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Pruning old clematis

Printed From: British Clematis Society Forum
Category: Clematis
Forum Name: Postings
Forum Discription: General chat and help about anything Clematis
URL: http://www.britishclematis.org.uk/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=135
Printed Date: 07 Aug 2020 at 10:33am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.06 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Pruning old clematis
Posted By: VeronicaMary
Subject: Pruning old clematis
Date Posted: 02 Aug 2008 at 1:07pm
Can I prune clematis down to the ground if they are all twiggy for the first couple of feet?  And is it possible to transplant them or are they past it?

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Kind regards
Veronica



Replies:
Posted By: 2ManyClematis
Date Posted: 04 Aug 2008 at 12:46pm
It depends what type of clematis you have.  I get good results pruning type 3 clematis to soil level every year.  When I tried the same approach with my early large flowered hybrids, half were reinvigorated, half sulked.  I am told that montanas do not take kindly to pruning of old wood.
 
Huw


Posted By: schristmas
Date Posted: 04 Aug 2008 at 10:33pm
Hello Veronica,
 
Huw is correct in what he says although there are ways of helping the plant through the shock - even montanas.
 
The problem of leggy montanas (or even the Early large-flowers cultivars) is quite common and only comes about because they only get a light prune or even no pruning. Both these two different pruning group types can be pruned just after flowering to keep them in check, but there comes a time when only a hard prune will solve the problem.
In this case before you take hold of the saceteurs (or saw in the case of mantana) feed and water your plant for at least a couple of weeks beforehand. This way the plant will be starting to put out shoots and then do the deed - this way it gives the plant a fighting chance and don't stop feeding because there is no growth. Try to provide some shade near the base as too high a soil temperature via direct heat does not encourage growth.
Most clematis if in a healthy state will recover although there will obviously be casualties, if thats the case just dig it up and plant another.
 
With regards to transplanting - when I moved house 3 years ago I dug up over 80 clematis of all types (except the more vigorous types like montana and tangutica as these are easily replaced). I lost only two of these plants and that was probably because I left them out in the container for too long.
Clematis can be dug up at almost any time and just as long as they are looked after once replanted then they should recover. Try to dig as much of the rootball out of the ground as you can and if you treat the plant beforehand in the same manner as previously detailed before hard pruning then this will ease the shock. Due to the loss of roots and initial shock and depending on the time of year it will be worth pruning down one to two thirds of any top growth as the plant will probably no longer be able to sustain it anyway.
 
Steve


Posted By: VeronicaMary
Date Posted: 05 Aug 2008 at 2:47pm
Hello Steve
 
You gave me the answers I wanted to hear,  when you look at clematis roots they look so strong, but I was just never sure that they would 'throw' up new shoots if I pruned below the last pair of buds!  I know I can always replace them with new, but hate the thought of killing my old faithfuls!  Thank Steve and thank you Huw.


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Kind regards
Veronica



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