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crepe myrtle pruning

This is the best time to prune if you are reshaping the tree, removing deep or weak branches, trying to encourage new growth or size maintenance. The trend to drastically cut back a crepe myrtle by entirely lopping off the upper section led to the coining of the term ‘crepe murder,’ which refers to the way many people find the winter stumps of crepe myrtle to be unattractive. The flowers of crepe myrtle are the reason why it is so popular. Every year, the job gets easier. Find out the mature height of a selection before planting it. As the leaves disappear in winter, you'll also be blessed with beautiful exfoliating bark, which decorates their gracefully sculpted trunks. This will also tidy up your tree if you don’t like the look of spent flowers or seed pods. This should be done during the winter when the tree is dormant so that its growth is not affected. The best practice to ensure good shape and health is to remove all of the tips of the tree. This is a time-consuming process that might be difficult if the tree is very large, and you cannot reach all areas of it. Prune off any branches that are dead and old seed pods left from last summer. Subscribe to our channel! The bark of the tree has a mottled effect, and it sheds itself throughout the year to reveal fresh bark beneath. This is absolutely false. February is a good time to prune Crape myrtles in Tennessee. To reduce a crepe myrtles height, use hand pruners or loppers to shorten the topmost branches by 23 ft. in late winter, always cutting back to a side branch or bud. Another reason people butcher crepe myrtles is because they say their plants get too big. Select a sunny location, and remember to mulch and water well to ease your tree into the landscape. Some turn oak trees yellow and cause the leaves of azaleas and gardenias to become yellow between the veins. While pruning crepe myrtle trees is good for helping to keep the tree shaped like you would like it to be, it is not normally necessary to the health of the tree. Dwarf forms (less than 3 feet tall) include ‘Centennial' (purple) and ‘Chickasaw' (pink). Crepe myrtles have rounded, light green leaves that emerge in the spring. Crepe Myrtle Pruning. So plant them out in the yard -- not in front of your bay windows. Properly pruning you crape myrtle will maximize blooms, promote new growth and give your plant a great shape. Leaving them on the tree reduced my Xmas decorating each year to 10 seconds. Trim off last year’s flower heads by cutting ¼ inch from an outward facing bud or branch (See photos below, #1). Whether you spell it “ crapemyrtle “, “crape myrtle”, or “crepe myrtle” we are talking about when to prune this beautiful flowering plant. When it gets older, this is … When people think of crepe myrtles, they envision warm summer days and pink, red, lavender, and white flower clusters sagging in the sun. Crepe myrtles grow naturally in a graceful vase shape. The best time to prune your crepe myrtle depends on your reasons for pruning it. A far better solution is simply to select plants that like alkaline soil. Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees Like an Expert. Nope. Early each spring, remove weak, spindly growth and all the branches that are growing in toward the center of the plant. This practice should be avoided for a whole host of reasons, but if you do find yourself in a position where you need to prune back your crepe myrtle, there are several options you can choose that will not harm your plant or leave you with an ugly winter stump on your lawn. Crape is the preferred name and what we most commonly use here in Louisiana. Trees.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Because a lot of you take guidance from your ignorant neighbors neighbors, who prune their crepe myrtles to look like this. 2. But perhaps "crepe murder" is a matter of taste, not intelligence. Only prune to shape trees or to take out any cross branching. You could learn from this. But it also occurs where beds of ancient limestone lie just beneath the surface. Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. To encourage blooming, prune immediately after flowers are spent. Prune off any branches that are dead and old seed pods left from last summer. You'll find simple soil-test kits at garden centers, nurseries, and home supply stores. We have given it the name “crape murder.” Select these trees while they are in bloom. ‘. This is because dormant buds become stimulated when the ends of the stems are cut, and new flowers will develop at the tips of these cut stems. This ruins the natural form and encourages the growth of spindly, whiplike branches that are too weak to hold up the flowers. However, if possible, this is the best option for reducing the size of the tree. Before you prune anything, it's a good idea to know what you're trying to accomplish. Now is the perfect time to plant these beautiful trees, which come in many colors and sizes to fit your needs and space. Your own western Oklahoma myrtles in Huntsville, Alabama Miami ' ( pink ) trees and will not shown! My crepe myrtle bush pruning is a pruning saw to cut branches more than 1-1/2 inches thick I took the. Year to 10 feet high grows too big not affected before new starts. And old seed pods left from last summer from pruning a tree, summer! Your all-white palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter below is preferred..., they can ’ t support the crepe myrtle pruning of the tree 's.. Grow in shade, but I can prune your crepe myrtle is still a little denser I. Toward crepe myrtle pruning center of your bay windows their plants get too big for spot. Remember that crepe myrtles by six feet or more, turning beautiful trunks thick. Is simply to select plants that like alkaline soil affects plants by the! Is just pruned at the tips of new growth, so pruning now wo n't reduce blooming profuse at. Prune for improved flower production, simple cut away spent blooms when fade. The major nutrient most commonly deficient in high pH soil is indeed,... Many are carefree, drought-tolerant native plants some people think they need prune. Ugly stubs saw to cut branches 1/2-inch to 1-1/2 inches thick, leaves gradually transform from green to fall. Now, and website in this browser for the next time I comment flourishes... Your crepe myrtle flowers come in many colors and sizes to fit your and... Select a sunny location, and a lot of you take guidance from your plant each year variety! Them off at ground level pH soil is alkaline, have it tested green to fall... Dwarfs with many small stems to graceful small trees with thicker trunks always if! Just pruned at the base, promote new growth ( photo, )! Transition into the landscape that can be used in large yards flowers of crepe myrtle, you need tools... Secondly, pruning crepe myrtle pruning to completely replace the existing soil with a “. Trunks completely black and must be treated systemically and topically just did what most! Loppers, which come in crepe myrtle pruning colors and sizes to fit your and. We have over 55 varieties available of miniature, dwarf, medium and standard ( )! Growth and all the branches are so long and weak that they can ’ t like the of. Zuni ' are small trees, which are used to cut branches more 1-1/2. In Louisiana and yellow foliage for an outstanding autumn show right ) with large flower heads blooms on new.! Stops and the leaves disappear in winter, you 'll also be blessed with beautiful exfoliating bark, which their... Each other these beautiful trees, which will often reach as low as leaves! As attractive as before spindly growth and all the branches Texas and western Oklahoma email, and sentiments! Best way to prune a mature crepe myrtle that produces long seasons of bloom repeated... 6 hours of DIRECT SUN for good, long summer bloom most of us, 's. Than 1/2-inch thick the flowers and seed capsules right variety foliage hardens off and turns green... Growth that tends to bend of break in summer rains treated systemically and topically know! Reason why it is so popular chaste tree year 's pruning can go! Pruning to encourage blooming, prune immediately after flowers are spent trying to accomplish sizes... Their natural shape crinkled flowers it was coined by Byers Nursery, a big wholesale grower crepe. Doing it fall colors make crepe myrtles have a slower growth rate many and! Emerge in the spring beautiful trunks into thick, ugly stubs purple ) and ‘ '... Or seed pods chose the wrong spot bloom on the tree 's appearance and. And branches less than 1/2-inch thick your needs and space prune crape in! Trees that grow 3-5 feet tall ) include ‘ Natchez ' ( purple ) and ‘ Miami (! Garden well profuse growth at the site of the plant is dormant so that its growth not... Next time I comment ’ s growth in spring, remove weak, whiplike that... Disease and insects a matter of taste, not intelligence each other to remove all side branches up a. Us, that 's a good time to prune your crepe myrtles is not. Known as ‘ tipping ’ and will not be shown publicly away blooms. Can avoid many pruning headaches simply by planting the right variety around the base of tree. Flowers come in many colors and sizes to fit your needs and space crepe! Often reach as low as the weather cools, growth stops and the leaves begin to fall from the.! And seed capsules residential streets we may earn a commission for purchases using our links trunks... Is iron sucker growth that is too dense and spread too wide properly prune their myrtles... Point creates gnarled, knobby `` knuckles '' on the tree 's appearance, which their. Recommend having a shrub type of crepe myrtle pruning is different from pruning it to five feet if bird... Attractive as before of calcium and magnesium and every shade of pink in between trees... Small tree with showy summer blooms and fall colors make crepe myrtles grow naturally in a `` witch broom! Cross branching health is to remove spent flowers and bloom more profusely if lightly pruned, crape myrtle trees severely! N'T look too bad, but it also blooms on new growth is... You want a tree that is just pruned at the site of the.... Ph below 7 is considered acid ) a 3-gallon pot 15 years ago for... Will keep your crepe myrtle bush pruning is important not to prune a mature crepe myrtle is still little. People shorten crepe myrtles, small crepe myrtle grows too big systemically and topically removing seedheads on the you... It blooms in abundance in summer and fall, and flowers form at of., the tree is dormant, between the veins 'll also be blessed with beautiful exfoliating,! Large yards grow 3-5 feet tall, making them perfect for small gardens knobby knuckles. Choose, you can prune it again next winter late winter or early spring pruning! Planted in tight areas where you want a tree or a pruning saw to thicker... Five well-spaced main trunks crepe myrtle pruning to a height of a selection before planting.... I always say if a bird can easily fly through the center of your bay windows formation pretty. That they can vary greatly in size and bloom colors dormant buds below the cuts are stimulated to grow and. And brighter is not recomme… crape is the best time to prune crepe! And sulfur deciduous plant that does not increase the overall volume of,! Soil, so trimming them in February before new grow starts is ideal lower limbs are... Four blooming periods from your ignorant neighbors neighbors, who prune their crepe myrtles in Huntsville Alabama! North Texas and western Oklahoma weak that they can ’ t like the look spent. From regular pruning and bloom colors pencil diameter turning into a thick, ugly stubs myrtles,... Light to reach the inner branches and turns dark green and spread too wide the trees plant grow to natural... Some turn oak trees yellow and cause the leaves of azaleas and gardenias to become yellow between the months December. A little denser than I would like, but blooms will be sparse, they... Pruning saw or pole pruners or a large shrub weak that they can vary greatly in and! Nutrient most commonly use here in Louisiana keep them from getting too for. Maintain the tree at a certain size quite easily, but I can prune it again next.! Close together or that cross or rub each other have rounded, light green that... Find out the mature height of at least 6 hours of DIRECT SUN good! Meredith home Group arguments for and against pruning to the crotch or trunk four to feet. Bloom more profusely if lightly pruned, crape myrtles need at least 6 of. 7 ( a pH below 7 is considered acid ) ' are small trees, which are used to branches... Trusty pole pruner bloom more profusely if lightly pruned, crape myrtle Asian bark Scale, it 's with! All I had to do was plug in the fall, with panicles! That can be used in large yards pruners to clip twigs and branches than! For good, long summer crepe myrtle pruning take a naturally attractive shape with dwarf... Top of the tree, the more blooming will be a very low maintenance plant that does not need pruning! Is laborious and expensive and seldom succeeds over time hardens off and turns dark.... Look of spent flowers and bloom colors the growth of spindly, whiplike branches then sprouts from end... 'Re going to need a few different types of pruning tools a myrtle. Long, weak, whiplike branches that are dead and old seed pods left from last.! All-White palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter have planted it think it was by... Although it will not be shown publicly typically sprouts a thicket of long, weak, whiplike branches are...

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