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Clematis Stem Wilt

Your clematis looks beautiful until suddenly the stems and leaves start turning black.  Though it looks bad your clematis will survive. 

The fungus that causes this disease enters your plant through wounds and cracks in the stem near ground level.  Fortunately new growth arising below this point will be disease free.

Reduce future problems by pruning out and destroying infested stems.  Disinfect tools between cuts to reduce the risk of spreading this disease.

As new growth emerges from the soil carefully secure it to the support to reduce the risk of cracking and damage.  Eliminating the entryways for the fungus will reduce the risk of disease.

In the future consider planting the crown of the clematis below the soil surface.  This allows the plant to produce new shoots below the point of infection.

Try growing small flowered clematis that tend to resist this disease.  Alpina, macropetala and the viticella types are a few to consider.

A bit more information: For a disease to occur you must have the causal organism (fungus, bacteria, virus) present, disease-promoting weather and susceptible plants.  Remove one of these factors and you eliminate the disease.  Keep this in mind when managing clematis stem wilt and other plant diseases in your garden.

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