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Monday, November 21, 2005

Wisteria Trellis

This afternoon I finally tackled the rejuvenation of the wisteria trellis in the back garden. This trellis is at least 15 years old, and perhaps even older. In our 10 years in the house we have done absolutely nothing to the trellis or the wisteria growing there.

The lattice, the typical stuff from Home Depot, across the top of the trellis acted as a basket for all the leaf litter of the 3 large trees that surround it, as well as the wisteria itself. There was so much litter up there that I was beginning to wonder if the extra weight might be making the entire structure unstable.

Now, though, the entire structure stands bare. The lattice top is removed, as are all the the sprawling wisteria vines and the leaf litter. It looks quite different now and just a bit sad. Built out of 2x4 and not 4x4, the structure is basically worn out. It sags to one side, even without the extra weight and all the structural/decorative corner blocks have split and the screws have pulled out. The decorative lattice-work sides have been spit and driven apart by the insistent vines until entire frames have shattered.

Finally, the termites (and other bugs) have had a field day with the wood. It doesn't even look like redwood was used to build the trellis, although, perhaps it was pressure-treated lumber at one time. While I didn't see any area that had failed entirely, there was much evidence of insect damage.

So, I guess this means that I need to get a new pergola up in this spot sometime before the wisteria leaves Winter dormancy. I had hoped to make some simple repairs to the existing trellis, but I think I knew in the back of my mind that a replacement was necessary. Luckily, I have some close friends, Don and Susie, who are landscapers and landscape designers. I am sure they can help me come up with a suitable replacement in return for a little computer consulting. Thank goodness for friends.

Any new structure would be built out of 4x4 with some allowance for protection from weather and insects. The current vertical posts are simply set in the ground. Perhaps we should raise the new ones on some piers or in holes with better drainage.

I am sure the wisteria will recover, regardless of the structure. It will be a slow recovery for the next several years, but that is good, as it will allow me to prune it into shape each Fall and not let it get out of hand so badly. I fully intend to treat it with a heavier hand each season instead of letting run wild.

I will keep you informed of my plans with the trellis and I would be interested in hearing what solutions you have devised for your own gardens. Leave your comments using the Comments link below.


Blogger Todd said...

Doug, our whole patio was at one time covered with Wisteria.

Was very pretty, but as you saw, pretty damaging.

When in Tivoli, I went to a restaurent that had a 300 year old Wisteria.

Two things appeared to me that made it successful
1. the structure was overkill, cross members the size of telephone poles. But I don't think that is the true solution to keep the structure up.
2. It appears the owners made sure the Wisteria only grew on top. anywhere it was coming down, the waiters kept an eye out to push the shoots back up.

So the whole thing was actually a carpet on top of the structure, preventing it from damaging the structure.



1:46 PM  

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