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pruning sweet autumn NEXT spring

Posted by leftycatcher z6MA (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 6, 10 at 0:46

Waiting for sweet autumn to begin its glorious splendor, all budded out.

Thought I would pick some brains now...I have killed off two plants after cutting back in the spring, and do not want to do this again!

Both times, the plant had begun growth. First time, snow was still on the ground, early spring, but growth had begun, and I wanted to cut off all the previous year's brown. Second time (this spring), it was later in the spring. Each time, I cut back to about 3-4'. The plant never recovered.

Any advice? Thanks!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: pruning sweet autumn NEXT spring

Good morning, leftycatcher. You are posting on the wrong forum but wow, I am surprised to hear that clematis could die just because of "bad pruning" per se! I have always considered them to be pretty strong and sweet autumn is winter hardy most everywhere. How strange and what a mystery! Have you looked for additional causes or complications to explain this? By the way, the Clematis Forum is in this link:

If someones knows what happened or if you do find a way for pruning to cause a clematis shrub to die as you describe, please post a note here. Puzzled minds want to solve this mystery. I am of course, several zones warmer than you but I sent some clematis to my MIL in NH so I would like to pass along any pruning do/don'ts that could kill the plants.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning Clematis

RE: pruning sweet autumn NEXT spring

Sweet Autumn is a type 3 clem, and should be cut down to the ground every year, for best performance. It's very vigorous, and invasive in some areas. Feel free to cut it down in the middle of winter, if you're worried about it. Don't forget that clems take a few years to get established, so a couple of poor years at the start is not close to the death knell that most people think it is.

RE: pruning sweet autumn NEXT spring

Sorry for posting on wrong forum! Brain cramp.

The first sw autumn I killed was at least 5 yrs old, and died after March pruning. This time, was a 2 yr old plant, and died after late spring pruning.

Heartsick, I discovered a baby seedling in May and transplanted it in place of one that died. It has acclimated beautifully, although only about 12', but ready to bloom.

Am now feeling gun shy, and fearful about touching it next spring! But it's climbing on column at front entry, and I know the brown growth will bug me.

RE: pruning sweet autumn NEXT spring

  • Posted by ditas z5-Iowa (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 9, 10 at 11:47

Hi - Couldn't help responding here as well & like Luis, I thought SA Clem is impervious to loppers!!! I pruned mine to 2' in the 1st season ... climb vigorously as expected season 2.

I was advised to take her down in the fall so as not to catch strong winds( if using arbor) & cause a big clean up. It happened as warned view her story below link.

Good luck!!! ~;)

Here is a link that might be useful: My Amazing SA Clem

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