Never leave lone or clustered stubs. Keep reading for tips on growing crepe myrtle trees so you can enjoy these amazing plants year round. If you have neglected pruning for several years, your crepe myrtle may be overgrown. You can remove seed pods if you don't like the look of them, but it will not affect flowering the following year. The ultimate goal with crape myrtles … If you have a crepe myrtle that produces long seasons of blooms, then you may wish to refrain from pruning it. Here’s The Latest Update. Newsletters; Sign In. Prune a tree in the shape of a bowl to expose the inner branches to the sun with instructions from a sustainable gardener in … The next winter, select three to five well-spaced trunks, and cut off any others at ground level. It’s not too late to prune your crape myrtles now. This is the best time to prune if you are reshaping the tree, removing deep or weak branches, trying to encourage new growth or size maintenance. Unlike some other flowering plants, crapes will develop their flower buds on new growth-as long as you don’t miss too much of the early growing season you’ll hardly notice a difference in bloom time. Don’t feel bad if you don’t prune your trees. However, removing green seed pods immediately after summer bloom can encourage a second flush of flowers. After crape myrtles flower, small, brown seeded fruits form. That’s where we come in. Learn how to season this Southern kitchen staple in five easy steps. Often folks think they should have their crape myrtles topped each year, but the February pruning should not be a topping sort of cut, but a cut that may remove smaller selected limbs or fruit if needed. n this case, follow our four-step process to get beautiful plants. Southern Living is a registered trademark of, These Haircuts Are Going To Be Huge in 2021, 7 Paint Colors We’re Loving for Kitchen Cabinets in 2020, 50 Books Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime. It's okay but unnecessary to cut off old seedheads. Selections such as 'Victor,' 'Acoma,' 'Hopi,' 'Tonto,' 'Zuni,' and the Petite Series grow to 12 feet tall or less. The minute football season ends next year, treat the man of the house to a tractor pull, a paintball tournament, or a game of X-treme welding. What happens if you don't prune crepe myrtles? Don’t use dirty or old pruners. What would happen if I don’t prune them? This is someone who is ill informed on how to prune crepe myrtles correctly. Just because your neighbors butcher their crepe myrtles doesn't mean you should too. That lens is on a topic very near to my heart. Don't Chop!" And since the tree is smaller, it actually produces fewer flower clusters. Should I trim my crepe myrtle? They are too tall and I don't want to get on a ladder. While they are fairly hardy, there are problems that can arise if you don’t have suitable information on crepe myrtle care. They needlessly reduce majestic crepe myrtles to ugly stumps--in many cases, ruining them forever. ‘Tis the season to ditch your all-white palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter. Q: I’ve heard you say to prune crape myrtles back to where the wood is about the width of a pencil or your little finger. Unfortunately if you don't shorten first year growth quite a lot the tree becomes too tall to prune and you lose the flowers anyway. Any branches you leave untouched will be unaffected, so as with any tree, removing poorly placed or dead/broken branches can be done at any time. Stand back and look at the tree. Now while you can actually do light pruning work at any time of year, you are better able to see the structure of the tree in order to remove crossing branches, dead branches, or overly vigorous shoots, when the leaves are off. January 19th, 2020 8:30 pm, Jason on Many varieties have beautiful bark and growth habits that can be enjoyed all year if trees are not heavily pruned. This unsightly, ugly pruning known as crape murder is not recommended. They bloom all summer with no help. A: You'll delay summer blooms if you prune after new growth has begun in spring. In fact, it … I don't *think* this counts as Crepe Murder as long as I stagger the cuts (and don't make it a yearly practice), but please correct me if I'm wrong. So although I don't commit "Crepe murder "as pollarding has become known in the USA I do take those first year growths down to about foot above last years cut and remove a few second year growths then thin the remaining first years or the tree become too bushy. This unsightly, ugly pruning known as crape murder is not recommended. If you don’t prune them, you may be happy to hear that some types of can be expected to produce the most flowers! My follow up question is this: WHY is it necessary to prune crepemyrtles? What happens if you don't prune crepe myrtles? January 19th, 2020 1:37 am. Aside from those guidelines, you can prune your crepe myrtle to a shape and size that works for your yard. If you need to prune your crape myrtle to improve the structure of the tree, do this during the dormant season. Like many plants, a crepe myrtle tree can be encouraged to put forth a second round of blossoms through a practice called deadheading. © Copyright 2020 Meredith Corporation. It covers all aspects of selecting, growing, and pruning crepe myrtles. Topping crape myrtles causes them to sucker more at the base, leading to more pruning and more work to remove the unwanted sprouts. Christmas Morning 2020 Was The Coldest In 25 Years. Finally, you don’t need to prune a crape myrtle to control its size. Even trees that are too tall and full of overlapping branches can be saved by careful pruning. Many varieties have beautiful bark and growth habits that can be enjoyed all year if trees are not heavily pruned. First of all, pruning crepe myrtles is optional; if the plant is in the correct place and can grow to its mature size, let it grow! It is planted quite regularly in Gainesville landscape designs and is quite the head-turner with all of it's bright colors. It also blooms on new growth, so pruning now won't reduce blooming. Shape Trunks: If your crape myrtle is overgrown, select three to five main trunks to keep, and remove all other trunks at the base. Once it's done, it ruins the tree's graceful natural shape for the rest of its life. While we consider late winter to be the ideal time to prune crape myrtles, now (early spring) is also OK for pruning them. Before the idea of knowing how to prune crape myrtles, you should take a look at the said tree and ask if you really need to prune it at all.It is indeed good to prune crepe myrtles for it to maintain the tree-shaped, but it might not always be good when it comes to the health of the tree. Don't top the trees. Then repeat this process in late winter on each years new branches for several years until the tree has a full canopy, at which time you can cease pruning. Cutting it back to thick stubs each year makes these goals impossible. Don't let him near the saws and loppers. This not only creates an ugly, ... prune the top branches back 2 feet to a side branch. Pruning crepe myrtles prevents the tree from growing very lanky, so trimming back one-third of the branches will encourage new lush growth. Most crepe myrtles that have not been pruned tend to flower more heavily, which is another reason you may wish to avoid pruning it. Do Not Be A Crepe Murderer. How to Prune Dwarf or Shrubby Crape Myrtles. It will grow back very quickly. Remove suckers by cutting them off flush, or by ripping them downward so that you remove the base of the sucker as well. Here's how to fix past mistakes and prune them right. Each Saturday morning after football season ends, legions of bored men armed with saws and loppers emerge from their garages to commit "crepe murder." It isn’t necessary to prune Crape Myrtles, even if it can improve bloom production. Crepe myrtle trees have beautiful spreading canopies, and provide shade for an underplanting of impatiens and other shade-loving bedding plants including perennials, foliage plants such as liriope, fern, and hosta, and a variety of ground covers.They also can be underplanted with sun-loving bulbs because the bulbs usually bloom prior to the trees getting their leaves. Unfortunately if you don't shorten first year growth quite a lot the tree becomes too tall to prune and you lose the flowers anyway. How do you stop crepe myrtles from running? is from the February 2007 issue of Southern Living. But maybe your sin wasn't so acute. Last year, one of its members, Henry Pittman, sent me a copy of the club's excellent brochure, "Crape Myrtles: Four Seasons of Beauty" (yes, I know--they spell it with an "a"). If they are correctly sized for the planting location, crape myrtles do not need to be pruned every year. And then, you just need to thin out crowded branches and head back wayward stems. This Is How Cold It Was. If it takes a few tries to cut through a branch, and the cut is jagged, then it may get infected. Pruning Crepe Myrtles In The Summer This is how I like to manage crepe myrtles during the Summer months. As with any pruning project, you must have a specific, valid purpose in mind before you begin. Prune suckers as soon as they appear with sharp loppers as close to the roots of the crepe myrtle as Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. 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. FDOT Still Targeting March To Reopen The Pensacola Bay Bridge. But if you don't want to prune, then just let the plant grow to its natural shape. There's no set rule that we must prune crape myrtles. While pruning crepe myrtle trees is good for helping to keep the tree shaped like you would like it to be, it is not normally necessary to the health of the tree. Remove lower limbs that are thinner than a … The Right Way To PruneFor a beautiful plant, follow these guidelines. According to Dan Gill, LSU Ag Center Horticulturist, an unfortunate trend in crape myrtle pruning is to lop off their tops, which results in a tree reduced to large branches ending in stubs. If you don't need to walk under the branches or see through them to view oncoming traffic, you can allow the branching to start lower. You can prune to open up the inside of the tree for a natural look. Excuses for Crepe MurderExcuse: My neighbors all do it.Rebuttal: So if the neighbors start keeping Nile crocodiles in their pools, you'll be on the next plane to Africa?Excuse: The landscapers do it every winter.Rebuttal: They do it only because they need a paycheck.Excuse: The dang thing gets too big.Rebuttal: You planted the wrong crepe myrtle. With crepe myrtles, the tree doesn’t require pruning for health, vigor or branch structure. Thank you so much for the squidlike, comment, and angel blessing on my lens about how to prune crepe myrtles. A graceful tree quickly becomes a fencepost or hat rack. Pretty bark never appears. $3K Reward Offered For ‘Armed And Dangerous’ Man Wanted In Santa Rosa County, First Responders Put On Christmas Light Show For Children’s Hospital Patients, Shop With A Cop Makes Christmas A Little Brighter For Local Kids, steve on These simple and spectacular Southern cakes deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful, uplifting, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones. Make sure that your tools are clean and sterile to make good clean cuts. "Stop! It won't hurt if you dont prune at all, however, pruning will send out more new growth and Crape Myrtles set buds on new growth. Prune unwanted low branches all the way back to the main trunk. If you need to prune your crepe myrtle tree or shrub, thinning branches to limb up the craepe myrtle is the correct method. This unsightly, ugly pruning known as crape murder is not recommended. The whiplike sprouts will flower, since crepe myrtles bloom on new growth, but bloom time can be delayed by a month as compared to unpruned trees, and … Or, two, you can do as you mentioned and allow new branches to grow from the knuckles and then prune these off at a height of 8 to 12 inches or so above the knuckles in late winter. In South Carolina, the Spartanburg Men's Garden Club is working to end the slaughter. To prune a crape myrtle properly, first decide if it needs to be pruned. Sometimes you prune a tree to fortify or form it, sometimes you prune to please yourself. 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What happens if you don't prune crepe myrtles? If you prune, it is to create a specific look, natural or formal. Want to see more Southern Living videos? https://www.southernliving.com/.../gardens/stop-dont-chop-crepe-myrtles Many varieties have beautiful bark and growth habits that can be enjoyed all year if trees are not heavily pruned. I’ve never deadheaded and never will. Crepe myrtles can grow about 1 to 2 feet (30-40 cm) per season, so prune based on your desired tree height. This unsightly, ugly pruning known as crape murder is not recommended. Lofty GoalsThe objectives of pruning a crepe myrtle are to maintain its natural sculptural form, produce strong branches that hold flowers upright, and open up its center to reveal the smooth, multi-toned bark that forms on mature trunks and branches. Unfortunately this tree, as every plant does, has it's strengths and weaknesses. What happens if you don't prune crepe myrtles? This happens with all varieties, all colors, all ages. Multi-stemmed, shrubby crape myrtles usually don’t need pruning at all, unless they’re growing unevenly. Can they both occur during the same rolling year, or should there be a year of rest between? Home. JoshK47 on July 10, 2012: this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Try to remove unwanted branches before they get thicker than a pencil. Restoring a Butchered PlantIf you've beheaded a big crepe myrtle to within a few feet of the ground (see photo below right), there's only one solution. You've only rounded off, or "hat-racked," your crepe myrtle, cutting back all of its main branches to about the same height. ... if necessary. In the Alachua County area, you will see a tree that is absolutely gorgeous when blooming throughout summer. Crepe Myrtle Pruning Time for Second Bloom. Once it's done, it ruins the tree's graceful natural shape for the rest of its life. Remove Suckers: Suckers are sprouts that emerge from the base or roots of the plant, ruining the graceful shape that’s desired for crape myrtles. Crape Myrtles don’t need to be deadheaded. You absolutely do not want to hack off limbs and branches and cut the plant down to half it’s original size. If you prune them now they will send out much more new growth below where you make the pruning cuts. Each beheaded trunk grows a Medusa-like tangle of spindly whips too weak to hold up flowers. Punish yourself severely by watching Nancy Grace on TV, and then cut the sorry plant completely to the ground. Finally, you don’t need to prune a crape myrtle to control its size. If they are correctly sized for the planting location, crape myrtles do not need to be pruned every year. 21 September, 2017. Every crape myrtle will need minimal, selective pruning for the removal of seed heads to tidy the tree up. The trendy haircuts you’ll be seeing everywhere next year. Ideally, you don’t prune your crape myrtles until mid-February rather than a winter pruning. 4. Subscribe to our channel! Plus it's a tough job on a larger crape myrtle tree. Don't over-prune by lopping the trunks close to the ground. Pruning as late as May will likely cause some delay in bloom time, and pruning later than May may delay bloom noticeably but will not harm the tree. Propagate crepe myrtles from hardwood cuttings taken in winter. Don't murder the crape myrtles when pruning. Every crape myrtle will need minimal, selective pruning for the removal of seed heads to tidy the tree up. Cut back to another branch, to just above an outward-facing bud on a branch, or to the branch collar (a swollen area where the branch joins the trunk). We thought so highly of its advice that we visited Spartanburg to see firsthand what they were talking about so we could tell you. Once it's done, it ruins the tree's graceful natural shape for the rest of its life. Crepe myrtle trees are popular with home gardeners for their clusters of beautiful flowers and unique peeling bark. Remove suckers at the base, crossing or rubbing branches, and branches growing inward toward the center of the plant. I have Crape Myrtles that I haven't pruned in years. All Rights Reserved. Late winter (right now) is the best time to prune a crepe myrtle, because it's leafless and you can easily see all of the branches. Finally, a word to you ladies. Follow the instructions from "The Right Way To Prune" above, and you'll have an attractive tree within five years. Once it's done, it ruins the tree's graceful natural shape for the rest of its life. You need to be pruned beheaded trunk grows a Medusa-like tangle of spindly whips too weak to hold flowers... The saws and loppers it actually produces fewer flower clusters ruins the tree up clean.. Remove lower limbs that are too tall and I do n't prune crepe myrtles prune '',... 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