This practice results in a "witch's broom" appearance and a tree that is no longer in proportion. Losing their retirements? The trend to drastically cut back a crepe myrtle by entirely lopping off the upper section led to the coining of the term ‘crepe murder,’ which refers to the way many people find the winter stumps of crepe myrtle to be unattractive. Train these trunks to grow upward and outward from the base of the plant. Each plant is different. It is important not to prune the tops of crepe myrtle trees to make them bloom. It's how to properly prune their crepe myrtles Here's a step-by-step guide showing how the Grumps prunes his. Crepe murder’ also compromises the structural integrity of the tree and results in stunted growth and greatly reduced flowering. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. Crepe myrtles need full sun to perform well. Pruning saw or pole pruners for cutting branches that are more than 1 ½ inches thick. Crepe Myrtle Pruning. Avoid heavy pruning during fall because this will make the tree more vulnerable to winter damage, and it also means the tree will look unattractive through winter. Remember, they can vary greatly in size and bloom colors. A far better solution is simply to select plants that like alkaline soil. Christmas Tree Economics: Are Baby Boomers Killing the Christmas Tree Industry? The crepe myrtle is still a little denser than I would like, but I can prune it again next winter. The major nutrient most commonly deficient in high pH soil is iron. Also, tipping is impractical with large plants. If so, here is a pruning task everyone can agree on. Before you prune anything, it's a good idea to know what you're trying to accomplish. To determine for sure whether your soil is alkaline, have it tested. Prune crepe myrtle trees when you wish to shape them or if you find the branches are too close together for your taste, but for the most part, you do not need to prune crepe myrtle trees. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Murderers, take note! If you have a crepe myrtle that produces long seasons of blooms, then you may wish to refrain from pruning it. If you have a more traditional cultivar or crepe myrtle, which does not stay in flower for long, then pruning away spent flowers will encourage it to bloom again. The absolute best way to prune crape myrtles is to not prune them at all! Most crepe myrtles that have not been pruned tend to flower more heavily, which is another reason you may wish to avoid pruning it. These stumped branches will produce new twigs, and each year you should remove the twigs and cut back to the same place you previously cut. Fall Pruning Crepe Myrtle Trees As the weather cools, growth stops and the leaves begin to fall from the trees. I like it because you can extend the pole to cut branches more than 15 feet from the ground. Subscribe to our channel! There are arguments for and against pruning to encourage flower blooming, and a lot of this depends on the cultivar you have. Select these trees while they are in bloom. No matter how many times I tell folks not to chop their crepe myrtles into big, ugly stumps each spring, they do it anyway, maiming the beautiful trunks and ruining the natural treelike form. But if you don't want to prune, then just let the plant grow to its natural shape. When it gets older, this is … Crepe myrtles have rounded, light green leaves that emerge in the spring. The best practice to ensure good shape and health is to remove all of the tips of the tree. Crepe Myrtle pruning is important to make sure your tree flourishes. However, if you have already got a crepe myrtle taking up too much space in your yard, then pruning might be necessary for your situation. Planting, pruning and caring for it contributes to the beautiful blooming of crepe myrtle. Select a sunny location, and remember to mulch and water well to ease your tree into the landscape. Flowers on crape myrtle are produced on new growth. Choose the right size for your landscape to help avoid the ultimate Southern gardening sin, "crepe murder" (severely pruning your tree to just a few sticks and ruining its natural form). They take a naturally attractive shape with a rounded canopy, which will often reach as low as the ground. This practice should be avoided for a whole host of reasons, but if you do find yourself in a position where you need to prune back your crepe myrtle, there are several options you can choose that will not harm your plant or leave you with an ugly winter stump on your lawn. Drive through any Southern neighborhood in early spring and, before long, you'll encounter a spiritually fulfilled suburbanite, pruning saw in hand and a pile of crepe myrtle branches on the ground. 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