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Thursday - June 26, 2008

From: Richardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Regenerating old cross-vines in Richardson, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have been asked to landscape a memorial garden at church. The garden is small and has a 10x 15-foot brick wall around the back in a c-shape in full sun. Planted on the wall are several very overgrown crossvine plants. Before going to the effort of taking out these old vines, I'd like to see if I could get them to bloom. Could you cut them back 4-5 feet now (June) and would they bloom on new wood?

ANSWER:

Bignonia capreolata (crossvine) is a Texas native, and an excellent choice for the location you have described. It is evergreen, or nearly so, attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, and is not nearly as aggressive as some of its related species, like Campsis radicans (trumpet creeper). Crossvine can nearly always be benefited by trimming or pruning, the question being what is the best time of year to do so? It is a very early bloomer, beginning sometimes in February and blooming until May. Pruning now will certainly encourage more blooming next Spring, but you can't expect any more than an occasional bloom from now until then. When you prune it depends more on the urgency of executing your landscaping. We would personally prefer not to prune in the summer, not so much because of the stress on the plant but on the gardener. However, if the vine is already in the way of other plants, we would say whack away. It is a very sturdy survivor, so you could trim it down at least 4-5 feet, give it some water and maybe a little fertilizer with phosphorus, and see what happens. Take this opportunity to thin it out, also, cutting crowded vines down to the root collar and opening the plant up to better air circulation. To keep it from growing where you do not want it to, continue to pluck out or trim off new sprouts from the ground and trim to keep in bounds. This will permit it to be a nice neat background to the other landscaping now, and a burst of color in the Spring.

 

 

 

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