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How to Stop Clematis Wilt


8 Clematis wilt is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Phoma clematidina. This fungus enters plants through the leaves or stems and can kill clematis vines, especially if the plant is one of the large-flowered hybrids. These hybrids are particularly susceptible to wilt, and most will eventually die of it. The leaves wilt and the stems become black and then begin to wilt quickly. Infected stems begin their discoloration from the inside out, so opening a stem and finding a black discoloration is another symptom of clematis wilt. There is no chemical treatment for clematis wilt. The only solution is pruning.

Difficulty:
Moderate

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Pruning shears
  • Trash bag
    1. Make sure it really is clematis wilt that you’re seeing. Environmental stress can cause similar symptoms, and clematis wilt is uncommon in home gardens. Treat first for environment stress factors such as too much or too little water, sunlight, fertilizer and mulch.
    2. Prepare the area with a garbage bag, wrapping it around the base of the vine. This way, the clippings will fall on the trash bag and not the ground. P. clematidina can live on plant matter in the ground for several months and from there reinfect your clematis.
    3. Prune infected stems back until you reach areas where there is no sign of the discoloration caused by clematis wilt. For some fungal infections, this means cutting down to the ground, so your new shoots may emerge at ground level.
    4. Dispose of the infected plant trimmings. P. clematidina is still present in the clippings and will continue to live in your compost or the soil. Either burn the clippings or put them out with your trash.
    5. If wilt occurs again, or continues to occur in the same plant, consider uprooting the clematis and planting a wilt-resistant strain such as Clematis alpina, C. orientalis, C. macropetala or C. integrifolia.

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