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.
Is Pruning Needed?
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
- 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.
Know the growth habits of the crepe myrtle variety you are planting.
You would not plant an oak tree and expect a 4 ft. bush, so don’t expect any different from crepe myrtles. There are varieties like the Delta Jazz crepe myrtle from the Southern Living Plant Collection® that are tree form and can reach heights of 10-12 ft. On the other hand, 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!!!