Clematis - Knowledgebase Question

Matthews, No
Question by stforsythe
June 4, 2010
Soon after my clematis sent out bright green leaves & buds, it became infested with aphids. After applications of Safer and systemics, it is almost completely dead. Was it the aphids or my aggressive spraying? Should I prune it almost back to the ground?

Answer from NGA
June 4, 2010


Aphids don't usually kill a plant so I imagine the one-two punch of systemics plus insecticidal soap is what damaged the leaves and stems. Insecticidal soap leaves an oily residue on the leaves and some plants are really sensitive to that. In fact, it can burn the leaves. I'd prune away the damaged portions of the plant to encourage healthy new growth. I know aphids are annoying. If they show up again, try just hosing them off your clematis with a strong stream of water. They may come back but at least in the meantime they won't be feeding on your plant. Good luck with your clematis.

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