How To Dig Up Wisteria Roots

Insert a round-pointed shovel beneath the big root ball and into the trench. Utilizing leverage, pull back on the shovel handle to pry the roots off of the ground. Place the shovel in numerous locations all around the wisteria’s base. Cut through the roots that keep the root ball firmly planted.

  • With a spade, slice through the roots as you dig a broad circle approximately two to three feet away from the main stem.
  • Any roots that are too thick to be cut with the spade’s blade should be severed with lopping shears.

How are wisteria roots removed?

The cut stump treatment is one of the most effective techniques to get rid of your Wisteria if it has one or more main trunks that are at least half an inch in diameter. Using this technique, the wisteria is cut down, the branches are disposed of, and the stump is treated with a herbicide to kill the roots.

Positives: The preferred approach Herbicide could harm surrounding plants and involves some physical labor as a drawback.

Can you remove the wisteria and replace it?

Trim the vine to a height of around 3 feet (1 m). Start your excavation between 18 and 24 inches (46 and 61 cm) from the stem. You have to go deep to properly transplant wisteria. Around your transplant, keep circling and digging and prodding.

Take up as much of a root ball as you can because wisteria dislikes being moved. The more roots a wisteria plant has in its native soil, the better its chances of surviving the transfer. Drag the root ball to its new location while it is supported by a tarp.

Dig the new hole twice as big as the root ball when it’s time to transplant the wisteria. To give your transplant the finest new home, combine the hole’s soil with up to 50% compost or leaf mold. Wisteria thrives in areas with rich soil and lots of sunlight. Early in the day or late at night are the ideal times to transplant wisteria. Get the vine staked right away. Water thoroughly and cross your fingers.

Wisteria transplanting can be laborious and taxing on the back, but doing it correctly can boost your chances of success. Good luck and dig safely!

Do wisteria’s roots go deep?

In order to support the massive vine, the wisteria’s root system extends out widely and dives deep. Do wisteria roots exhibit aggression? Yes, wisteria’s root system is highly aggressive. Avoid planting wisteria next to walls or walkways because of its extensive and strong root system. These are easily harmed by a wisteria’s root system.

Experts advise inserting a corrugated panel about 6 feet (1.8 m) long and several feet (1 m) broad beside the plant to redirect the roots if you find a wisteria close to a building or pathway.

Are wisteria roots cuttable?

Wisteria produces a lovely spring show, but this tenacious vine requires a lot of pruning to prevent it from engulfing the entire garden.

A gardener with the Oregon State University Extension Service named Neil Bell claimed that wisteria are “extremely robust vines and can climb easily to 30 to 40 feet.” They should be grown on a sturdy structure because they can be rather hefty.

People want wisteria for their own gardens after witnessing the beautiful blooms explode in the middle of spring. But they should first be aware that the vine also requires intensive pruning in addition to the right support.

People should be aware of the work required to keep them in check before planting one, Bell advised. “Most flowering shrubs may be pruned once a year, but because wisteria is so incredibly vigorous, summer pruning is also beneficial. The biggest error is not pruning at all.”

The Chinese species (Wisteria sinensis), which blooms on bare branches before foliage emerges with flowers that open all at once, is the one that is most usually planted. They are smaller than the Japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) blossoms, which unfold after the leaves emerge and gradually from the top down. The colors of fragrant flowers range from blue to lavender and, less frequently, white. Both kinds produce a lot of runners, which can be cut back more frequently than twice a year if the plant is in danger of taking over a building, especially your home.

Winter is the best time to prune because the leaf has fallen and the runners are simpler to spot, according to Bell. Examine the vine, trim any extra growth to the trunk, and then trim the remaining runners to two or three buds or a length of about 6 inches. Just above the selected bud, cut. Again in the summer, you should trim any extra growth and leave only two to three buds.

Another choice is to educate your wisteria to grow into a tree, which enables it to develop far from any structures where, if unpruned, it could seriously harm them. When it comes time for cutting, Bell added, it also makes it simpler to maneuver around the plant.

Use a sturdy metal stake to hold the vine to form a tree. It can take one growing season to train one shoot to climb the support, he advised. The basic shape of the tree is finished the next year by cutting the main stem above the top of your support where you want “branches” to develop. After this, the wisteria will require severe trimming every year to stay under control. The shoots can be severely pruned and still produce flowers.

Sometimes wisteria owners lament the lack of blooms on their plants. Be warned that, unless you purchased one while it was in bloom, blooms frequently don’t appear for two or three years (and perhaps longer) after planting. However, there are several things you may do to speed it up if you’ve waited for what feels like too long. Root pruning and stressing the plant by not fertilizing it will frequently force it to bloom. To root prune, cut the roots in a circle one to two feet from the plant’s trunk using a shovel.

Other growth advice from Bell for wisteria includes planting in full sun and maintaining continuously moist but not soggy soil. Use a low-nitrogen fertilizer (first number in the three-number label sequence). Less fertilizer is preferable to excessive fertilization. Feeding should only occur once a year, every other year, or never.

Fun fact: Sierra Madre, California is home to the largest known wisteria, which is over 1 acre in size and 250 tons heavy. In 1894, the Chinese species was planted.

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Why does wisteria die? The top?

According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, the next step is to apply a pesticide after removing the undesired Wisteria runners and chopping the plant down to the roots. Triclopyr-containing herbicides work best to eradicate wisteria, and several popular brand names are included on this list, such as Enforcer Bush Killer, Bush B-Gon, and Brush Killer-Stump Killer. The majority of home and garden stores have many. After cutting, immediately apply the herbicide to the stump. Always follow the product’s label directions and safety advice.

Other plants, both desirable and unattractive, may also be impacted by these compounds. Triclopyr, however, is a nonselective herbicide. As a result, the Missouri Botanical Garden reports that the best herbicide to kill Wisteria is also the best one to destroy other plants, such as Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), which thrives in USDA zones 4 to 9. Herbicide use must be done carefully and safely to prevent harm to or death of other, more valuable plants.

Wisteria plants: how can you get rid of them?

These suggestions are aimed for local governments and homeowners who want to begin improving their neighborhood greenspace. Although we have introduced a herbicide option for select species for individuals who are comfortable using them, we always encourage herbicide-free control strategies for each species. These techniques were chosen with consideration for minimizing soil disturbance, minimizing pesticide use, and preventing injury to any potential coexisting species, whether they be plants or animals. All of them can be manually removed if you have the time. If the infestation is really bad or if these suggestions don’t work, we advise that you look into competent expert services.

Chinese Wisteria & Japanese Wisteria

EPPC Category 4 Wisteria floribunda in Georgia (naturalized in Georgia or in need of further information)

Wisteria is quite challenging to manage. Check out expert control if the infestation is dense.

Cut and Treat

To access sunlight, wisteria climbs tall trees and constricts itself around their trunks. These vines encircle the tree as it spreads outward. Sever vines at the base of trees to halt this. Avoid attempting to pull vines that are out of your grasp down. The vine above the cut will die if you cut it at the base, and it will ultimately dry up and fall off.

Follow the vines to the ground, make a base cut with a handsaw, and then treat with herbicide. To maintain track of what has been treated, we employ a high concentrate (between 20 and 50 percent) glyphosate-based solution with an indicator dye. Make certain to just spray the pesticide on the wooden stem. In order for the herbicide to be absorbed, you must treat the wound within 5 to 10 minutes of it becoming dry. Only stems with a diameter of 0.5 or greater should be treated.

How to Identify Invasive versus Native Wisteria

Wisteria is probably an invasive species if it blooms in the early spring. Because spring is coming early owing to climate change, Japanese and Chinese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda and Wisteria sinensis) may blossom even earlier in April or May. Native to North America, Wisteria frutescens blooms in June and July.

Here are some hints for distinguishing between them:

  • Due to a thick layer of small hairs covering them, the pods of Asian Wisterias have velvety textures. The smooth, hairless pods of the American Wisteria are.
  • While native flowers bloom at the base and move upward on the flower stalk, flowers on Asian variants bloom all at once.
  • While the American wisteria has a more rounded tip, the Japanese and Chinese wisteria have pointy leaf tips.
  • The Chinese and American species both twine in the opposite direction. Clockwise twining of Japanese wisteria.

“The term “category” refers to a definition of invasiveness based on data from the Exotic Pest Plant Council (EPPC) of Georgia and North Carolina and does not always reflect the intensity of invasions in Atlanta specifically. Check Out Our Resource “For more information, see Atlanta’s Top Invasive Plants (A to Z) Expanded List.

Joining us for a volunteer shift at a Forest Restoration project is a fantastic learning experience. Please check out our service project calendar or think about signing up for our yearly Forest Stewardship training session. Read How to Remove Our Top 10 Invasive Plants for information on removing more species.

Magnolia Collection

The lineage of flowering plants that includes magnolias dates back about 95 million years. There are 18 different varieties of magnolias, from flowering to evergreen, in the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum. When the Atlanta Crackers played baseball at the former Ponce de Leon Park, two unique magnolias were planted right outside the outfield wall. Home runs hit by Babe Ruth and Eddie Matthews were both caught in the magnolia tree’s canopy. In order to preserve this piece of history on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum as well as in new parks and baseball fields across Atlanta, we have taken cuttings from these old magnolia trees and grown them into new trees as part of Arboretum experiments.


The oak trees on this hillside and across the Arboretum illustrate a variety of Georgian environments, from granite outcrops to bottomland hardwood swamps. 33 of the approximately 90 native oak species in the United States are found in Georgia. On this slope, 33 oak trees are growing, and between them, one stainless steel leaf sculpture represents each tree.

The Landis Sculpture Studio’s David Landis created and created these metal trees. Click here to read more about David’s work. See our fact sheet here for more details on the specific oaks featured.

Beech Circle

Beeches, one of the most regal of our natural trees, are a sign of an established forest. Beech trees are essential for animals, despite the fact that it can take them up to 40 years to produce a significant amount of nuts. All different species of birds and mammals, including the red-headed woodpecker, can find food and refuge in beeches. A circle of beech trees known as the “fairy ring” surrounds a granite gathering and outdoor classroom where you can imagine how the beech trees will seem in three, five, and ten years.

Eastside Azalea Collection

Despite being Georgia’s official state wildflower, the natural azalea is rarely employed in landscaping. With more than 300 azaleas on exhibit, the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum now has the largest native azalea collection available to the general public in the Atlanta area. All 13 of the Georgia’s native azalea species are present in the collection, which features more than 25 different species, cultivars, and variations. This collection concentrates on named cultivars from two series, the Georgia Moon Series and the Sunrise to Sunset Series, that have been chosen for their characteristics such as color, size, bloom time, etc. The Georgia Moon Series will feature fragrant white-blooming native Georgia species, and the Sunrise to Sunset Series will have warm orange, red, and soft yellow native Georgia species that bloom from March through July.

Stumpery Garden

The Stumpery Garden is a horticultural oddity that offers a space for the general people to learn and explore while also showing how trees may be used in attractive ways. Stumpery gardens make use of storm-damaged, dead, fallen, and dead trees as a resource for the garden, offering vital habitat for beetles, amphibians, birds, and small animals like chipmunks. Logs, branches, and pieces of bark are arranged to create walls and arches, and whole logs are turned upside down to reveal their root system. They foster the growth of ferns, lichen, mosses, soft grasses, and trailing plants on and around them.

When can wisteria be dug up?

It is simple to dig up and transplant suckers. Before bud break, in the late winter or the early spring, is the ideal time to transplant your wisteria suckers.

But first, you should get the planting area ready before you begin sucking. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day.

Create a hole for every sucker. Both the hole’s width and depth should be 2 feet (0.5 m). Let it drain through after filling it with water. After that, incorporate well-rotted compost into the soil.

Select a healthy sucker that is 0.5 meters (one to two feet) tall. In the space between the mother plant and the suckers, insert your shovel. Cut the root that is connecting the two, then carefully pry the sucker and its root ball out. Any weeds on the sucker dirt should be removed gently.

In order to ensure that the top of the root ball is level with the earth when transplanting wisteria suckers, place the root ball into the planting hole and add soil to the bottom of the hole. The wisteria stalk needs to be planted at the same depth as it was growing at first.

Fill the hole around the sucker with the improved dirt. To get rid of air pockets, pat it into position. Then generously hydrate the wisteria vine with water. During the first year following planting, keep the soil moist.