Picture of clematis stem being pruned?

ginjjFebruary 14, 2010

When pruning a 4' clematis, Cezanne, and cut it back to 8-12" as I read to do, do I also remove the dead appearing small stems coming from the new buds? In fact are all those small stems coming from the area of the new buds to be removed? They all look dead and useless.

I'd love to see an actual picture of a branch/stem being pruned. I've read tons of information about pruning these but I'm still confused as you can see.

I wonder if there might be a picture of this posted on GW? I'll try and find those.



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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Ginny, when you prune you normally remove all stems exiting the ground down to the desired height. After doing so, if there are still dead stems from the new buds that are left, they can be removed but you may want to wait until the plant has actively started growing to see if they have any buds on them that might start growing.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 8:30AM
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I think I'm trying to say, when I cut down to two buds do I cut off the dead looking tendrils?

I'm out looking at my 15 clematis right now and I notice on two of them (so far,) there is a lot of new green growth several feet above ground at the nodes but the first foot or two has no green growth nor signs of buds swelling.

The two I am referring to are Comtesse de Bouchaud and Marie Boisselot.

I just came in after looking at all of them and see that green growth begins way up on most of them. I did try to prune them each year although it doesn't look like that to me.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:40PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Personally, I don't worry about swelling buds. I have a lot of Clematis to prune and I just whack them off.

If it isn't raining tomorrow I'll take some pictures of the ones I did yesterday.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 9:46PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

I do the same BorS since I treat all my clematis for the most part as type IIIs for pruning purposes each year.

Ginny, you could probably also treat all your clematis as type IIIs since you are in zone 9 and have a long growing season so that your type IIs could regrow and bloom as normal, albeit a little later in the season.

Your Comtesse is a type III so there is no need to worry about the parts of the vine with no apparent buds showing. Just whack her down and she will return on the parts of the vines that appear to have no swelling buds or green growth. The one caveat here would be if you have not treated her as a type III and let her remain unpruned for several years and the older growth below the green growth has become woody and very thick. Even so, if the plant has been doing well and been fertilized appropriately, she should push new stems up from the crown.

Marie Boisselot is a type II pruning group. How has she been pruned the past couple of years? The fact that she has growth coming up a foot or so high may mean she is just one of those clematis that develops bare legs as the plant ages (ie. the older lower growth become woody and thick and has no leaves or flowers that low on the plant). For her you have several options. Allow her to continue growing and see if the lower portions of the stems do put out any new growth. If not, hide the bare legs by planting a shrubby clematis at her feet and allow the stems to cover the legs. Secondly, do nothing and just allow the plant to have bare lower legs. Thirdly, wait and see what happens when she does bloom. If nothing sprouts on the lower portions of her legs, cut half the stems back to almost ground level and wait to see if new growth emerges from the crown. If it does, then cut the other half of the vines down and allow the plant to come back from the ground level.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 8:34AM
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Hi again,
Had a full 5 days of work so couldn't get back here. I do thank you for your great information!!

I just looked and thought about Marie Boisselot again - I did a reasonable job of pruning her last year after reading up on it, but not sure exactly what I did. Right now she looks like there are a few buds about to open! She is nicely climbing a currently bare/deciduous shrub and is up about 5 feet in it. I won't prune her now. Not sure if I should have pruned her a month ago or in the fall? She will bloom all summer!!

Comtesse de Bouchaud- absolutely no memory of how I pruned her. She does indeed have bare legs for the first foot and half then she has about 5' of length on her with nice green growth. I don't care about the bare bottom except it makes it easy for someone to step on her, so maybe I should figure out how to get her to bloom lower. Should I prune her now although she has nice looking healthy growth?

Sorry to ask the same questions over and over......

I have to admit that I do not fertilize these babies. Bad I am sure. I will try to do better this year.

I am one of those folks with way too much on my plate of life and don't know how to let go of stuff.

Have a great day and thanks again!!


    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 1:41PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Here is a pic from last year:

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 10:28PM
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WOW! That's encouraging.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 1:06AM
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