Crepe myrtles are common in our landscapes because they bloom all summer long, peeling bark creates interest, and they are as tough as they are beautiful. This time of year you will see many neighbors and contractors pruning crepe myrtles, unfortunately many of them are doing it the WRONG way.
Many believe chopping down the Crepe is required to produce summer blooms– this is not true at all! Your tree will be just fine and bloom through the summer if you never prune it; however, your Crepe will bloom more profusely with larger blooms if it is lightly pruned from the canopy.
Others severely cut back their Crepes to control size. If the tree is too big for the space, you probably have the wrong plant in that space and should think about replacing it with something more appropriate. There are many varieties of Crepe Myrtles, some even maturing at a size of 5’-15’ so if the right variety is chosen, little maintenance will be required.
The best practice to take when pruning Crepe Myrtles is to selectively prune to promote its natural tree form and maximize blooming. This is done by pruning off shoots that grow out of the canopy, pruning out “suckers”, pruning rubbing or crossing interior branches, and keeping the trunks limbed up. Ideally, the tree should have 3-5 trunks and the trunks should be half the trees height.
Remember, blooms come from new growth so your pruning needs to be done before Spring. Please call me to schedule your Crepe Myrtle pruning– done the right way.