Pruning Group 2 Clematis That Is Too High Up (Zone-6)?

I want to know how to prune a clematis. The clematis is called "Clematis Henryi" that has large white flower and is blooming now in my garden (zone-6, northern New Jersey). According to where I bought it, this clematis is in group-2 that blooms in early summer (from last year old growth) and fall (from this year new growth). Their on-line instruction on pruning group-2 clematis tells me exactly "where" to prune -- but it doesn't say "when".
I have searched this newsgroup, and I find this suggestion:
"Don't prune it except for deadwood, and do this in late winter or early spring."
In other words, I should not prune out the living tissue. But I want to prune it. The reason is that this clematis seems to grow up all the way on the top of the trellis, and leave the lower 2/3 of the trellis empty. I would like to encourage it to cover as much empty space in the trellis as possible. If I prune it very hard to 1.5-ft near the ground in late winter, I am hoping I may achieve this effect. But of course I don't want to kill it or forgo any bloom in the process.
My questions are:
- Can I prune it?
- Will I achieve the effect of covering the trellis if I prune it hard?
- Does clematis growing on the top of the trellis have more to do with lack of sun light and hard-pruning may not change its tendency? The trellis is facing west against a wall and only get sun light from noon to dusk.
Thanks in advance for any pruning tip or other suggestions.
Jay Chan
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Pruning group 2 clematis can be pruned lightly in both late winter or early spring as the new growth buds swell and again lightly after the first bloom flush to encourage later blooming. Hard pruning in late winter will reduce the size of the plant and delay blossoming until early to midsummer, but you will get a heavier set of flowers. Clematis will grow towards sunlight, so your reduction in size may not be very long lasting. I prefer to grow Group 2 clematis through a shrub or small tree, so that their 'naked' lower levels are not as noticeable.
pam - gardengal
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Seem like the key word is "lightly"; otherwise, the plant will delay flowering as you mentioned.

Oh well... Seem like I have chosen the wrong type of clematis for the trellis. But this probably is OK because I have already planted some 3-ft tall plants in front of the trellis to somewhat cover the empty space in the trellis.
I think I will not bother to prune it. I probably should spend the time pruning the roses instead of the clematis. OK, I guess I have one less thing to do around the garden.
Thanks for answering my questions.
Jay Chan
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