Its spring time and Murder is in the Air!!!
All around your town as spring
approaches you see beautiful large crepe myrtles that are just about to wake up
and start blooming being mutilated into knobby disfigured victims. This is no
way to treat your slumbering friends. Here are some quick tips to keep you from
becoming the local chainsaw wielding crepe murderer.
First, take a step back and decide
if pruning is even needed. If you are happy with the shape and size of your
tree why would you mess with it? If you cannot decide, have a heart-to-heart
with someone (a spouse, family member, neighbor, friend) before you do
something you might regret.
When you have decided to prune:
- Put down the chainsaw!! Use something less
dramatic like pruning shears, this will keep you from getting too carried away.
- Keep calm and try to be strategic with your cuts
to accomplish the desired shape.
- Some things you may want to consider eliminating
include: crisscrossed or rubbing branches, weak lower braches, old seed pods,
and thin branches from the center of the tree.
- Try to avoid cutting branches that are bigger
than your thumb.
- If it is necessary to cut larger limbs, try to
cut them to their base flush with the trunk.
- Apply some slow release fertilizer to help
invigorate your crepe myrtles spring growth, and bloom production.
Another tip is to know the growth
habits of the crepe myrtle variety you are planting. You would not plant an oak
and expect a 4 ft. bush, and the same with crepe myrtles. There are varieties
like the Delta Jazz crepe myrtle from the Southern Living Plant Collection®
that are tree form that can reach heights of 10-12 ft., while Early Bird crepe myrtles from the same collection will grow to a well-behaved 5 ft. tall.
Knowing the growth habits of the plants you decide to introduce into your
landscape can save you a lot of effort in the long run, and keep you from
becoming known around town as the resident Crepe Murderer!!!