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Invasive Plants Series: Wisteria

Raise your hand if you have ever wanted or actually had wisteria in your garden!

Did you know it's considered an invasive plant throughout the northeast, mid-Atlantic, and southern states? Did you know there's a native alternative?!

Both Chinese (Wisteria sinensis) and Japanese (W. floribunda) wisteria are widely planted and can easily invade nearby forests. The vines can get up to 15" in diameter, girdling and eventually killing trees. They also form a dense screen on the edge of a forested area, blocking light.

The native American wisteria (W. frutescens) can be found at native plant nurseries. It is native to much of the eastern US. Its bloom time is a bit shorter than the Asian varieties. If you want to grow American wisteria, learn about pruning techniques to promote blooming, and have a bit of patience as it takes a few years before blooms appear.

A two-pronged removal method is usually best for invasive wisteria. Start with manual removal. If the plants are small, remove them completely and spray any new growth with herbicide. For larger plants that are climbing trees, cut the plant at the base and kill the roots by spraying herbicide on the freshly cut stumps. Do not try to remove the vines from trees, as that may cause even further damage. More detailed information can be found on the @padcnr invasive plant fact sheet for wisteria.

Sources: DCNR, Invasive Plants Atlas

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