, Salem, MA


October 26, 2012

Where do all the chipmunks go?


A: Sounds like you have a wisteria that’s about to eat your house — and garden, too! Most gardeners would envy you! Be sure you give the tree a good support, one that needs minimum maintenance like painting — that’s difficult when the tree is as large as yours is. A metal pipe may be the answer, as it would blend in with the growth and save your house. (The tree obviously likes what you’ve been doing for it!)

Do not treat the tree with any degree of reverence or respect for the next few seasons — a little fertilizing, half-strength if you must, but keep it minimal or you’ll produce lots of leaves. Prune with great abandon. Prune every year, or the wisteria will take the opportunity to fight back and you may be back right where you began. The best time to prune is in late July when as much as one-third of the tree can be cut back. If you don’t mind missing a few flowers this first year, you can prune through after a frost into the early winter, although winter pruning seems to produce more leaves than flowers — wisteria trees flower on 1-year-old wood. If you allow the vine to droop too low near pathways and doors, it will attract a large number of bees. Warn your visitors accordingly.

Q: I received an amaryllis for Christmas. It had bloomed for the holidays, and after it bloomed, I kept it in a cool place until spring, when I planted it in the garden. Well, lo and behold, it bloomed in July with three beautiful flowers. That was such a pleasure to see. I would like to try to get it to bloom again during the holidays but am not sure when to dig it up. The leaves are still green. Shall I wait until they yellow and wilt before digging up the bulb?

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