clematis protection

(Question)

Hi, I have a gorgeous old clematis at least 15 years old that grows next to and intertwines with a really nice large rosebush. Unfortunately the clematis wood is located in the path of upcoming construction work and I need to protect it (perhaps lay down with soil on top?) or transplant it this month (August). The rosebush is about two feet away and easier to protect. The clematis is no longer flowering this season. Do you know how best to save it and if it needs to be transplanted temporarily and returned next spring, do you know of any Toronto clematis experts I could hire to do so? Thanks!

(Answer)

The best time for transplanting clematis is in early spring or after leaf drop when it is dormant, so if it is at all possible to postpone your construction this would be ideal. If you must move it at this time of the year, make sure you dig as large a root ball as you can and apply a layer of mulch around the base of the clematis to allow more time for the roots to develop before the soil freezes. Water the soil well before and after transplanting.  If the clematis vine is very large, you should consider pruning it back so that you can more easily handle it. Another option would be to carefully tie all the stems together on a trellis during the construction and then put them back on your rose when you are finished the work. You should not bury the plant with soil, especially at this time of the year.  There are no Canadian Clematis Societies so I would suggest that you find a reputable landscaper to do the work for you.