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I'm pretty sure it'll be fine but my montana has not only grown long but has bulked out massively too, was hoping to hack it back to a more reasonable spread so it more so hugs the fence it's growing on instead of taking over the whole border. Guessing this wouldn't harm such a vigorous plant doing it at this time of year but anyone have experience of autumn pruning? Thanks for any help

Fairygirl

You can prune them at any time - but you'll sacrifice flowers - for quite a while.

To be honest - the way it is in that pic, is how they're ideally meant to be - a glorious, big sweep of flowers on a large, sprawling framework,  so a  narrow border isn't suitable for them,  unless you leave it for the montana only. If you want to grow other things in the border, it needs to be a lot wider. 

Pruning it back hard every so often is the only alternative, if you don't want to do that. 

Thanks Fairygirl, I know it's wrong time of year and it's not ideal to cut back that far but it's now bulked out too much. It looked just as good a few years back when it did hug the fence more, but now it's just grown into a tangled mess and is choking everything. It's not the length I want to cut so I guess I'll just have to potentially sacrifice flowers for the middle bulked out chunk and just have flowers on those further less bulked out parts 

Fairygirl

Yeh - sometimes it's just a judgement call. They can be a victim of their own success!  

Like any plant - if they like their spot - they can get far bigger than the books tell us too  

Iamweedy

I thought that as the montana is an early flowering shrub you should prune it just after flowering.

I would leave it as it is it's a wonderful specimen. (But then it isn't my garden it has taken over .)

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If you decide to prune it back a bit at present, you won't harm the plant but, as stated by Fairygirl, you will forfeit some flowers next Spring.  Now is the best time to take clematis montana cuttings., so you can use some of the material that you remove.

As it is late in the season. .....growth will slow considerably perhaps Spring would be a better time to cut back. .....also there is the possibility that the montana will give a second florish later next year. 

Fairygirl

After flowering in spring would be better, Mary - I'd agree,  but I think the problem is that it's outgrowing the space, and the OP needs room for the other plants there. It could be tricky going in there at that time,  if there are other plants growing away below, and in front, of it   

Iamweedy

Clematis montana cuttings!.  I don't  think I would dare to generate any more of these glorious plants . I am not good at throwing away cuttings.

I have two such plants on the long fence at the bottom of my garden, Then there is the two year old Rambling Rector at the other end .

As much as I love my C Montana there has to be limit .

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