How To Properly Prune Your Crepe Myrtle

In late winter and early spring you will often see many of your neighbors pruning their crepe myrtles.  That’s actually an understatement. Most of your neighbors butcher their crepe myrtles, believing, wrongly, that cutting them back is the proper way to main this beautiful tree and promote extra blooms in the summer.  Unfortunately this misinformation, what we refer to as crepe murder, is rampant in North Texas, and the punishment is an ugly tree. 

You want to know how to prune your crepe myrtle?  Don’t do it!  

The best way to trim your crepe myrtles is to treat them like your large trees and prune and trim as needed.  You wouldn’t consider topping an oak tree at 20′ each year.  Yet if you look around your neighborhood, I’d wager that many of your neighbors are hacking their crepe myrtles so they end up at about 6′ tall believing that this will lead to better flower blooms in the summer.  A few years back, I even saw a guy use a circular saw to proudly cut through his crepe myrtle limbs that were 3″ thick.

Crepe Myrtle Murder
When people butcher their crepe myrtles in this way, all they are doing is creating big, ugly knots on the trunks of their trees (see the pic above.)  And then come summer, the few extra blooms they get will droop on spindly limbs that are too weak to hold the flowers weight.  

So, how do we recommend you trim a crepe myrtle?

  • Trim off any limbs rubbing against each other or rubbing on your roof. 
  • If you want to trim more, try not to trim anything larger than a pencil.

Crepe Myrtle TreeIf you want to see what good crepe myrtle pruning looks like I recommend a trip to the beautiful Dallas Arboretum.  Their crepe myrtles are used during their tour for the blind because of the beautiful sculpted feel of their untrimmed trunks.

If you have more questions regarding your lawn and landscape give us a call at 972-495-6990 or email our Founder and President, Ken Hyatt at ken@villagegreen-inc.com.  We’d be happy to answer any of your your questions.

 

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