• Andrew Booth

Don't be a Crepe Murderer!

Crepe myrtles are a beautiful staple for southern gardens. Their popularity stems from their generous crop of flowering buds. Although crepe myrtles are usually vigorous and hardy, it makes life easier if you know what you’re doing when pruning them, to ensure their longevity and health.

Lopping off crepe myrtles not only results in ugly knots, but also leaves the tree with weakened branches. The lush growth that occurs at the cut sites appears like super growth, but is actually weak and more prone to disease and insects.

With that in mind, here are some common questions, we have the answer to:

1. Why should I prune my tree?

Sometimes, you prune a tree too fortify or form it, sometimes you prune to please yourself. With crepe myrtles, the tree doesn’t require pruning for health, vigor, or branch structure. If you prune, it is too create a specific look, natural or formal. You can prune to open up the inside of the tree for a natural look. For natural pruning, clip out potential problems like broken or overlapping branches, then remove smaller inner shoots. Alternatively, prune formal-style, removing outer branches to shape the tree to particular height or width.

2. When should I prune my tree?

How you prune your plant is tremendously influenced by you, your taste and desires, along with your unique landscape situation and how the plant fits in and functions in your landscape. Pruning your tree at the right time is imperative to getting that desired look. The best time to prune for that desired look is in late winter or early spring.

3. Why isn’t my crepe myrtle blooming?

If you pruned after the tree started bud production, you might have removed all the flower buds. But sometimes a tree can’t bloom because tightly crowded branches prevent light and air from reaching the tree center. Too little sun can also result in a flowerless tree. If none of these describe your situation, check the soil. Too few nutrients or too much fertilizer can also explain why your crepe myrtle isn’t full of flowers.

We all have questions now and then, and we’re here to help. With crepe myrtles, what is the most important thing to remember? Don’t cut unless you know for sure. Cutting too much can cause damage that can't be fixed. We’re always here to help you prevent crepe murder, so don’t be afraid to give us a call!

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