A word about pruning crape myrtles

It never ceases to amaze me how many people buy crape myrtles without giving a thought to how big they’ll get in a short amount of time. I say this because I all-too-frequently am seeing crape myrtles being cut back way too hard in late winter and early spring, even by landscapers who ought to know better.

WWalk4

Hacking back crape myrtles to 3’ stumps not only results in the loss of blooms for the the next two, possibly three seasons, but produces new growth that is weaker and less cold hardy than the older wood that was cut away. Not to mention the unsightly “knobs” that form around where the trunk is repeatedly cut year after year.

20150327_crape

If you’re finding that you have to prune back your crape myrtle that severely, then you’ve probably picked the wrong plant for that spot. But if you really don’t want to go without a crape myrtle, there are a growing number of new dwarf cultivars that stay smaller, many of them small shrubs rather than medium sized trees. These new cultivars include:

But in any case, it’s still a good idea to know how to properly prune crape myrtles. Ideally, you want to only remove broken branches, and branches that are crossing/rubbing up against each other, or facing inwards towards the center of the plant.

041105308_pruning_lagerstroemia_xlg

When finished, the crape myrtle should appear thinned out while still maintaining it’s natural shape and structure:

crape

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Edible Gardening. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A word about pruning crape myrtles

  1. Pingback: Careful where you spread that salt and de-icer | The Garden Dude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s