Can I prune a climber down to the ground?

marcia_oaklandJanuary 26, 2014

I have a Madame Alfred Cariere that's about 10 years old. It has two massive woody canes heading off to the left and one new shoot on the right side. The 2 woody canes now look pretty bad. What would happen if I prune to the ground, and just leave the one new cane? I'm tempted to shovel prune it, but I have a really nice clematis planted right next to it, and I'd hate to lose that.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

A more gradual strategy would be to take off just the worst one of the two big woody canes this year and leave the other. Then next year, after getting hopefully another new basal cane or two, take off the other big woody old cane.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bart_2010(8/9 Italy)

Why not take out one of the old canes this year, fertilize generously,and then,hopefully, when some more new canes sprout, take out the other old cane? seems a shame to SP it; sounds like it just needs re-juvenating...

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Campanula UK Z8

Actually, I am going to chance my arm and say go for it - off with its head. I have been quite brutal one several ocassions with New Dawn, Madame Gregoire Staechelin and yep, Mme Alfred Carriere, and chopped them to the ground (and New Dawn was done 2 years in succession). They did not fact, both MAC and MGS came back stronger than ever (although ND sulked a little for a year (hardly surprising) but is making a comeback now.

Further more, it will throw new canes from the base as long as you leave enough of the stumps for a dormant bud to emerge (so obviously, don't whack them off 2 inches above the graft, leave around 6inches and use a sharp pullsaw rather than trying loppers.

The usual stuff with a spring top-dressing and a bit of care and love next season apply.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can personally attest that you can cut off fully 1/3 to 1/2 of MAC and not faze her one bit. My approach was more like the gradual approach suggested by hoovb and bart (sawed off some major canes and left others) and not the beheading suggested by campanula (I fear that might produce a "coppicing" effect that could be hard to sort out). In all events, I would be surprised if MAC wouldn't survive, no matter what, especially with a little TLC.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before you cut any of it, is the plant budded or own root? If it's budded, I'd think you would pretty much kill MAC but probably have a great crop of root stock. Own root might rebound eventually, but I agree that eliminating the worst, oldest cane first then the next the following year is probably better. How do they look "bad"? If it's just thick, old, bare and woody, that's normal. If it has galls on it, I'd dump the plant and take measures already discussed here on the forum. Kim

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would suggest the slow deliberate method of pruning. I pruned a 5 year old Elizabeth Taylor that had grown 10 feet tall on 2 old 1" diameter canes very aggressively. Removed one completely and cut the other down to 5 ". I now have a Dr. Huey shooting up from the roots to deal with as the ET never resprouted.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:53PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Rose Rosette video lecture, City of Allen, Texas
Think I might have done a bad thing to my rose....
Hi All, I have a rose bush that was given to me, I...
Some new roses
My rose bushes have a lot of buds and are about to...
dan8_gw (Northern California Zone 9A)
Deja Blu vs Dr. John Dickman
I have and like very much Deja Blu. It looks similar...
Maryl zone 7a
Costco Roses
I was browsing on the Canadian website of Costco and...
jjpeace (zone 5 US/zone 6 Can)
Sponsored Products
Epicureanist Vineyard Cheese Knives - Set of 4 - EP-CHKNIVES01
$24.99 | Hayneedle
Minka Lavery | Java F753 Ceiling Fan
$239.95 | YLighting
New Classic Style Persian 3'x6' Super Kazak Rose Red Hand Knotted Wool Rug H5118
BH Sun Inc
Tay Tay Satin Nickel Four-Light Bath Fixture with Vanilla Matte Glass
$504.00 | Bellacor
Jackson Axis Daybed - Chocolate - 4429-38/2571-09/2571-26
$669.00 | Hayneedle
Filament Design Ceiling Mounted Lighting Concord 2 Light Ceiling Brushed Nickel
Home Depot
Vinyl Plank Stair Treads: Cap A Tread Flooring Sheridan Slate 47 in. Long x
$54.98 | Home Depot
Veneto Luce Victoria Dark Bronze Wall Sconce
$290.00 | Bellacor
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™