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moty2000 View Drop Down
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Joined: 27 May 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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  Quote moty2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: montana
    Posted: 27 May 2007 at 8:30am

We've inheriated a Montana Clematis when we bought our house i would estaimate is is ten years old as it is over six foot tall and very well establised.  we are wanting to plant in the area underneath it as all the flower and foliage are on the top half leaving an expanse of trellis on view.  There is a flag buried over the roots of the clematis my questions is , is it now safe to remove as the plant is so well establised? We don't want to halm it as it is lovely when in flower.

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bcollingwood View Drop Down
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  Quote bcollingwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 May 2007 at 6:12pm
IMHO I doubt you'll hurt it directly by carefully lifting and removing the flag. As you say the roots will be well integrated by now. If need be I'd probably very carefully hose the area near the stem a little, just to see if roots are at all visible, or maybe get some idea of exactly what if anything is near the surface, and the extent; you can then get a better idea of the workable area. Obviously you could then work the soil from the more-remote point gradually getting nearer the clematis, until you see any signs of root. You won't hurt the plant if you accidentaly expose a little or even cut just a little. Personally I would add a layer of topsoil (at least as thick as the removed flag) and maybe even a mulch (something organically nutritive), or topsoil mixed with a mulch, and then replace the flag with something similar, but perhaps smaller, especially if the stem is in a generally shaded area. I'd avoid anything too strong, manure-wise nearest to or in actual contact with the roots. As long as you don't grossly disturb it the clematis would probably not even give it a second thought.
I'd then go round the plant, at this time of year, when the healthy vines are in leaf, to notice any obviously dead, decrepit bits that terminate as dead stumps; and tidy it a bit with the pruners (always clean pruners at least with hot water and soap first).
Once the flowering is done the plant will quicken the production of new vine material, which over the season will ripen, and be available to flower next year. So if you do tidy-ups with pruners through the season, don't take off too much of the new material or you'll reduce the flowering potential for next year.
If the plant is excessive in any area or direction, I personally wouldn't reduce it significantly all in one go. Montanas often don't like harsh treatment or the cutting of thicker older vines. Instead, 'stop' any further new growth into the 'excess' area, and then cut back some of the older vines a little this season, then a little more next season, always with clean pruners. Then, in the dead of winter next, (if we have one!), or early spring, indulge the plant with a copious organic mulch.
 
If you wanted copies of the plant you could take cuttings (internodal) from the new growths this season; use material several nodes down from the tip, where it is ripening/firm/not soft.  


Edited by bcollingwood - 28 May 2007 at 11:58pm
B. R. Collingwood
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casbon View Drop Down
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  Quote casbon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2007 at 3:48pm
The short answer in my opinion, is not to plant that close to the roots of the Montana as anything that you plant will be in direct competition with the Montana for water and nutrients, and in my experience the Montana will win hands down!!
                 Tony.
Tony Yaxley
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