Montana Clematis: pruning hints for huge speciman growing into a cedar?

Discussion in 'Vines and Climbers' started by westcoastgarden, Mar 19, 2007.

  1. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    Hi,

    Behind my house are two large cedars - about sixty to eighty feet tall. There is a pink Montana clematis growing into one of the trees. We inherited it from the previous owners - I would guess it is now about twenty five years old. It almost completely covers one side of one of the cedars. It is quite spectacular - though I personally do not like the scent. I have attached pictures.

    My concern is that I now have almost a wall of brown ropes near ground level. I am also seeing areas were the vine is so thick it is likely the tree will suffer underneath.

    We had one episode about eight years ago when a branch about half way up the tree broke off and we had to cut away the clematis to bring it down - the branch had a diameter of about ten inches and was extremely heavy. It seemed to take the vine a couple of years to recover and bloom well again.

    Right now, I feel I should be doing something, but what? Should I prune out all the brown vines dripping off the edge of the tree? (the main ropes are closer to the trunk). Will this kind of pruning just encourage more rampant growth? Should I hire someone to thin it out all the way to the top of the tree?

    I am hesistant because I am not sure of the consequences of action versus non-action in this situation.

    Thanks,

    WCG
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    11,168
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    The trees are cypresses of some sort, probably Thuja plicata; definitely not cedars (Cedrus).

    It is likely that the Thuja branches covered by the Clematis will die off through being shaded out, though the rest of the tree should be OK.

    Cutting out the "wall of brown ropes near ground level" would probably result in all the Clematis dying, as it would no longer be connected to its roots. If you want to be rid of the Clematis, that would do it, but the result (lots of dead Clematis hanging in the tree) would look ugly for several years until it all rotted away. Pulling the dead Clematis out would be close to impossible.
     
  3. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    The trees are different from each other. For the last fifteen years I have believed the one without the clematis is a western red cedar.

    I wasn't sure of the other but cypress fits.

    I will have to take another look at the second one.(my two trees only show up in the first two pictures, the third picture shows my neighbours tree which is the same variety as the one with the clematis)

    The wall of brown vines are coming off the outside edge of the tree. The main ropes of the clematis are up the centre.

    If nothing else, the birds love nesting in it.

    Thanks,

    WCG
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,816
    Likes Received:
    598
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Wonderful display, which would have taken years to develop. Unlike when training them onto the comparatively limited and defined spaces of arbors, pillars or trellises when you are growing climbers onto trees to produce an effect like this there is no regular pruning. The clematis will not be likely to kill the trees, all of those which I can see in these shots are western redcedar.
     
  5. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    Update on the clematis:

    Unfortunately, it looks like much of the clematis suffered winter kill. We have only been able to find new growth on the first fifteen feet of the stems deep inside the tree. All the outside growth is dead. We are carefully checking each stem for life and then pruning as carefully as possible.

    It is a dusty, messy job and seemingly neverending. We are hoping to get the bulk of the dead stuff that we can reach out of the way. Huge matted tangles of it have fallen and are smothering rhodos and other shrubs growing underneath.

    It is really sad that this happened. I guess some part of the combination of high winds, alternating downpours, freezing temperatures and snow load were just too much for it.

    I can see we will be cleaning up for awhile.

    WCG
     
  6. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    865
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Coquitlam, BC
    Sorry to hear of the sad news, WCG. It was fantastic. But, in general, with the montanas, it should be up there and growing again in no time.

    I have a C amandii climbing up a cedar that has reached about 25 feet. I should be expecting a wall of fragrant white flowers starting about now. But instead, it has suffered the same fate - about 2/3 of it is lying in an untidy heap on the ground. In our case, it was the snow load that dragged the vine down.
     
  7. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Victoria Australia [cool temperate]
  8. erin_juniper

    erin_juniper Active Member

    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    wow, the pictures are beautiful. I saw this with a wisteria once. So awesome.
     
  9. MickiS

    MickiS Active Member

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North coast rainforest B.C. Canada
    What a fantastic display. I hope by now your clematis is making a good comeback. I live in a zone 5 with heavy snowfall and fluctuating winter temperatures. Is the Montana Clematis hardy in this area? My yard is surrounded by coniferous trees and I would love to have such a lovely plant climb one or more.
    Thanks to anyone with advise.
     
  10. westcoastgarden

    westcoastgarden Active Member

    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Maple Ridge, Canada
    It will be years before the montana recovers. I spoke with Mike Lascalle at Amsterdam Nurseries in Maple Ridge today. He said everyone with a Montana lost it this year. He tells me it was the extreme weather fluctuation - so it probably isn't good for an area that regularly gets that kind of weather. What a mess. I have all kinds of dead stuff coming down and the cedar is bare underneath. So annoying.
     
  11. MickiS

    MickiS Active Member

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North coast rainforest B.C. Canada
    Thank you for the information. I am disappointed but not as much as those who lost their lovely plants I am sure. I will try to find another vine that will be hardy in my area.
     

Share This Page