Control of vortex formation from a circular cylinder by a long plate in its wake is examined over the Reynolds number range 140 < Re < 3600. There are two basic flow regimes: a pre-vortex formation regime, in which the plate precludes formation of a large-scale vortex upstream of the tip of the plate; and a post-vortex formation regime in which one or more large-scale vortices are formed upstream of the edge. The unsteady pressure loading at the tip of the plate increases by over an order of magnitude during transition from the pre- to post-vortex formation regime. If the plate is located near the cylinder, it is possible to more than double the vortex formation length, relative to the case of the free wake. Moreover, these observations suggest that: there is a minimum streamwise lengthscale for development of the absolute instability of the near wake and thereby the large-scale vortex; and the vortex formation length may also be influenced by the downstream vorticity dynamics. When the plate is located downstream of the initially formed vortex, effective control is possible when the near-wake fluctuation level and mean base pressure of the corresponding free (non-impinging) wake are sufficiently small. This occurs in the low and moderate subcritical regimes; the substantial control by the wake-plate interaction in this range of Reynolds number implies low strength of the absolute instability of the near wake. However, in the pure von Kármán regime, selfcontrol of the near wake dominates that imposed by the wake-edge interaction, suggesting a strong absolute instability of the near wake.