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When To Prune Crepe Myrtle

The best time to prune crepe myrtle is in the late winter into the very early spring, depending on your region and temperate zone.

By: 
Canopy Lawn Care
January 17, 2018

First of all, is it crepe myrtle or crape myrtle? Or perhaps you have seen it spelled crapemyrtle too?  When it comes to this mystery, we may never know the truth. According to an article on Garden.org, you will find an argument for all three spellings depending on who you ask. Regardless of which spelling you choose, there is one thing that we can all agree on. We love crepe myrtles. In order to see these beauties their best, however, you need to know how and when to prune crepe myrtle.

When To Prune Crepe Myrtle

The best time to prune crepe myrtle is in the late winter into the very early spring. This is of course contingent upon the kind of weather your region is having in a particular year. We commonly begin pruning and trimming crepe myrtles for our North Carolina customers in late January through early February.

Crepe Myrtle Pruning Best Practices

Knowing how to prune crepe myrtle is the secret to getting the best growth performance from these delicate looking (although fairly hardy) ornamental trees. Crepe myrtle flowers blossom from new growth, not old wood, so annual pruning and regular maintenance are necessary in order to see the most rewarding results.

If you know how to trim crepe myrtle, you can successfully create more oxygen for the tree, which provides the plant with more energy for new blooms. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:

Trim crepe myrtle to maintain shape and prevent overgrowth.
Pruning should eliminate cross branches.
Remove suckers from branches and trunk.
Offer branches a hardy pruning to encourage new growth, but do not over-prune.

Crepe Murder

Crepe murder is, unfortunately, an all to common practice. It occurs when people are not sure when to trim crepe myrtles or just how much to prune. To offer some clarity, sawing off large branches of your crepe myrtle tree is not considered “pruning” and it is completely unnecessary in most cases of crepe murder.

crepe murder example
Image compliments of Southern Living

The truth is, this kind of aggressive cutting doesn’t harm the tree, but it is certainly not best practice. This type of hard pruning should only be done when the tree has become overgrown or is in need of total reshaping. Crepe myrtles are a fairly hardy species that regenerate growth quickly, however, homeowners should avoid crepe murder when possible because overall, proper pruning will encourage more flowering and that patterned bark that the trees are known for.

Do you need help with your crepe myrtle? Let the Pros at Canopy Lawn Care do the work for you. Contact us today or get a fast quote online!


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