This is the time of year to do some pruning on your clematis. Clematis grows up really well and often dies back in the winter. So you have to do some severe pruning of your clematis in spring. First, you have to know which kind of clematis you have.
If you have a clematis that is growing up now and you see some little flower buds forming in the next few weeks or so, that means you have one that blooms on the old wood, such as the 'Duchess of Edinburgh', 'Nellie Moser', or some of the species type such as 'Henryi'. These types you prune after they are done flowering. You can whack them back to about 3 feet tall. And you want to do that every year in the middle of the summer so they don't get unruly.
Then you have some clematis like this one, which is called 'Niobe.' It will bloom on the new wood that grows each spring. These bloom a little bit later in the summer and towards the fall. These also need pruning and now is the time!
Cut back all of the dead growth until you find some live buds starting to grow. Just keep going at it, that's all you can really do at this point. Keep cutting at the clematis until you get back to that live growth. Removing all the dead growth is very satisfying.
It's finished. If you look down in the bottom closely you can see all of this new growth coming really nicely. All of this is going to grow up and by the end of the summer it will be back on top of the arbor again!
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