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newbie help! my root balls need you

Posted by beck_wi z5 WI (My Page) on
Sat, May 16, 09 at 21:49

My sister called me today. Her new neighbor is obviously not a gardener and was ripping out all of the previous owners established plants and replacing them with rock.
I could have fainted.
I rushed over there and it was already too late... the jackmanii's were cut down and the root balls were in a dirt pile behind his garage. The amount of spent buds that are now going to the trash pile was enough to bring me to tears... but, heroically I kept them in check.
I saved what I could, but really don't know what to do now. Only one of the eight clumps I got has leaves on it.
My goal is to give them the best start here that I can.... the south side of my house gets the most sun, and it would probably be the easiest place to plant them under something to keep the roots cool.
I only know the basics about clematis so I'm hoping someone has some suggestions for me. Is there any kind of fertilizer I should give them to hopefully give them a good start?? What, if any, additives should I give them?
The only thing I think I have going for me is time, being that its only May.
I had to cut the dying vines off of the trellis' and that almost did me in.... they were sooo stunning last year and now they are gone.
please help my root balls.. they need you. lol

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

Cut them back, plant them deeper than they were and don't worry about the roots being cool. That is a myth. What they meant was moist. Not cool. Moist.

RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

Get a liquid fertilizer with a high middle number. The one I have is 4-10-3. The middle number is for root development. Follow directions on the package and wait.

Aside from that, do you have room for eight jackmaniis? Do you really want all 8 of them when there are so many gorgeous and interesting clematis? If you are going to try to raise 8 of one type, you might as well try other varieties too:

There' Mme Julia Correvon

Comtesse de Bouchaud

Barbara Harrington


Duchass of Albany

Hagley Hybrid


General Sikorski

Venosa Violacae


RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

If your weekend is like mine, it's near freezing this morning, so planting as suggested (trimmed back, a little lower than you got them) is going to be fine. I would not fertilize just yet, though. I'd wait until there was some growth - I've had bad luck fertilizing new clematis transplants which stimulates too much grow, which the roots can't quite seem to handle yet.

Just my experience. Otherwise, enjoy!

RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

Wow Michael, near freezing at this time of year. Yikes!! Send it south with some rain please. I do agree that if you have temps like Michael has, just plant the root balls, water them in well, and wait and see what happens. Once you see growth, then you could always fertilize them with, as Janet suggested, a slow release fertilizer with a higher middle number since that is the phosphorus content that stimulates root growth and eventually flowering.

RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

Actually, Miguel I suggested a liquid fertilizer with a P number, and low N&K number.

If I had 8 of the same plant, I'd do an experiment:
On 2 of the plants - use what I suggested
One 2 more - no fertilizer
One 2 more - use a slow release granular
One the final 2 - something else.

Then monitor the results each month. I know there would be too many variables in a normal garden unless you could have them all in a row, receiving the same amount of sun, but it would be interesting. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if they all looked the after 3 years, :-)

RE: newbie help! my root balls need you

So, my newest questions... which is better, morning or afternoon sun? and.. How much deeper than before? is one inch enough? or should I go deeper?

My plan is to put four across the front of the house... two on each side of the front door. Those will be in the sun most of the day.
Then the other four, I will put on the sides of the house where it wraps around to the deck-- which doesn't get as much sun as the front, but is still sunny-- but only morning or afternoon depending on which side of the house you're on.

I plan to pick the four biggest for the front because those have the best chance.
Then the next two strongest looking ones will go on whichever side of the house is best for them. (when I get some advice)
The last ones will go in the least favorable spot--- and then I'll baby them.

I also got four rose bushes, and a box of hostas so I have a lot of work ahead of me today.

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