Clematis forum: Brown and then some

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Name: Frank Richards
Clinton, Michigan

Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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frankrichards16
Sep 27, 2017 4:07 PM CST
Most of my clematis turned brown and died back to the ground this year.

This usually happens with a few of the plants, but this year seemed to be exceptional.

the weather in SE Michigan did not seem to be that unusual this year.

No idea whats going on....


Lseastrom
Dec 7, 2017 3:54 PM CST
Interesting, because mine did the same and I live in SW Missouri.

In the Spring all 4 of my Clematis were doing beautifully and then they started going brown, quickly. These plants have been in the ground for 5+ years, so they're definitely not new. They have all previously grown very well.

Throughout the summer I would see little parts of my plants with some green and a flower or two, but the vast majority of the plant was dry and crunchy....

Anyone have any ideas on what happened?? Grumbling
Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
Dec 9, 2017 4:57 PM CST
I don't know...
the dreaded clematis wilt?
I've had two that had an immediate, whole plant wilt, then went completely brown and crispy, cut 'em down, saw signs of life the following year, and haven't seen them since
tragic
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
May 3, 2018 10:48 AM CST
Tell me about this wilt. I previously had an evergreen C. armandii 'Apple Blossom' for a couple years that just up and turned brown and died. I replaced it (same spot) with C. armandii 'Snowdrift' which has been healthy for 6 years. This spring it is doing the same thing - turning brown. Of the main 3 vines, 2 are totally dead. Should I cut all the brown off and hope for the best? My camera is on the fritz so can't post pictures. Does this wilt live in the soil? Maybe I need to dig it out and replace with a different vine? Here is a pic from about a year ago when it was healthy, western exposure with daylillies at its foot.
Thumb of 2018-05-03/Bonehead/b03f50

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Name: Dirt
(Zone 5b)
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dirtdorphins
May 4, 2018 9:39 AM CST
https://extension.psu.edu/clem...

yes, cut off the dead and hope for the best

The 'dreaded wilt' is fungal... or a mystery, depending
lots of searchable info out there--I'm no expert!
sometimes critter damage can look the same like if slugs or snails eat the base of the stems or someone burrows into the roots
Name: Sharon Rose
Grapevine, TX (Zone 8a)
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Altheabyanothername
May 5, 2018 8:51 AM CST
@Bonehead

Deb-- There are two things you can try. 1-- Mix the recipe for some baking soda and mild ( no additive) dish soap, without the oil. Pour it over the plant and soil area. 2--Use Hydrogen Peroxide and water mixed, pour that over the plant and soil area I would probably try the baking soda and dish soap first and go to the Hydrogen Peroxide in 7 to 10 days, which maybe over doing it.

Soap kills alot and baking soda is a great neutralizer in case something is out of whack in the soil like a fungus. Hydrogen Peroxide kills alot also and sends oxygen to the roots. You cannot go wrong with either.

May you be blessed with success!
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Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
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fwmosher
May 6, 2018 7:07 AM CST
Unfortunately, in my experience with "Clematis Wilt" there simply is no available treatment for the causative fungus, none in the literature anywhere. The plant usually dies to the ground, however, in my experience, they usually come back the following year.

robeezee3
Jun 21, 2018 11:14 AM CST
There are many conditions that mimic clematis wilt - recall that the vines of the clematis are long and any trauma caused at the base (a cat deciding to take a nap where the stems emerge from the ground) can cause whole sections to die off.

Clematis wilt is caused by a fungus that is in the soil. It disrupts the stems' ability to take up water and so they wilt. I saw a statement on this website that there is no known cure or preventative. That is not so. If you believe your clematis has wilt, cut off the dead/leafspotted sections (sterilize the cutting implement with alcohol between cuts) to the ground and either burn or dispose of the sections by placing them in a plastic bag and putting them in the garbage.

Now, for the cure/preventative treatment: When planting a new clematis, prepare a soil drench of 2 teaspoons of Cleary's fungicide (available at Rosemania.com and other places) per gallon. Drench the soil around the plant. If it is not a newly planted clematis, after you have cut off the dead parts, perform the soil drench. This fungicide is systemic, and will protect your clematis. It will also, if applied after the wilt has been observed, prevent additional damage. Since the wilt does not kill the roots, whether treated or not, the plant will likely sprout new growth either this or next season. But the drench will prevent the cycle from repeating itself. Note that wilt is most problematic on the large flowered types of clematis, and is not as likely to occur on the viticella and alpina types. If you plan to continue enhancing your garden with clematis, the Cleary's is a good investment. Many clematis will outgrow this susceptibility. Mary Toomey, in her book,
Clematis - A Care Manual asserts that Perle d'Azure is susceptible to clematis wilt when it is immatur but is worth putting up with because of its beautiful flowers. I have a few of this variety and have not experienced wilt.

Proper protective precautions should be taken when using this or any other chemical in the garden.

Bob Lamm
Name: Frank Mosher
Nova Scotia, Canada (Zone 6a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds Roses Clematis Lilies Peonies
Region: Canadian Photo Contest Winner: 2017 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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fwmosher
Jun 21, 2018 5:07 PM CST
Wow! Almost sounds like a commercial for Cleary's? Checked the website, can't even read what the ingredients are? You did not offer any "cure" that I noticed, so perhaps there is no cure, as I stated?? I don't think anyone knows how the "wilt" virus is spread? Airborne? Who knows? Some years it happens, some years it does not. BUT once it has affected a clematis, that's it for that year! Next year, a healthy plant starting out! Spraying a fungicide of any brand in the hole before planting the clematis, has yet to be studied!






[Last edited by Calif_Sue - Jun 21, 2018 6:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
Sebastopol, CA (Zone 9a)
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Calif_Sue
Jun 21, 2018 6:48 PM CST

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Welcome! @robeezee3 and Thank You! for sharing your tips!!
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Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jun 22, 2018 6:13 AM CST
Warm welcome robeezee3 and good information to try out. I have lost two evergreen clematis to what I suspect may have been wilt and didn't know that they can recover next season. I will try your solution and hope for the best.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.

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