Clematis forum: How do you handle clematis wilt?

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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Jun 19, 2016 6:23 AM CST
I have a wonderful clematis that is suffering from wilt for the second year. I stupidly planted another clematis near it last year and that clematis now also has wilt. The second one I don't much care for. But the first one, Anna Louise, I'm quite attached to. Last year I cut it to the ground and in the fall nice new growth came back. This spring it looked good. Last week I noticed wilt starting. I cut that part out but now it is spreading and has taken the small newer clematis near it. Both are planted on an spire where the sprinkler system really beats on it. This I realize is a problem. I'm wondering if it is worth cutting Anna Louise back to the ground, digging her up, and moving her. Or am I just spreading the problem??

I lost two other clematis (or is it clematii?) last year to wilt. One came back only to succumb again. I plan to just remove that one (it is very close to two other ones who so far have been unaffected). The other one, Empress, did not come back. In the spring I dug up the root ball and moved it. I figured it was worth a shot to see if it returns next year. I really like that one.

And finally, does anyone use fungicide on their clematis? Did it work? I'm not sure it is worth it. But I do plant on sprinkling cinnamon on the ground around Anna Louise if I do move her. It can't hurt.

Any shared REAL world experience would be helpful.
[Last edited by jvdubb - Jun 20, 2016 1:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 8:56 AM CST
Jennifer, I don't have direct experience with clematis wilt - I only grow clematis at my daughter's house in Utah and they haven't had any problems. But here in Florida I have lots of experience with soil-borne blights and fungal woes in general. (I'm assuming the wilt is soil-borne) Here's what I do:

My first try is always a hydrogen peroxide douse onto the soil. Use the 3% H2O2 that you get at the drug store, and dilute it 1oz to a quart of water. Douse the whole root area. This treatment has never hurt a plant that I've tried it on, including everything from tomatoes to orchids. I've saved several plants in quite dramatic fashion, even after half the plant has died off from the disease. If it is fungal or bacterial, the peroxide douse will help and you will see an improvement in the plant quite soon. IF that happens, I'd repeat the douse at least once more, 5 days to a week later.

Also, see if you can reduce the volume of the sprinkler head that's nearest to your clematis. There's usually a screw in the center at the top of the head that will decrease the flow if you screw it down somewhat. (choose a warm day, you will get wet doing this Big Grin )

If you get no improvement from the peroxide douse, try a fungicide douse. There are some amazing new biologic fungicides available - the latest one I'm trying because I'm always battling fungal blights on my orchids is called Actinovate. It's rated for use on organic vegetables, even! So far I've had a great result with it, both on orchids and on my rust problems on plumeria, figs, cannas and daylilies. Haven't tried it as a douse, but the instructions say you can use it this way. I got it online from Amazon, but Gardener's Supply has it too.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 19, 2016 9:24 AM CST
There's a useful article from the RHS on clematis wilt:

https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?PID=125

I had it happen here with a clematis that was planted close to the house so that it could climb up supports. Every year it would be just about to flower and then collapse with wilt. As far as I remember, because that part of the garden was sacrificed for a house addition so this is a few years back, one year I cut it off at soil level and mulched it and after that it was OK. I regularly see some similar clematis at a local garden I am familiar with where the roots are in the shade away from a building and the tops climb through shrubs and fencing into the sun. I've never seen wilt on those.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 9:51 AM CST
That's a great article, Sue. Jennifer, after reading it I'd suggest also sprinkling cinnamon on the soil surface could help prevent the spread of the disease since it spreads from the soil and dead plant tissue through splashing of water onto the leaves.

I'd also now strongly suggest you try the Actinovate biologic fungicide both as a douse and spray. It's fairly new so may have been introduced since that article was written, or may not be considered a "chemical control" since it's a biologic.

Plus, adjust those sprinklers so they only hit the feet of the plant, and mulch over the current area with some fresh, clean mulch. If you can get eucalyptus mulch, it is mildly anti-fungal. Down here we have Florimulch which is made from melaleuca trees, the source of tea tree oil. It is very fungus resistant, and also not hospitable to termites either, which is a huge plus. Don't think you can get Florimulch up there, but if it is available it is The Best. Lowe's carries it here.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Jun 19, 2016 9:57 AM CST
Hi Jennifer. Here is some info from clematis international on wilt problems and remedies.

http://www.clematisinternational.com/wilt.html
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
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jvdubb
Jun 19, 2016 10:03 AM CST
Thank you Elaine and Sue! And that article was very helpful! I must confess I do not have good "foot" protection for this clematis or the others that wilted. So I will be sure to make that a priority in the future. I actually have gone clematis crazy and have 7 more waiting to get planted Blinking

I have taken several cuttings from what appear to be healthy areas. I've never had good luck with cuttings. BUT if figure it is worth a try. Also, if they take, they won't take soon enough to get out and get established. So I will send them home with my mom in September and she can overwinter them in her greenhouse. Then bring me back a few established pieces in the spring Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers! Crossing Fingers!

I am going to move the clematis from this spot. Adjusting the sprinkler in this area is not an option. I will bare root it to be safe. I also will get some of that Actinovate. Also, I will check for that mulch. I probably can order it from the nursery I used to work at.

Thank you both for your help.

Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jun 19, 2016 10:07 AM CST
Jean, thank you for that link. I had already read that. The info is helpful. At this point I'm looking for anyone who has actually experienced the phenomenon and what they did about it and if it was successful or not. There is some conflicting info out there on the internet so I'm not sure what to believe. Real world experience from friends here means a lot to me at this point.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 19, 2016 11:03 AM CST
Don't forget to use the cinnamon generously on the ground under your plants, Jen. I buy it by the pound at the bulk foods store and apply it with a puff bottle to get good coverage. It has to help prevent the spread of anything fungal.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Jun 19, 2016 1:32 PM CST
You are very welcome, Jennifer.

Elaine, I believe in cinnamon also. I keep it in my garden bag.
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Jul 13, 2016 7:29 PM CST
Update: I did not move the clematis. But I did get some cedar mulch and shaded the foot. It seems to have done the trick!! I even forgot to use cinnamon. The many cuttings I took did not make it.
[Last edited by jvdubb - Jul 13, 2016 7:31 PM (+)]
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 13, 2016 8:15 PM CST
Hurray! Nice save, Jennifer. The cedar mulch might have had enough aromatic oils to squelch any fungal activity that was going on, in the same way the cinnamon does.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
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lauriebasler
Sep 16, 2016 1:34 AM CST
That is nice to hear, Jennifer!
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Sep 24, 2016 8:49 AM CST
dyzzypyxxy said:Don't forget to use the cinnamon generously on the ground under your plants, Jen. I buy it by the pound at the bulk foods store and apply it with a puff bottle to get good coverage. It has to help prevent the spread of anything fungal.


Just want to mention that a good alternative to a puff bottle (I don't even know what that is!) is a turkey baster! I got one for $1 at the dollar store and it works beautifully.
AKA Joey.

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