Clematis forum: Pruned my Clematis too hard☹️

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SierraMom
May 4, 2017 8:04 AM CST
Hi Everyone!
I have a 12 year old, Comtesse de Bouchard. I have made some pruning mistakes. We live in a rather harsh environment at 6000 ft in the Sierras. It's high desert, yet we got over 4 feet of snow this past winter. I didnt prune it much for the 11 years because I was afraid it would not come back, so I had 6 feet of hard woody stem with blossoms up high. This spring, 3weeks ago I tried to prune it farther down, now I have 5 feet of woody stem, it looks dead, no buds.
Did I kill it? Is there anything I can do?
Thanks !
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
pirl
May 4, 2017 8:27 AM CST
Clematises can recover despite what humans and nature can do to them. Try scratching the bark and see if it's green (good news) or not.

I doubt if you killed it. You can prune it as a group/class 2 or 3. I'm uncertain why you left the 5' woody stem. If it was in my garden I'd cut it back to the ground and give it a big drink of Epsom Salt - one tablespoon to a gallon of lukewarm water. It will encourage more stems to sprout. Please add mulch to keep the soil evenly moist.

I've never gardened in your area so contacting your local Cooperative Extension Service could be helpful if they're familiar with the plant.

Here's more about it here: http://www.missouribotanicalga...

Let us know what you do. Good luck.

SierraMom
May 5, 2017 12:34 PM CST
The woody stem is still very pliable. I will trim it back to the ground and Thanks for the tip about the epsom salt. My viticellas do quite well here (east facing for morning sun) in our harsh climate 100+ in the summer and feet of snow in the winter.
Thanks again!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
pirl
May 5, 2017 1:16 PM CST
Keep us posted and take photos, before and after.

SierraMom
May 13, 2017 9:14 AM CST
Thumb of 2017-05-13/SierraMom/7936df

Here's the before picture of my Comtesse de Bouchard. It's only been a little over a week. It's green when you scratch the stem. How often can I give it the Epsom salts?
Just waiting for the weather to warm up a bit so it can grow!
Thanks for all the help! Hurray!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
pirl
May 13, 2017 11:30 AM CST
I'd limit the Epsom Salt application to once a month. Seems there should be growth by now. I would move the rocks back by about a foot.

SierraMom
Apr 21, 2018 8:50 AM CST
It's back this year!!! My beautiful Comtess de Bouchard didn't grow at all last year after I pruned it too hard, just a dead stick. This past week I was cleaning up the garden and under the leaves I found 3 new sprouts, 2ft, 1ft and 6 inches! Hurray!
Thumb of 2018-04-21/SierraMom/6195f8

Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017
Image
fwmosher
Apr 21, 2018 9:39 AM CST
SierraMom: Very glad your clematis is back! I have a lot of clematis plants, some forty years old. I have read a ton of articles, bought books, and after all these years, here is my respectfully submitted opinion on pruning same: Just don't! It is really a "neatness" thing, in that a lot of gardeners can't stand to see the old clematis canes there! In fact, your Clematis will use those old canes as a trellis, and will readily climb same. Note: Once your clematis is in full bloom, then one can trim away at the old canes, that now, can easily be discerned to be dead. I just looked at a number of my clematis, and depending upon the "class" , there are tons of buds on the previous year's canes-no way in the World I am going to prune those off - half the blooms gone right there. Do you know I would do in your case: Buy a purple Jackmanni Suprba and plant it right at the base of the one you have. Then, pink and purple entwined! Would be beautiful! Hang in there!! Cheers!
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
pirl
Apr 21, 2018 12:38 PM CST
Great news, @Sierramom. I'm glad you didn't do anything drastic, like digging it up.

Frank - As I age, I prune my clematis very infrequently.

SierraMom
May 3, 2018 7:58 AM CST
Thank you! ❤️ Great advise fwmosher! And pirl!
It is growing like crazy, it has 4 strong shoots and looks like it could be forming buds. Is it silly that this makes me so happy? 2 years ago my 10 ft tall Viticella, Polish Spring died because of the drought, and it came back last year too. Maybe, that is the great hope of spring? New life❤️ Hurray!

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