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I just did a major pruning of a wisteria. I don't look forward to bagging all the clippings and hauling them to the town site for yard waste. Could I simply gather them up and dump them in the compost pile in the woods behind my house or is there any danger that the wisteria clippings will take root? I don't want to risk the woods being taken over by wisteria. If there is risk, I wonder if it decreases if I leave the clippings drying in the sun for a few days to make sure they're dead?

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    Where I live you have to work to grow wisteria. It sounds like where you live wisteria grows and grows and grows. Where do you live? What type of wisteria? – kevinsky Sep 14 '14 at 23:40
  • I'm in Massachusetts and I'm not sure if it's Asian or American wisteria. I'm new to gardening so any tips for telling the difference are appreciated. But is that difference important to the answer? – DaveBurns Sep 15 '14 at 0:01
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I have a big 'compost pile', where truckloads of trimmings and weeds that aren't shredded/shreddable go. it is a larger scale, most likely, than what you have, but if you turn it over on a regular basis, like every few weeks, the ones that start will likely die after a few turns.

Now, wisteria is easy to grow from semi-ripe cuttings, and I used to raise them for nursery. If the compost in your pile is finished, or almost so, they may take root, if the lower part of the stem is under some compost and the top is out.

What I've done to keep weeds/prunings from growing:

  • Pile it by itself for a few days, until the clippings are dry/brown. They will be dead, and cannot root and grow.

  • If you don't have a compost shredder, run over them with a lawnmower until they are chopped up into small pieces. Anything less than 6" is unlikely to grow.

  • Hot compost. Mix into a new batch of composting horse manure. They will decompose quickly, after the heat produced kills all stems and weed seeds.

  • Cover the pile with black plastic for a week or so after adding the clippings. This traps in the heat from the pile, and the sun, and cuts the light supply, causing the stems to die rather fast.

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Is your compost pile just an open pile without any enclosing?

How much do you need to get rid of? Is it just green parts, or did you cut off wood as well? Leaving the clippings to dry and wilt in the sun will definitely lessen the risk, but it's hard to be sure it will be 100% safe.

However, the plants will not jump off the pile and overgrow the whole forest on one day. Can you check the compost regularly to see if anything has survived?

  • It's an open pile, no enclosure. There's both green and wood clippings. I assumed the greens would be more likely to root - not so? – DaveBurns Sep 15 '14 at 12:06

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