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help clematis is dying

Posted by lizziem62 z4 Ont. (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 12, 07 at 23:16

hi, im a first time poster on this forum. im looking for information for my mom. 2 of her 5 clematis are dying from the groud up and she doesnt know why or what to do.

they were planted last year. she lives in zone 4, they were planted with a large hole backfilled with compost and good soil and planted with the crowns below ground level.

im sorry, i dont know the names of the ones dying, or even if they are the same type. the stems are turning brown and dying at the base of the plant then travelling up to the ends.

ive done an internet search but im getting too many possibilities and hoped i could get some suggestions from this group. thanks in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: help clematis is dying

i cannot offer much help because i have a clematis doing the very same thing. i did post about it and the response was that perhaps some pre-emergent go on it. since that posting i placed an aqua spike next to her/him and now its growing new leaves so im not sure if its the aqua spike or if it was pre-emergent but its looking better. im also wondering if i should just prune the vines but i have no experience and im not sure how to go about it but i will be watching your post to see what others have to say... good luck to her


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RE: help clematis is dying

I doubt they are dying. Clematis suffer from what is call wilt, and although shocking to watch, they usually return. Being so late in the season in your zone, you probably won't see new growth anymore this year, but keep a watch for it in spring. In the meantime, don't let the soil dry out, but don't keep it too wet either. Also, it is too late in the year to fertilize, so don't add any until spring.

Izzy, a pre-emergent?


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RE: help clematis is dying

Could be that the clematis is not dying nor suffering from wilt. Wilt happens from the end of the vines down and not from the bottom up. It could be that the plant is stressed due to lack of water, high heat and humidity or some other issue at the root level. In the south this is a very common occurrence during the heat of the summer. Continue to care for the plants as you normally would and don't be surprised if the plants rebound later in the season or next spring.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Likely browning out on the bottom due to heat and drought stress.

Keep them well watered.


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RE: help clematis is dying

pre-emergent janet is what my lawn service put on my yard in the spring and i think some of it may have gotten on this clematis and my wisteria but both are growing alot of new leaves now but like i stated in my post i also put aqua spikes on both of those plants so maybe its the aqua spikes encouraging the new growth or...they are rebounding from being hit by the pre-emergent... whoa tornadoes hitting the north metro now...


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RE: help clematis is dying

thanks for your suggestions. we just dont know what is wrong since it is dying from the bottom up, and most things i can find speak of dying from the top down, (like wilt, which is fairly common ive been reading) we are in northern ontario, i dont think its been too hot or too cold, and she waters regularily, all the other plants, and clematis are doing well, just these 2 that are affected. hmmmmm, i just dont know what is wrong.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Good luck with those storms - it seems pretty bad, and they are headed my way.


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RE: help clematis is dying

I read somewhere where Clematis like sun but the lower part, near the soil, doesn't like heat and prefers a cooler temperature. Not until I planted a small button mum plant in front of it to keep that area more cool and shaded did it take off and has put out many blooms this year. I'm so pleased!


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RE: help clematis is dying

How many times do we have to try and stomp out the fallacy that clematis need something to shade their lower extremeties? Clematis like moisture not shade. This can be accomplished by mulching the plant well and keeping it watered well.

Lizzie, it could be that your plant is being attacked below the soil level by voles or something similar. I still say the best approach is to wait and see what plays out. The alternative to some soil burrowing animal is to dig the plants up to check the roots and make metal cages that the plant gets put into so the animals can't continue to damage the roots. A friend in California is having to cage all her clematis plants to prevent vole damage.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Since it is stated in nearly every book, magazine, and website that Clematis like cool roots, I'd say the battle will never end, Miguel.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Yep, Dan responded to this same thing on a thread a while back in the Vines forum. I guess we have to keep repeating it over and over and perhaps people will take heed!


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RE: hforgot to say

I guess this fallacy is like the one Copernicus tried to convince people about and was considered a heretic for--that being that the earth rotated on its axis and rotated around the sun and that the earth was not the center of our universe but that the sun was.


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RE: help clematis is dying

well my clematis that is having the same issue has perked up quite nicely but the mention of voles is interesting. i do have voles in my garden beds but there is a granular product for them, but also isnt there some kind of plant you can plant that repels them w/o chemicals or granulars? anyways, good luck to you... and my poor clematis... mine gets morning sun until about 2pm so i am going for the vole idea but im scared to dig up the plant for fear of killing it as i am NOT as clematis wise as i would like but i got some books from my library and that is going to be my winter project this year. last years project was my butterfly garden and so far i am very pleased with that...


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RE: help clematis is dying

Most of the Clems in my garden have had yellow then brown and dried foliage on them from the ground up. They do this every summer. I cut most of them back and made sure they were very well watered and they've all responded with fresh new growth. Clematis get drought stressed very easily. Especially when young. I have soaker hoses but it wasn't enough and we have had an usually cool and overcast summer.

Shading the roots may help them to stay moister. Direct sun on them can dry the soil out faster but the issue is moisture not temperature.

Commercial growers and nurseries all keep them in black pots in full sun with no kind of shade on their root zones. They just make sure they are well watered. If they forget just once the plants will show damage. Retail nurseries often have dried up Clems as summer temporary help may not get them watered as well as they should.

If voles were damaging the vines, the entire vine would die off. Not just the bottom foliage.


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RE: help clematis is dying

  • Posted by deeg z9 - St. Pete, FL (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 15, 07 at 22:44

I'm looking at the tag that came with my Florida Sieboldii and it says "Shade roots to keep soil cool and moist."

That's all I know about the argument. I just put mulch around it and my Ruutel.

By the way, my Ruutel is coming back very nicely from it's pruning! The Florida Sieboldii looked like it had already been pruned when I received it. Now it's growing like crazy. Yeah!!

Dee


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RE: help clematis is dying

Wrong info is often conveyed time and time again. Incorrect information can be conveyed because one person sees something written once and thinks they have to append their plants with the same information. Dan Long of Brushwood agrees wholeheartedly with the idea that clematis need the moisture afforded by mulching clematis plants and not due to shading their roots with other plants.

BorS, I agree with your comment about clematis losing their lower leaves due to drought conditions. Even with copious water, some plants are going to drop leaves because even though you may be watering the area with enough water, the surrounding dry soil will wick the moisture away faster than you think. The bottom line is that you either live with the lower leaves being lost or you cut the plant back, keep it watered well and even moreso than you think it could ever need, or you don't grow clematis.


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RE: help clematis is dying

I have had great success with putting lime on them. They like a higher ph. After they are developed it doesn't seem as crucial. Some will argue but it works very well for me and we normally have soil with lower ph.


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RE: help clematis is dying

I just got home from a ten day business trip and though DH tried, I've got even more fried lower leaves on my Clems. Bluebird looks horrible. Oh well, I'll just whack it back again.

I live where the ph is very low naturally and have never bothered to put lime on my Clems. We have to lime the lawn regularly though.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Lime is not needed for clematis. That is another one of those old wives tales that started because most of the native wild clematis in England were found growing in chalky soil. I live in an area where the soil pH is low and have never found the need to lime soil to get clematis to perform well.

I know what you mean BorS. I was away from home for 4 weeks in the summer of 2005 (mid July to mid August) and my significant other had a hard time with keeping my clematis watered also. Luckily the whacking back works wonders doesn't it!


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RE: help clematis is dying

Yes, many of my II's that I whacked earlier are going to bloom again too.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Yep, my HF Young is blooming right now after a serious whack back early this summer!


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RE: help clematis is dying

Violet Elizabeth, Henryii, Multi-Blue, Gillian Blades, Twilight and Mrs. N. Thompson are budded.

I just whacked Henryii a couple weeks ago. I did the rest earlier. I whacked it down to 6" woody stubs. I didn't care if it died. It was the oldest of the group and had always been scraggly. It sprouted up from the roots, twice as many vines as it had before and reached almost four feet while I was gone on biz trip. I could not believe it. I pinched half of down today. I want green growth up my grayed cedar fence, not woody stems.


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RE: help clematis is dying

Wonderful BorS. Let us see pictures when it blooms!


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RE: help clematis is dying

i bought a clematis and it died a few weeks later. after reading this site i didint pull it out i gave somr it some blood and bone and it now 2 weeks later covered in new growth.....


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