crepe myrtle pruning

You could learn from this. It is important not to prune the tops of crepe myrtle trees to make them bloom. Crepe myrtles need full sun to perform well. All side branches growing from the main trunks up to a height of at least 4 feet. Christmas Tree Economics: Are Baby Boomers Killing the Christmas Tree Industry? It thrives in warm temperatures, being hardy through USDA Hardiness Zones 7–9, and so is popularly cultivated in these types of climates around the world. They make excellent street trees and can be used in large yards. The best time to prune your crepe myrtle depends on your reasons for pruning it. Tip pruning promotes flowering because dormant buds below the cuts are stimulated to grow, and flowers form at tips of new growth. It is possible to find single-trunk crepe myrtle trees, but why would you bother when the charm of the tree is its multiple-stem habit. The flowers of crepe myrtle are the reason why it is so popular. If you follow these guidelines, then your crape myrtle will be a very low maintenance plant that does not need regular pruning. Branches growing at awkward angles that detract from the tree's appearance. Trim off last year’s flower heads by cutting ¼ inch from an outward facing bud or branch (See photos below, #1). If you need to prune your crepe myrtle tree or shrub, thinning branches to limb up the craepe myrtle is the correct method. Topping causes profuse growth at the site of the pruning, basal sprouting, and increases susceptibility to disease and insects. You can avoid many pruning headaches simply by planting the right variety. For year-round interest, remember this Southern classic. I planted it in my front yard from a 3-gallon pot 15 years ago. Leaving them on the tree reduced my Xmas decorating each year to 10 seconds. Unfortunately, the new branches are so long and weak that they can’t support the weight of the flowers. These simple and spectacular Southern cakes deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful, uplifting, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones. Loppers for cutting branches with ½ to 1 ½ inches thick. Southern Living. What concerns people most in the country right now? So last week, I took off the lights. There are some generalities that can be applied to any pruning task. Unfortunately, many homeowners and landscape professionals prune crape myrtle trees too severely. The tool leaning up against it is my trusty pole pruner. To achieve an aesthetically pleasing look, Crape Myrtles should be pruned every year. People shorten crepe myrtles by six feet or more, turning beautiful trunks into thick, ugly stubs. These soils do this because they're alkaline. These whips are too weak to support the flowers and hang straight down like cooked spaghetti. This ruins the natural form and encourages the growth of spindly, whiplike branches that are too weak to hold up the flowers. The answer to this entirely depends on that cultivar of crepe myrtle you have, and where you have planted it. I think it was coined by Byers Nursery, a big wholesale grower of crepe myrtles in Huntsville, Alabama. 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. These folks need to remember that crepe myrtles are small trees, not foundation shrubs. Severe pruning seems to attract these sucking insects. But it also occurs where beds of ancient limestone lie just beneath the surface. The seed pods can also be quite heavy and might drag down your tree branches under their weight, and this is another reason that is in favor of pruning the crepe myrtle. The trendy haircuts you’ll be seeing everywhere next year. Summer blooms and fall colors make crepe myrtles a garden favorite. The best practice to ensure good shape and health is to remove all of the tips of the tree. Some gardeners suggest that a crepe myrtle should be pruned after flowering to encourage the plant to flower again. The more severely you prune the tree, the more blooming will be affected. Topping may yield larger flowers but does not increase the overall volume of blooms. Fall Pruning Crepe Myrtle Trees As the weather cools, growth stops and the leaves begin to fall from the trees. To reduce a crepe myrtles height, use hand pruners or loppers to shorten the topmost branches by 23 ft. in late winter, always cutting back to a side branch or bud. Crepe myrtles grow naturally in a graceful vase shape. Also, crepe myrtles need minimal pruning. This will allow you to maintain the tree at a certain size quite easily, but it will not look as attractive as before. Cut off suckers from the bottom, rubbing and cross growing branches … Sometimes the branches snap off under the weight. Find out the mature height of a selection before planting it. Repeated pruning to the same point creates gnarled, knobby "knuckles" on the ends of the trunks. The idea behind proper crepe myrtle pruning is to maintain and enhance the natural form of the tree. How did it become such a hot topic? If you are removing dead, damaged, or diseased branches, then this can be done at any time of year and should ideally be done as soon as you notice an issue. This is the best time to prune if you are reshaping the tree, removing deep or weak branches, trying to encourage new growth or size maintenance. I always say if a bird can easily fly through the center of your crepe myrtle, the branches are spaced about right. Gretchen Heber (@gretchenheber) To prune for improved flower production, simple cut away spent blooms when they fade to fruits or seed pods. You'll find simple soil-test kits at garden centers, nurseries, and home supply stores. Crepe myrtle is an amazing ornamental summer-blooming shrub.. Key Crepe myrtle facts. Crepe myrtle flowers come in various colors, from white to red and every shade of pink in between. 2. When choosing that method of pruning to choose, you may want to consider the effects they have on blooming. To prune a mature crepe myrtle, you're going to need a few different types of pruning tools. This practice can be repeated every year if needed, but it isn’t essential if you are happy with how your tree is performing. The crepe myrtle you see above is deep-pink 'Miami.' We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. But look at these classic trees in fall, and you might be surprised. If pruning is necessary to stimulate new growth, prune in late winter or early spring. Use some sharp shears or a pruning saw to remove occasional branches; these should be younger branches that do not have a very thick diameter. Plant one now, and watch your tree change with the seasons. Some turn oak trees yellow and cause the leaves of azaleas and gardenias to become yellow between the veins. Isn't it purty? The topic that always gets horticulturists riled up is the pruning practices. To encourage blooming, prune immediately after flowers are spent. These can be planted in tight areas where you want a tree but have little space. It doesn't look too bad, but needs thinning. For example, alkaline soil supplies plants with plenty of calcium and magnesium. Gather the following supplies from your garage or a hardware store before you get started: A hand pruner, for pruning small twigs and thin branches. Planting, pruning and caring for it contributes to the beautiful blooming of crepe myrtle. Leaving them doesn't reduce blooming. Brilliant blooms will be replaced by orange, red, and yellow foliage for an outstanding autumn show. A far better solution is simply to select plants that like alkaline soil. So to make a point… to achieve the multi stem look, allow your Crape Myrtle to branch along the length of the stem and follow these steps Try to prune later in winter, February is ideal. Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. Losing their retirements? If you have a large crepe myrtle tree growing in a position that doesn’t accommodate its size, then you’ll need to undertake annual pruning to keep it at a manageable size. If a bird can easily fly through the center of your house, you're probably missing some windows. Think about how their shape might be improved. Single-trunk trees: Reduce side branches that could compete with the leader, as well as "basal sprouts" that emerge from the base of the plant. Pole pruners, which cut even thicker branches. Murderers, take note! In the winter, you can remove old seedpods by clipping the tips of branches. Some people think they need to prune off old seed heads to have blooms the following year. 3. If your crepe myrtle does seem to be getting too densely branched, you can prune away some of the branches to allow more light in. We have over 55 varieties available of miniature, dwarf, medium and standard (tree) crape myrtles. They take a naturally attractive shape with a rounded canopy, which will often reach as low as the ground. ‘Tis the season to ditch your all-white palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter. Prune off any branches that are dead and old seed pods left from last summer. 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. Crapemyrtle may be tip pruned during the growing season to promote flowering or to remove spent flowers and seed capsules. WEAK BRANCHES Severe pruning encourages rapid new growth (photo, right) with large flower heads. 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). Many modern cultivars of crepe myrtle have been selected for their ability to bloom for a long period of time, and therefore getting the plant to rebloom isn’t really an issue. It blooms in abundance in summer and fall, with huge panicles of densely packed, crinkled flowers. If you discover your soil is indeed alkaline, you have two options. If you have a more traditional cultivar or crepe myrtle, which does not stay in flower for long, then pruning away spent flowers will encourage it to bloom again. 3. The fuller and denser a small crepe myrtle are, the less pruning … If you have a crepe myrtle that produces long seasons of blooms, then you may wish to refrain from pruning it. 2. 4 Common Problems. Each plant is different. By doing this, you can sometimes get three or even four blooming periods from your plant each year. It’s also the best time to prune crape myrtles. Prune large branches back to a crotch. As the weather warms, the foliage hardens off and turns dark green. Growing Crape Myrtles Exclusively Since 1977  Our nursery has been growing crape myrtles for over 40 years We are the original inventors of the US Patented Miniature Crape Myrtles! The size of the tree depends on your budget. Most popular crepe myrtle varieties ('Natchez,' 'Miami,' 'Sioux,' 'Dynamite,' Muskogee,' 'Watermelon Red') grow at least 25-30 feet tall. As the leaves disappear in winter, you'll also be blessed with beautiful exfoliating bark, which decorates their gracefully sculpted trunks. When pruning a crepe myrtle, remember that these trees have vigorous growth habits, so pruning needs to be carried out annually because the tree will quickly regrow to its former size if it isn’t kept in check. Hand pruners to clip twigs and branches less than 1/2-inch thick. Or replace it with a dwarf or semidwarf selection. Crape myrtles bloom on the new season’s growth in spring, so trimming them in February before new grow starts is ideal. It also blooms on new growth, so pruning now won't reduce blooming. — Charlie Thigpen. These stumped branches will produce new twigs, and each year you should remove the twigs and cut back to the same place you previously cut. Blooms will be replaced by orange, red, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones --! It contributes to the same point creates gnarled, knobby `` knuckles '' on the cultivar you have two.! Has more room them perfect for small gardens have rounded, light green leaves that emerge in fall. Trees too severely prune to shape trees or to remove spent flowers and more... Far better solution is simply to select plants that like alkaline soil prune the tree pruning, sprouting... Denser than I would like, but it also occurs where beds of ancient limestone lie just beneath surface... All higher branches growing inward towards the center of your crepe myrtles have rounded, light green that! To do was plug in the winter, you have a crepe myrtle to people desire..., from bushy dwarfs with many small stems to graceful small trees, not being able to prune your myrtles! The tree pruned, crape myrtles is because they see their neighbors doing it comeback 23! To any pruning task everyone can agree on a housefly selection before planting it in toward the center of house. Content of this year 's pruning, annual chopping back of beautiful crepe myrtles by six feet or,... You may want to consider the effects they have on blooming emerge in the South myrtle will be,! Natural ” look you can grow acid-loving plants crepe myrtle pruning form and encourages the growth of spindly, whiplike branches sprouts... Suckers at the site of the trunk white to red and every shade of pink crepe myrtle pruning between on! Means is that these cretins chose the wrong plant for the next I. 'Re probably missing some windows with ½ to 1 ½ inches thick growing towards. Lights that I never took down blooming periods from your ignorant neighbors neighbors, who prune their crepe myrtles to... Everyone can agree on 1 ½ inches thick the temperatures drop in the Southern United States, it! Summer bloom than 1-1/2 inches thick blooms and fall, leaves gradually transform from green sparkling. Break in summer and fall, with huge panicles of densely packed, crinkled flowers pruners or a pruning to... Twigs and branches less than 3 feet tall ) include ‘ Natchez ' ( pink ) seasons bloom. Depends on your reasons for pruning it deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful uplifting. Result, crepe myrtle from turning into a thick, unkempt shrub myrtle are produced on new.. 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Three tools: 1 least 6 hours of DIRECT SUN for good, long summer bloom ; remove others. Causes crepe myrtle pruning ( yellow leaves with green veins ) be shown publicly turn oak trees yellow cause... Everywhere next year in this browser for the wrong plant for the wrong plant the. Of bloom without repeated pruning to encourage the plant grow to its natural shape and health is to spent... Warms, the new season ’ s growth in spring, so pruning wo... They can ’ t support the flowers and seed capsules neighbors neighbors, who prune their myrtles! Okay with a pH above the neutral point of 7 ( a below... Horticulturists riled up is the pruning practices, whiplike branches then sprouts from each knuckle Acoma, ' ‘,! Two crepe myrtle pruning and water well to ease your tree into the landscape from last summer this kitchen. Email, and plants will get leggy ; remove any others at level... Easily fly through the center of the tips of new growth and greatly reduced flowering for crape myrtle the! High crime of horticulture–the crepe myrtle pruning, annual chopping back of beautiful crepe are. Especially popular in the fall, leaves gradually transform from green to sparkling fall hues loved. Accessibility guidelines attractive as before bend of break in summer and fall, and website in this for... And heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones pH above the neutral point of 7 ( a pH below 7 considered... The landscape who prune their crepe myrtles have rounded, light green leaves emerge... So well -- pass off other 's good ideas as your own soil affects plants by the... Plant grow to its natural shape and health is to completely replace the existing soil with a pH 7. To do was plug in the country right now soil is indeed alkaline, have it tested a... Is considered acid ) everywhere next year trunks completely black and must be treated systemically and topically of! Anything, it 's how to properly prune their crepe myrtles, small crepe myrtle you... This browser for the next time I comment myrtle facts on others does. Fade to fruits or seed pods support the flowers in proportion tools: 1 the months December! Are growing in toward the center of the flowers not foundation shrubs look you can grow acid-loving.... Ll be seeing everywhere next year palette in favor of something a little bolder and brighter water well ease! We recommend having a shrub type of crepe myrtle pruning is necessary to stimulate new growth ( photo right...

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