Rough up wisteria to make it produce


Garden Q&A


My wisteria appears happy but does not produce blooms. Anything I can do?

It might be too young or just too happy. Mature wisteria likes to be mistreated, so to speak. Wisteria produces flowers in order to reproduce by seed. When vegetation is flourishing, reproduction by seed doesn't get priority. Stop fertilizing, hold the watering, and follow an annual pruning schedule. If your plant still won't flower, try root pruning to see if you can shock it into flower. Insert a sharp spade every other spade width (like a dotted line) in a circle around it about 2 feet from the base, thereby severing some of its roots.

This year we are experiencing what we call "black seed rain." We live in a heavily forested area, mostly oak and holly. You can actually hear seeds raining down! Everything is covered with tiny black seeds. We also have inchworms attacking the oak leaves.

Those "black seeds" are excrement. The inchworms you mention are cankerworms. Their populations fluctuate greatly from year to year and region to region. In light infestations, feeding damage looks like shot holes in the leaves. If feeding gets to the point where leaves look shredded or the tree is defoliated, you need to spray.

Cankerworm activity normally ceases by early June and does not cause lasting damage, but many tree species do not tolerate more than one year of defoliation. Call us for steps to head off a second defoliation next year.


Prevent blossom end rot of tomatoes by mixing in a small handful of lime or gypsum in the planting hole and watering regularly.

Pinch back leggy annuals and perennials to encourage the growth of lateral stems.

Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, which offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's "hotline" at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at

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