Kingfisher clematis pruning?

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)April 4, 2013

Bought from a nursery and planted last mother's day. It grew ok last year, and now it looks pretty much all dried out in a small pile on the ground. I grabbed a bit of it and it was brittle and snapped to bits in my hand. The instructions I saved from last year say to 'light prune' in the spring, but there is nothing left to prune. Do I just cut it off at ground level? Will new shoots grow out of the ground? A bit confused. Thanks. Ed.

BTW I realize that this is probably the lamest question I could ask on a clematis forum, and I will be continuing to research, starting in the FAQ's.

This post was edited by edweather on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 19:12

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The clematis is new and needs a couple more years to mature. In your zone you should be seeing shoots pretty soon depending on exposure. Pinch the shoots to nearest leaf axil for fullness. After bloom this year, prune back again. The roots respond to pruning by bulking up. Fertilize, organic is good...Rose Tone or Tomato Tone. There are other fertilizing suggestions here on the forum available by searching. Yes, keep searching other questions answered here.... you'll learn a lot.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:08AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Many of us prune all clematis back hard to 6-12 inches for the first two years to help roots get established and encourage multiple vines. Type 2 clematis can be cut back hard like a type three and in some areas the vine will die back to the ground from a hard winter. It will bloom a bit later than those that aren't cut back hard. Some clematis which have a double bloom on the first bloom may lose the double bloom but still bloom singles.

After the first two years I wait until I see new growth to prune most of my type 2 vines.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 5:36PM
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I don't know if your area is as cold as mine, but here the type 2 pruners die back to the snow line most years. I cut back to where the stems are dead, which is sometimes ground level, and they regrow from below ground and bloom just fine, only a bit delayed from those who find that the vines survive the winter.

Here are pruning directions from Hummingbird Farm. They are in north-central Maine and like me find that type 2 clematis pretty much don't need pruning other than removing the dead stems in the spring.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbird Farm Clematis Pruning Primer

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 10:05PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Everybody thanks for the suggestions. yes, our winters are pretty hard. Had a snowpack for almost 3 months and I'm pretty sure the stems are dead to almost ground level. Will inspect carefullly in the next few days. Thanks for the fertilizer suggestions, and the link. My clematis came with lots of blooms from the nursery and continued to bloom a little all year until frost. Originally I planted it in a spot that I thought got more sun that it actually did, so I moved it mid season and it actually grew better in it's new location. Ed

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 12:10AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

So I took a close look at my Clematis, and to my surprise it wasn't dead to the ground. It was pretty much crispy from 12" up, but from 12" and lower I began to see leaf buds, and there were also several new shoots beginning to pop out of the ground. I'll probably prune the live vines to between 6"-12" from the ground and fertilize a little. Thanks for the feedback. Ed.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:54PM
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