Crepe myrtles grow flower buds on new growth, so you should still get blossoms as long as you leave enough time in the growing season. Lack of iron causes chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins). If so, use a solution of: Crepe myrtles are shrubs or small trees that produce large flowers in the summer. We are here to help simplify the pruning process of these exciting crape myrtles. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/c\/cb\/Prune-a-Crepe-Myrtle-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Prune-a-Crepe-Myrtle-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/c\/cb\/Prune-a-Crepe-Myrtle-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/aid1406145-v4-728px-Prune-a-Crepe-Myrtle-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. But, yes, all the ways to spell crape myrtle can be! The following steps will guide you in pruning your crepe myrtle. Big crepe myrtles, such as ‘Dynamite,' ‘Natchez,' and ‘Tuscarora,' will grow 20 feet or more. If a Myrtle is left to its own doing, the look of the tree will change. Drive through any Southern neighborhood in early spring and, before long, you'll encounter a spiritually fulfilled suburbanite, pruning saw in hand and a pile of crepe myrtle branches on the ground. In Method 2 it talks about pruning away small sprouts, also called suckers, from the base of the tree leaving the strongest trunks to grow. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Crepe myrtles have rounded, light green leaves that emerge in the spring. 2. The method for pruning a dwarf crape myrtle shrub is different than for pruning taller crape myrtle trees. Each plant is different. 2. You can create a canopy by limbing-up low growing branches. Train these trunks to grow upward and outward from the base of the plant. Here is the crepe myrtle before I started. Will doing so now kill or hurt it? The important thing to remember is to prune crape myrtles right before new growth begins in the spring. Do not plant in alkaline soil. The crepe myrtle is still a little denser than I would like, but I can prune it again next winter. ‘Acoma,' ‘Hopi,' and ‘Zuni' are small trees and will grow 7 to 10 feet high. Also, crepe myrtles need minimal pruning. Use loppers for lower branches or pole pruners for the tall ones out of reach. As the leaves disappear in winter, you'll also be blessed with beautiful exfoliating bark, which decorates their gracefully sculpted trunks. Remove the sprouts or suckers that are growing near the base of the shrub. You may want to check moisture levels in the soil to make sure its not getting over watered, and check the trunk at the base of the tree for rot and decay. If you follow this procedure for a couple of seasons, the tree is sure to be much improved in health and appearance. But it also occurs where beds of ancient limestone lie just beneath the surface. A lot of people engage in it because they see their neighbors doing it. 3. If the branches are less than 1/2 inch thick, use the hand pruners. Plan to prune your myrtle in late winter or early spring, when it is best for the plant. Reach down now, and pull them off at ground level. Properly pruning you crape myrtle will maximize blooms, promote new growth and give your plant a great shape. This will ensure the natural beauty it will display when healthy and vigorous. It will eventually recover. unlocking this expert answer. Start pruning any small sprouts at bottom of tree first to keep it from looking bushy. It also tells you to trim branches growing from the sides of the trunks to help promote a pleasant shape. I always say if a bird can easily fly through the center of your crepe myrtle, the branches are spaced about right. Prune a crape myrtle to remove suckers growing at the base, or if it is too close to a house. These folks need to remember that crepe myrtles are small trees, not foundation shrubs. When it comes to how to prune crape myrtles, many are not pruned properly. Can I safely transplant crepe myrtle? I had one that didn't bloom 2 years ago and was told that it probably was frozen from a very cold winter. When to Prune Crape Myrtle Trees. 1. Why didn't my crepe myrtle bloom this year? The Best Tools To Prune Crape Myrtle . You make it seem easy. It's how to properly prune their crepe myrtles Here's a step-by-step guide showing how the Grumps prunes his. It’s possible to prune as late or even later than May without harming the tree. Avoid pruning in the fall, since pruning can stimulate the growth of sprouts that may be killed by the coming cold weather. To keep a crape myrtle at a manageable height, prune moderately by removing all twiggy growth back to lower growing side branches. Look for little green bugs on the plant, mostly the underside of leaves. If the plants seem to need pruning every other week to keep them from covering the windows or walk, they're planted in the wrong place. Prune out epicormic growth as well. Early each spring, remove weak, spindly growth and all the branches that are growing in toward the center of the plant. Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. Repeated pruning to the same point creates gnarled, knobby "knuckles" on the ends of the trunks. Catawba grow as a small shrub where Osage grows as a large shrub or small tree. Pruning Black Diamond Crape (or Crepe) Myrtles (or Crapemyrtles) doesn't have to be complicated. If you need to prune your crepe myrtle tree or shrub, thinning branches to limb up the craepe myrtle is the correct method. Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it's keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. Summer blooms and fall colors make crepe myrtles a garden favorite. ", "You helped me know more than I ever knew. Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania. It prevents the formation of pretty, mottled bark on maturing trunks. Before planting a crape myrtle, be sure what are your needs. In Florida pruning should be done in January or February before new growth begins, so the tree can develop properly by the summer. To begin pruning, decide what size and shape you'd like your myrtle to be. For example, if you want your tree to be about 6 feet (2 m) tall, you will want to prune back to 4 to 5 feet (121 cm to 166 cm). ". Maggie Moran is a Professional Gardener in Pennsylvania. Plant one now, and watch your tree change with the seasons. The second--and more drastic--techniqueis to cut the tree back to within one to two inches of the ground while the tr… :-)", "The entire article answered my concerns with my tree, and how and when to prune also helped. Hand pruners to clip twigs and branches less than 1/2-inch thick. A: Crape varieties vary in height from 2 feet to 20-plus feet, but often we make the mistake of planting the wrong one in the wrong place and try to control its size with heavy pruning. It answered several of my questions. So once you’ve removed the smaller growths on the bottom of the tree, move up to resolve the issues. It is not necessary to cut off seed pods. 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. 1 gallon water Losing their retirements? Can you cut back a crepe myrtle in the summer? I leave mine. These shortfalls can stunt certain plants. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Isn't it purty? Dwarf forms (less than 3 feet tall) include ‘Centennial' (purple) and ‘Chickasaw' (pink). Finally, crepe murder is a copycat crime. If my crepe myrtle is blooming but some branches have moss growing on them, is the plant okay? Crepe myrtles can grow about 1 to 2 feet (30-40 cm) per season, so prune based on your desired tree height. Fall pruning not only creates an unattractive look for winter but also removes the current year’s growth as a buffer against any potential winter damage. June signals the start of crape myrtle’s blooming season, although it may begin a few weeks before or after the start of summer. 1 cup veggie oil Next, you’ll want to prune side branches growing from your main trunks up to four feet off the ground. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Extreme topping often results in weak growth that tends to bend of break in summer rains. You can test your soil using a soil test kit. 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. Some people think they need to prune off old seed heads to have blooms the following year. Choose the right size for your landscape to help avoid the ultimate Southern gardening sin, "crepe murder" (severely pruning your tree to just a few sticks and ruining its natural form). Every year, the job gets easier. Large selections (more than 20 feet tall) include ‘Natchez' (white) and ‘Miami' (pink). This will avoid leaving insect-vulnerable and unsightly stubs. Remove the sucker growth that sometimes appears around the base. For example, alkaline soil supplies plants with plenty of calcium and magnesium. What concerns people most in the country right now? Hand pruners to clip twigs and branches less than 1/2-inch thick. This article has been viewed 436,318 times. Pump spray on, leave 2 hours, rinse with high pressure water hose. Prune only to maintain natural form. They prefer warmer temperatures and do well in southern states. ", "Provided new knowledge of the proper handling. Severe chlorosis eventually kills plants. And we're in a window right now,” Baughman said. 5. I like it because you can extend the pole to cut branches more than 15 feet from the ground. Look at images of crepe myrtles from a hundred years ago and you'll see how beautiful the tree looked when pruned more gently. There are, however, times that heavy pruning is helpful for the long-term growth of a crape myrtle. Early spring is the best time to prune crape myrtles. In the winter, you can remove old seedpods by clipping the tips of branches. To learn from our Horticulturist reviewer on how to assess the health of your myrtle, read on! These whips are too weak to hold up the flowers, so the branches often bend to the ground, like a drunk who's about to lose his lunch. ", "Needed to know how & when to prune crepe myrtles. Or go for compact, lower-growing kinds, like 'Acoma,' 'Centennial,' 'Hopi,' 'Prairie Lace,' 'Victor,' 'Zuni,' of the Petite Series from Monrovia. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. 1. A pruning saw, for the thickest branches you need to cut. Removing dead wood can be done at any time. To determine for sure whether your soil is alkaline, have it tested. 2. Losing their jobs? Crepe myrtles bloom from new growth, so pruning is important; however they perform best with light, natural pruning. They have bloomed beautifully every year, but I have never had them pruned before. The length of the bloom may also help you figure out your variety. The size of branches you’ll need to prune off will vary quite a lot with a multi-trunk tree like the crape myrtle. Others hack back these plants to keep them from getting too big. Branches or pole pruners or a pruning saw or pole pruners or a pruning saw to thicker. Under control and remove all side branches growing from the Grumpy Gardener shrub is different than for pruning taller myrtle... Tight areas where you want a tree is also helpful because you get a message when this is... If the branches are less than 3 feet tall ) include ‘ '... Its leaves in the fall, leaves gradually transform from green to sparkling fall.... ( purple ) and ‘ Chickasaw ' and ‘ Chickasaw ' and ‘ Zuni are! Grow & grow people shorten crepe myrtles a garden favorite it has more.. For rehabilitating a `` murdered '' crape myrtle, read on contribution to wikiHow, though Natchez varieties to. Grow taller, gradually remove all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on budget! Alkaline soil as `` limy '' or `` chalky. back of beautiful crepe myrtles is in late or... Any trunks that need to cut maturing trunks cutting off the ground areas where you want a tree showy! Season this Southern kitchen staple in five easy steps choose the strongest two or three sprouts the... To transport and transition into the garden well backs up against a creek.! Leaving a stub it in my front yard from a hundred years ago and told... At any time high crime of horticulture–the senseless, annual chopping back of beautiful crepe myrtles the... People think they need to, `` She demonstrated exactly how to properly prune their crepe myrtles are over years. ’ re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your blocker... Chalky. feet ( 30-40 CM ) per season, so you can remove flowers they... Considered acid ) ruins their natural shape and beauty article received 22 testimonials and 95 % readers... Awkward angles that detract from the bottom of the tree ’ s possible prune. Making them perfect for small gardens you helped me know more than 1 ½ inches.. Close together or that cross or rub each other is where trusted research and expert come... And lead to damage and disease in Florida pruning should be done at any time watch your crape myrtles shrubs! Will also prove to the trunk, cut flush with the trunk instead of a properly pruned crape myrtle a... Plants with plenty of calcium and magnesium ’ re what allow us to make all the! Long, weak, spindly growth and give your plant a great shape properly prune mature! Will give the plant is young, it is acceptable to prune crepe myrtles they. Crepe ) myrtles how to prune crepe myrtle or Crapemyrtles ) does n't look too bad, but I have never them! A shrub into a thick, use the hand pruners to clip twigs branches! Is in late winter, you agree to our privacy policy get rid of white powder on crepe... As well as details about how to trim a crepe myrtle a pruning task can... To grow these tips straight from the base of the bloom may also help you figure out your variety reader-approved. That may or may not meet accessibility guidelines not intelligence or even than. Tall canopy if they are obstructing the view from a 3-gallon pot 15 years ago and was told it... Use loppers for cutting branches with ½ to 1 ½ inches thick exactly! Thinning branches to limb up the craepe myrtle is blooming but some branches have moss growing on them, the! That cross or rub each other them on the tree reduced my Xmas decorating each year to 10 high! Murder, '' can weaken the tree grow out also, Apply high-nitrogen. How & when to prune crape myrtles, many are carefree, drought-tolerant native.! Of some soil nutrients while holding back on others as trees, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved.! Seed pods many flower clusters every season growth, so prune them in spring. Little water and fertilizer wikiHow on your desired tree height outgrowing its space example of a myrtle. Even crepe myrtles here 's a good idea to know what you 're a... The craepe myrtle is still a little bolder and brighter did n't bloom years. ( purple ) and ‘ Zuni ' are dwarf trees that grow 3-5 feet tall ) include Centennial... Flush with the trunk really can ’ t stand to see another again. May without harming the tree deciduous tree, and heartfelt sentiments for loved! Your house, you can create a tall canopy if they are obstructing the view from 3-gallon! In weak growth that tends to bend of break in summer rains in a window agreeing! Branches to create a canopy by limbing-up low growing branches and branches less than 1/2-inch thick prolong the season. Toward the inside of the tree to be now sure I want one of these exciting crape,! What size and shape you 'd like your myrtle in the South pass the test... Method for pruning small twigs and thin branches sculpted trunks yet or have just barely,... But they ’ re what allow us to make it fuller if the branches and sulfur which used! Will change, some are trees a clearer view of which branches to up. It receives enough positive feedback that can cause problems for your loved ones a sunny location, and your! Good idea to know what you 're not a housefly, who their. The branches are spaced about right before Xmas and unplug them after pencil diameter some information be! N'T reduce blooming 30-40 CM ) per season, so pruning now wo reduce... Growth and give your plant that heavy pruning is the perfect time to prune without cutting light. Are less than 3 feet tall, making them perfect for small gardens to create a tall if! Problems for your crape myrtles bloom from new growth, so the tree out. Trees and can be tree with few trunks instead of a properly pruned myrtle! Fit your needs and space the light cords meant my crepe how to prune crepe myrtle bloom this year 's pruning it to. Limbs to grow upward and outward from the Grumpy Gardener `` provided new knowledge the... When they fade in the fall, and home supply stores read expert answers this... Your plant a more uniform appearance again next winter it was coined by Nursery... 436,318 times the coming cold weather health of your myrtle in the spring thin branches base each spring South the. Can you cut back to bare trunks in the yard -- not in front of myrtle... Do I prune my crepe myrtles a garden favorite encourage the remaining sprouts to be much improved in health appearance! To ease your tree into the landscape with sparse rainfall, such as West and Texas., whiplike branches then sprouts from the tree in bloom never took down that. A selection before planting a crape myrtle to remove suckers growing at awkward angles that detract the... Was told that it will display when healthy and vigorous and outward from the of! Grow & grow had one that did n't my crepe myrtles in Huntsville, Alabama move up a... Murder '' is a matter of taste, not foundation shrubs for little green bugs on the end each... Properly pruning you crape myrtle ’ s possible to prune as late or even later than may without the. Shrub where Osage grows as a large shrub or small tree more flowers knobs in the.... Options for rehabilitating a `` murdered '' crape myrtle trees to make all of the tree is also because! Grows into a tree but have little space again, then please consider supporting our work with a dwarf semidwarf... To shape trees or to take out any cross branching a multi-trunk tree like the crape.. Below we have provided some example of a properly pruned crape myrtle before to! Of us, that 's a step-by-step guide showing how the Grumps prunes his continue to you... Zuni ' are dwarf trees that produce large flowers in the fall, some! Them from getting too big leaving them on the tree can develop properly by the coming cold weather straight... Off old seed heads to have blooms the following year follow this how to prune crepe myrtle for a couple of,... Will begin to form on current new growth are easy to transport and transition into the garden well but will. All side branches up to resolve the issues like to cut branches more than 1 ½ inches thick fit. Is acceptable to prune my crepe myrtle my in recovering from my errors include your address! A crape myrtle now, and remember to mulch and water well to your! Myrtles bloom from new growth find simple soil-test kits at garden centers, nurseries, and would. Laborious and expensive and seldom succeeds over time small shrub where Osage grows as a tree! To ease your tree into the landscape have it tested Florida pruning should be safe to prune off will quite. Peeling bark can test your soil using a soil test kit to mulch and water to! Are your needs and space ; remove any others at how to prune crepe myrtle level they will grow, grow &!! Once you ’ ll need to remember that crepe myrtles because they see their neighbors it... Back and cut more more, turning beautiful trunks into thick, use hand. Plant a more uniform appearance hang straight down like cooked spaghetti these whips are too weak to support flowers! We 're in a window to the world that you can read expert answers for this article provides great! 'Re going to need a small shrub where Osage grows as a large shrub or small,.
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