Can I root prune to control clematis size?

oretomAugust 13, 2009

Rather than remove a Clematis 'Duchess of Albany' which overwhelms it's space, I'm wondering if I can reduce the root ball by a third on each side. I have the plant on a trellis which is 10 feet tall by 42 inches wide and the plant gets two feet taller (then cascades down) and is easily six feet wide, covering it's neighbors.

Does anyone have any experience in root pruning a clematis?

Thanks for any help.

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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

I would NOT root prune your is better to dig up and transplant to a more suitable could kill your clematis by root pruning leave in it's place you can prune the vines to shape it..being a pruning group 3 it loves to be hard prune...prune to shape and keep in bounds or relocated or give it a new trellis to fit its mature size...Jeanne

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 8:53AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I wouldn't root prune her either. You can hack off any offending growth.

I know a Tom who lives in Wilsonville, that I sold Clematis to years ago. Do you have wisteria too???

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 12:58PM
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The Duchess was pruned (to the ground) of a third of this spring's sprouts (there were about sixty to eighty) and another third "pinched" at six feet later in the spring. I use Steve Solomon's organic fert recipe on my plants and reduced the cottonseed meal (nitrogen source) by half in her ration.

I have no where in my garden to move this monster, if root pruning is going to kill it---and I'd like some more input on this---then I guess I'll just dig it up and trash it.

There must (of course) be another Tom in Wilsonville as I don't have a Wisteria. I'd be pleased to meet you though, as I've read many of your posts on this forum. How would you like a really healthy Duchess of Albany???

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 8:43PM
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I've never tried dividing a clematis myself, but my sister has one (group II, large bluish flower, but can't remember the name) that she has split up several times. She just takes a sharp shovel and slices off a chunk from the side (she doesn't dig the whole thing up), then fills in the hole beside the mother plant with compost or soil. Of course, she cuts back the part that she removes. The mother plant doesn't seem to skip a beat. At least this would reduce the size of the root ball, thus sending up fewer stems next spring.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:15PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I didn't think "my" Tom was computer literate LOL. Hey, I just remembered another Tom that I knew in Wilsonville. Do you have prematurely silver hair and blue eyes? I worked in Wilsonville for almost nine years. I know there are about fifteen thousand people in Wilsonville now and I'm sure there are loads of Toms. :)

I thank you for the offer but I have no room for the Duchess. I've got about sixty Clems crowded on to my tiny lot in SE PDX already. I'm giving some away myself. Her cousin Princess Diana is one I've just dug up and haven't decided whether to keep or not. She mildews really badly for me.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 9:15PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I just divided Durandii by accident trying to dig it up to move it. Both sections are now growing in the pots I dumped them.

I don't think taking chunks out of the rootball will control the size though. Clems tend to grow really well here, bigger than published sizes.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 10:52AM
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I have the same situation with Duchess of Albany. I had deeply amended the soil and the thing has grown like crazy, it's now probably about 12' high and still throwing all sorts of new vines, at this rate it will obviously be flowering away till hard frost. Next spring, I will limit the number of stems, though I'm sure that these will just branch out and again produce tons of new vines. If I can't tame the beast, then I'm gonna have to replace it with a less vigorous variety ... maybe, Princess Diana ... well, I hope she's less aggressive.

Oretom, my sister had given her Ville de Lyon a real root pruning this spring. The plant has been kept within a large container and become a solid mass of roots. I had advised her it's probably not the best idea to be slicing away at the roots, though she went ahead with doing so. She then moved the plant to a slightly larger contaniner and although it has not grown as large and lush as usual, it certainly does not appear to have suffered too terribly much.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 1:19PM
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Thanks for the feed back all, I posted a photo to the Hortiplex section just for fun, BTW.

I should root prune just as an experiment, but I have a C. 'Jackmanii' I think might do well where the Duchess is...maybe I'll just move that and off the Duchess.

As noted above, we do sometimes suffer from overgrowth hereabouts.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 12:05PM
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