried about 40 baby orchids I bought on one of the excursions. That was 2010, and I haven’t lost one plant. They really are the easiest plants if you put them in the correct light.

—Rose of Emmaus

Local events

Native Perennial Plant Sale: Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lehigh Valley, Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, and May 11-12, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 424 Center St., Bethlehem; 700 pots and 60 varieties. Benefits local green spaces.

Allentown Garden Club: Garden Tour, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22, rain or shine. Tickets available for $18 on the day of the tour at Howard Kulp Architects (1501 Lehigh Parkway North, Allentown, 18103), the first of the 10 gardens on this year’s tour. Tickets available May 8 for $15 at the following places: Eagle Point Farm, Edge of the Woods, Herbein’s Garden Center, Hickory Grove Greenhouses, Kuss Brothers Nursery, Lehigh Valley Home & Garden Center, Michael Thomas Floral, Phoebe Floral Shop and Segan’s Bloomin’ Haus. Benefits club’s scholarship fund. Info: Becky Short: 610-395-0903.

Sue Kittek is a freelance garden columnist, writer, and lecturer. Send questions to Garden Keeper at [email protected] or mail: Garden Keeper, The Morning Call, P.O. Box 1260, Allentown, PA 18105.

This Week in the Garden


•Start seeds for: Eggplant, summer squash, and winter squash, baby’s breath, cosmos, and zinnias.

•Direct sow: Celeric, celery, cabbage, carrots, collards, bunching onions, onion sets, parsnips and Swiss chard. Continue sowing cabbage, carrots, collards, bunching onions, onion sets, parsnips and Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, endive, escarole, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, head lettuce and leaf lettuce, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips.

•Plant or pot up summer bulbs and tubers such as dahlias, cannas, calla lilies, caladium.

•Plant bare root trees and shrubs when soil is dry enough to work.

•Plant perennials. Buy annuals for pots, window boxes and to fill in bare spots until perennials and shrubs grow to mature size.


•Visit nurseries as they open for inspiration and new plants. Shop for summer bulbs.

•Prune and divide perennials. Hostas and daylilies are up and ready to divide.

•Cut back ornamental grasses. Divide clumps when you see new growth.

•Test soil for new beds. Retest soil in poorly performing areas or if you haven’t tested in the last 3-5 years.


•Apply broadleaf weed control in the lawn by the end of May. If you use corn gluten based weed control in garden beds, begin applying now and repeat as directed, usually at 4- to 6-week intervals.

•Dethatch lawns by mid May.

•Apply spring lawn fertilizer treatments by mid June.

•Complete sod projects by the end of May to allow the grass to establish before the heat of summer.

•Seed lawns now until mid-May.

•Consider applying a top dressing of compost to lawns and beds.

•Fill in holes or dents in lawns before seeding or sodding.


•Apply or fluff spring mulch. It should be 2 to 3 inches deep and applied a few inches away from foundations, tree trunks and other plants.

•Dump standing water and remove anything where rainwater can collect in stagnant pools. Mosquitoes can breed in very small pools of water.

•Clean gutters and down spouting.

•Check hoses; replace washers and correct leaky connections before connecting to water source.

Removing Wisteria Vines from Your Yard

Wisteria in your yard may become a source of problems if you leave it unchecked for many years. The deciduous vine can grow to heights of 25 feet or more, quickly spreading and choking out other plants, overtaking roofs, walls — even cracking cement. How do you remove the unwanted or overgrown wisteria vine from your yard? Follow these steps.

Step 1 – Get Ready for Removal

Gather all the tools and materials required and pick a day when you’ll have enough time to get the job done. Depending on how large the wisteria vine is, this may take the better part of the day.

Step 2 – Cut Out Small Shoots

Start by cutting out the smallest or baby shoots near the base of the wisteria vine. Cutting vines closest to the ground allows more room to get at the more tangled and twisted interior stems. Cut close to the plant. Digging up roots of the small shoots should be fairly easy. Use a shovel if necessary to remove the roots completely. Place small stems and roots in plastic bags and dispose of them in the trash. Any roots left on the ground may begin to grow, compounding the problem and necessitating a future removal of new wisteria vine.

Step 3 – Prune Wisteria Vine Back to Ground

Now that the smaller shoots and roots are out of the way, use telescoping pruner, garden pruner or loppers as necessary to remove the more mature stems and vines. Use a stepladder (with someone there to steady it) to reach vines that have encroached on the side of the house, around a tree or other structure.

Using successive cuts, cut the wisteria vine right back to the ground. Pile removed vines in a wheelbarrow and dispose of in the trash.

Step 4 – Apply Herbicide to Remaining Wisteria Trunk

By now, all that should be left is a fairly substantial trunk or base of the wisteria vine. There’s no point in trying to dig out this large root ball, but it does need to be killed. Apply an herbicide capable of destroying the trunk. Roundup is a good choice. Some garden experts recommend painting the entire trunk with the herbicide using a paint brush. Use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure to wear rubber gloves.

Step 5 – Re-apply Herbicide as Necessary

One application of the herbicide may not be sufficient to kill the wisteria vine. Regularly check the area around the trunk to see if new shoots are starting to appear. If so, re-apply the herbicide. Over time, the trunk will die and there shouldn’t be a problem with the wisteria vine reappearing.

The best way to avoid having to remove a wisteria vine from your yard is to plan ahead. Only plant this vigorous, albeit beautiful, blooming vine if there’s sufficient space for it to flourish and if you are dedicated enough to keep it in check with constant pruning. But if you have to remove it, be prepared for a workout.

Killing a tree is not advisable, especially in this time and age that we are trying every measure to protect Mother Earth. In fact, we need to plant more trees because there are lots of different benefits to doing so. However, some home gardens would have a tree or two that is not wise to keep. In this case, you need to learn how to kill a tree with salt because they say that is the simplest, easiest, and most effective way.

How-To Guide

Killing a tree with salt has a scientific basis. When you pour in salt onto the roots of a tree, it will prevent the natural flow of magnesium and potassium, thus, hampering chlorophyll production. Sodium can result to lack of chlorophyll, which will definitely kill the tree.

Then again, this is not simply about pouring in salt onto the roots. That’s because salt can also kill everything around the tree. That’s why you need to concentrate the sodium onto the roots to make sure you are not killing life around. Here is the right way of killing a tree with salt:

Step 1: Drill holes around the three, up to about three inches deep. The holes must be positioned diagonally. That kind of angle will give you better way to reach down to the roots. The number of holes to drill depends on how the tree is. It can be between four to six holes spread around the tree.

Step 2: Mix in two parts of salt to one part of water. Initially, you may need about six cups of salt and three cups of water. Mix the solution well until the salt dissolves. You may need more in the process. Just remember the 2:1 ration of salt and water when making the solution.

Step 3: Pour your sodium chloride solution onto the holes. Once the solution is dispersed, you may add more. Do this regularly for weeks. In a matter of time, you will see the tree’s foliage will start to turn brown. That’s the sign that you are doing things right as the tree is dying down.

Step 4: Once the tree dies, it will be much easier to cut it down. Remember not to wait until it actually falls to the ground, especially if it is quite big. Cut it down as it is starting to die so that it will not fall on its own and post danger not just to the other plants in your garden but your family members as well.

Step 5: You can make use of the tree trunks so they will not be put to waste. If it is a good quality of wood, you can use it to create a couple of design pieces around your home. You can also use it for bonfire nights with the family. You may also use it for cooking on an open flame.

Other Ways of Killing a Tree

Once a tree in your garden starts to become a nuisance, you would have to resort to killing it, whether you like it or not. Killing a tree with salt is but one way to taking on this task. There are many other simple and quick ways to get rid of an unwanted tree. However, you must understand that the amount of time it will take you killing a tree would depend on how big it is, no matter which method you use. We have given you a step-by-step guide on how to kill a tree with salt. Now, we will give you a guideline on some other means.

* If you do not want to bother about making your problem tree disappear, you can just call a tree service to do the job for you. It does not matter which kind of method they use. What matters is that you will be able to get rid of our worry without lending a hand. Then again, this method is quite more expensive than doing the labor yourself.

* One of the most common methods of killing a tree is by cutting it down. However, some people are not able to do this properly so the tree grows back in a matter of time. To cut down the unwanted tree in your garden, you must start on the outer limbs, down to the main trunk and the roots. To ensure it will not grow back, you may fill holes onto the roots with either salt, herbicide, or nitrogen.

* Another way to kill a tree is by girdling. With this method, you have to remove the bark from around the tree so that nutrients will not have a way to transport from the roots to the leaves. You have to wait for a few weeks before you see results.

* You can also pave over the roots of the tree so it becomes suffocated and gradually die.

* You may also use a herbicide for this project. You can spray the solution onto the leaves and onto drilled holes to reach the roots.

Why the hell would you get rid of Vine (update)

Update: Seemingly in response to the outcry following the news that Vine would be going away, the Vine app will transition into a new Vine Camera app on January 17, according to a post on Medium.

You’ll still be able to view previously created Vines on the website, as well as download your Vines before the transition. The new app will still allow you to create six-second looping videos, but you’ll have to either download them directly to your phone or post them on Twitter.

Original post: Earlier today, Vine announced it would be shutting down its mobile app. Naturally, the internet descended into madness. Twitter was flooded with old Vines, new Vines, caps lock rage, pretty much everything under the sun.

It’s time we honor Vine until its last loop, so we asked our staff to pick a few of their favorite video game-inspired Vines. Enjoy!


I mean, we’ve all been there:

Probably the sexiest part of E3 2015:

It is complete:

When you see your created character in a cutscene:

10/10, would play this game:


When you’re playing a fighting game for the first time with your friend:


Drake the Wii Tennis Champion.:

This … works way too well:

“I love Babbage’s, that’s my fuckin’ problem”:

Controlling Or Getting Rid Of Wisteria

Don’t let those beautiful, sweet-smelling blooms fool you. In spite of its beauty and fragrance, wisteria is a fast growing vine that can quickly take over plants (including trees) as well as any buildings (like your home) if given the chance. For this reason, wisteria must be kept under control with regular pruning; otherwise, your only option may be getting rid of wisteria altogether.

How to Control Wisteria

Unless you know how to control wisteria, this vine can quickly and easily choke out surrounding plants and other structures within its path. Learning how to cut back wisteria isn’t difficult but may be a time-consuming chore. Nonetheless, vigorous pruning is about the only way to keep wisteria under control.

You should lightly prune wisteria on a regular basis throughout summer to remove any unruly shoots as well as any new ones that may pop up. Wisteria should also be given an extensive pruning in late fall or winter. First, remove any dead or dying branches and then cut back side branches about a foot from the main trunk. Look for and remove any suckers that may also be present near the base.

How Do You Kill Wisteria?

So how do you kill wisteria once it’s gotten out of control? Getting rid of wisteria can be tricky but there are some things you can try. You could start by hand pulling or digging up any young sprouts. Cut the wisteria to the ground to prevent it from resprouting. Be sure to bag up and dispose of all wisteria branches (and seed pods) to eliminate the chance of new sprouts popping up somewhere else. Then, use a specially formulated herbicide such as a non-selective type, for getting rid of wisteria for good.

Paint or apply the herbicide directly to the stump. If, over time, you notice any new sprouts, you may want to re-treat them. Only spray the foliage as a last resort to ensure the safety of other nearby plants.

Alternatively, some people choose to place the leaves or as much of the vine tip as possible in herbicide solution for about 48 hours before cutting and removing the wisteria vine. Keep in mind that while most herbicides are designated for particular plants without harming surrounding areas, you should always use caution when using them.

Follow directions carefully for the proper application. Herbicides for getting rid of wisteria are best used in late summer or fall. However, winter is probably the easiest time for wisteria removal.

As long as you know how to control wisteria with regular pruning, you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, if your wisteria has become overgrown or if you simply don’t want it, then getting rid of wisteria may be your only alternative, cutting it down and soaking what’s left in a suitable herbicide.

Note: Chemical control should only be used as a last resort, as organic approaches are more environmentally friendly.

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