Pruning Crepe Myrtle Bush

Crape-myrtle-1Crepe Myrtle is popular plant for the spring and summer months. These trees and bushes can grow quickly and do require time and attention.  The best way for pruning crepe myrtle bush is treat pruning as an art form and science. Read below for more info about landscaping crape myrtle..

Poor Pruning

  • Crepe myrtles have the potential to be wonderful small trees if they aren’t chopped to their knees annually. Luckily, crepe myrtles are resilient and can tolerate the topping or shearing that some folks insist on giving them. Here are the downsides to pruning a crape myrtle back to an ugly 3- to 4-foot nub every year.
  • Severe pruning encourages rapid new growth, however the new branches are so long and weak that they can’t support the weight of the flowers. Sometimes the branches snap off under the weight.
  • Allowing too many trunks to grow or cutting the plants back too far will result in a shrubby plant whose densely packed foliage produces fewer, later blooms and is more susceptible to powdery mildew.

Correct Pruning

Prune in late winter is the is ideal to start trimming. Southern states can prune as early as February, but some northern states should wait unit early spring in March.

  • Remove suckers at the base, crossing or rubbing branches, and branches growing inward toward the center of the plant.
  • As the tree grows, gradually remove all side branches from the main trunks up to a height of 5 feet or so.
  • Cut back to another branch, to just above an outward-facing bud on a branch, or to the branch collar (a swollen area where the branch joins the trunk). Never leave lone or clustered stubs.
  • Try to remove unwanted branches before they get thicker than a pencil.
  • It’s unnecessary to cut off old seed heads, but if you do cut them, this should not damage plant.

The theory behind pruning a crepe myrtle properly is leaving “less is more in the long run”.  Leaving too much on the tree will clutter up the branches and blooms.



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