Crepe myrtles are great for when you want to incorporate greenery into your landscape without taking too much space. These shrubs love hot climates and produce beautiful, vibrant pink flowers when they bloom–when pruned properly that is.
All too often we see crepe myrtles that have been severely butchered, destroying them of any chances to reach their full potential. This results in ugly stumps and weakened branches. This improper pruning technique is so widespread that it has been coined, “crepe Murder” but why do people continue to do it?
The most common reason people top crepe myrtles is because they’ve outgrown their space. If your crepe myrtle is too large, it’s better to replace it then it is to mutilate it. Then, make a wiser selection next time. Read the label on the plant so you can learn about its size range.
Downsides of Crepe Murder
While many people think crepe murder is benefitting their tree, it isn’t. In fact, it’s doing the entirely opposite. Below are some downsides to chopping crepe myrtles down to nubs.
- Unattractiveness: severely cut crepe myrtles are left looking like sticks
- Weak branches: severely cut branches will grow thinner and weaker, then won’t be able to support their blooms
- Stress: severe pruning will put the tree under tremendous stress, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases
- Uncontrolled growth: severe pruning of a crepe myrtle may result in bushy growth
The Correct Way to Prune a Crepe Myrtle
Now that you know why you shouldn’t perform “crepe Murder” here are some tips to correcly prune your crepe myrtle.
- The main objective to pruning a crepe myrtle is to maintain its natural vase-like form so that it can grow strong branches to support its flowers
- To keep crepe myrtles looking full, you will want to prune them in early spring, before breaking dormancy
- Remove crossed, diseases, or damaged branches
- Cut unwanted branches before they get thicker than a pencil
- Prune the tips of branches to remove old flowers
Professional Crepe Myrtle Trimming
Whenever you have questions about pruning, selection, or removal of trees for your commercial property, contact Grasshoppers, serving Orlando FL and Longwood FL. We have ISA Certified Arborists on our team that will happily provide you with guidance.