Plants grown to cover fences, walls, trellis and pergolas tend to be vigorous and will have often made a mass of growth by this time of year. Autumn is time to untangle wayward stems and cut out the oldest stems to reduce weight on the plant’s support. Most climbers are trained into a framework of main stems to cover the support, with the side shoots going on to produce flowers. Excess growth needs to be kept in check to stop it outgrowing its welcome. Also cut out any weedy growth so that all the plant’s energy in the following season is directed into the strongest shoots. Training the main stems horizontally will result in more even side growth from buds along its length. Do remember that when you prune, there is a risk of cutting out wood that will flower next year, so avoid trimming climbers that flower before July.
What to cut Hardy, deciduous climbers and tough evergreens.
Where to cut Remove the tips of very vigorous growth to keep climbers in bounds and cut one or two main stems if there are plenty of others to take their place.
When to cut When climbers have outgrown their space or could be blown down. Otherwise, leave them until the recommended times for individual varieties.
Vigorous Clematis armandii must only be lightly trimmed in autumn
Prune honeysuckles straight after flowering