Mid-Winter Crepe Myrtle Pruning – Don’t Believe Your Neighbors

It’s late winter and all your neighbors are trimming their crepe myrtles so I thought I’d share a quick tip on how to trim yours.  Here it is…Don’t do it.  Or if you really feel the need, do it gently.  The best way to trim your crepe myrtles is to treat them like your large trees by trimming them very little.  You wouldn’t consider topping your oak tree at 20’, yet this time of year when you look down your block, most of your neighbors are whacking off their crepe myrtles at about 6’ tall and telling you they’re going to bloom better.   A few years ago I watched someone using a circular saw proudly cutting through limbs 3” thick.  

 Your neighbors are creating big, ugly knots on the trunks of their crepe myrtles and the few extra blooms your neighbors are getting will be on the end of thin, spindly limbs too weak to support the weight of the blooms, making the limbs droop. 

 How should you trim a crepe myrtle?  Trim off limbs rubbing against each other or rubbing your roof.  If you really feel the need to prune more, don’t trim off anything larger than a pencil.  Want to see what good pruning looks like?  Go to the Dallas Arboretum and check out their crepe myrtles.  The crepe myrtles are used during their tour for the blind because of the beautiful sculpted feel of their untrimmed trunks.    

In our business the yearly sawing that your neighbors are doing isn’t called “pruning”, it’s called “crepe murder” and the punishment is a really ugly tree.

 
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