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Clematis gone wild

Help, please! I've just moved to the house next door to my old house. There's a clematis in our new garden which I used to admire from afar when it flowers in May. It has been allowed to run riot, completely smothering the tree underneath it (Which I didn't even know existed until today!). I need to sort this Clematis out ASAP because it is preventing me getting to the very rotten fence behind it, which I need to fix before winter. How far can I go chopping it back? Underneath the current year's growth everything looks woody and tangled. I'm worried I might kill it off, but I'm also concerned about the tree underneath. I can't tell what kind of tree it is, because none of the foliage is visible, swamped by Clematis! Any advice gratefully received! Pics attachedimageimageimageimageimage


  • Ladybird4Ladybird4 Posts: 36,199

    Hi Michelle. That is one of the Clematis montana group and these are extremely rampant plants (but beautiful) and the ideal time to prune them is directly after flowering which is usually Spring. If you were to cut it as hard back as you like now, you will sacrifice next years flowers but the plant will reward you the year after next and you can keep it more within the bounds you like.

    Cacoethes: An irresistible urge to do something inadvisable
  • Excellent answer and advice.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,134

    Looks terrific Michelle. They're great plants and almost impossible to kill no matterhow hard you hack them back ! 

    The woman across the road from me has  a white one covering a shed or garage at the back of her house. I get a lovely view of it in spring. It's stunning. image 

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Thank you all for your rapid responses and kind comments. I'm now much more confident to take the plunge! I think putting up some trellis to train it up and away from the tree might be the way to go with it, so the poor long-suffering tree currently underneath it can have some light and air (assuming it's not already too far gone to save, of course!

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