crepe myrtle pruning

Pruning Crepe Myrtle Trees Correctly

The Crepe Myrtle Tree is a real favorite and can be seen embellishing many a garden with its beautiful flowers and fabulous foliage.

Not only are they beautiful but they are also very tough – they thrive in the humidity and heat yet are remarkably tolerant during a drought.

Crepe Myrtles In The Landscape

Although lots of people plant and admire these beautiful trees – it has to be said that not many of them prune them in the correct way.

If you prune them correctly the trees will maintain an elegant shape with copious amounts of flowers thriving in strong branches. These flowers also arrive a little earlier than they would on a plant which has not been pruned correctly or not at all.

When To Prune

Crepe Myrtle Trees should be pruned in the early spring while they are still dormant rather than in the fall. This enables the tree to bloom on the new growth and provide a delightful display of flowers.
So where do you start?
The best place to start when pruning this type of tree is at the bottom.  They produce numerous trunks which gradually crowd the plant as it becomes mature. In order for your tree to remain strong and healthy it should only have a few trunks so remove any which are not necessary.

They should have only between three and seven trunks – odd numbers are much more pleasing to the eye than even numbers. Make sure that they are well spaced so that they can grow strong and tall.
Any additional trunks and suckers should be snapped off close to the soil line, then start to remove the low branches.
Once you’ve sorted out the bottom you can turn your attentions to the top of the tree. Thin out the crown making cuts slightly higher than any bud which is growing in the direction you want it to grow.

Any limbs which are rubbing against each other or grow backwards should also be removed.  You should also trim out any weak growth which measure smaller than a pencil in diameter – these will not be strong enough to support the flowers.

Do Not Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees Incorrectly

Crepe Myrtle Trees have the potential to be stunningly beautiful, they are resilient and tough but if you don’t prune them properly they can be utterly ruined.  Some folks insist on cutting them back to an ugly stub every year but there are some real downsides to this.
1. The branches will not be strong enough to support the beautiful flowers
2.  Your tree will have fewer blooms than if you prune it properly
3.  Your tree will not be able to display the beautiful, remarkable colors and shapes of bark which are evident in well pruned specimens.  This can provide a point of interest during the winter months which has to suffice until the fabulous flowers return the following summer.

crepe-myrtle flower
If you prune your Crepe Myrtle Trees correctly you will be rewarded with a beautifully elegant tree adorned with delightful flowers to fill your garden with beauty. Contact us today for your pruning needs.