Plain Gardening: Crepe Myrtle Pruning

Plain Gardening: Crepe Myrtle Pruning

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Plain Gardening

Crepe Myrtle Pruning

 

Crepe myrtles are a favorite flowering tree along the Gulf Coast.  They bloom beautifully in summer heat with lovelyshades of red, pink, white, and even watermelon-esque violet magenta.

Some gardeners prune their crepe myrtles hard in spring, but Bill Finch with Mobile Botanical Gardens says the best time to prune is now—mid-summer.  And it's best NOT to prune hard.

Instead, you'll get more blooms if you just look in the tree for seed pods.  They take a lot of energy from the tree, and removing them with a long-reach lopper allows the tree to use that energy for making flowers.

Low-hanging, one-branch, or dead trunks can be removed near ground level with a saw, but most crepe myrtle trimming should be done with hand clippers.  Clear away small shoots or new trunks at or close to the base of the tree.  In most cases, you should never prune branches larger around than your finger.

Learn more about crepe myrtles from the Master Gardeners at mobilebotanicalgardens.org.

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