Crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a shrub or small tree that grows in the southeastern United States and parts of Mexico. It’s often confused with other species of myrtle, such as Lagerstroemia indica ‘Variegata’, Lagerstroemia oleifera ‘Fastigiata’, and Lagerstroemia fasciata.
Crepe myrtle is a popular landscape plant due to its drooping clusters of pink or white flowers that turn purple and red during fall and winter. Unfortunately, crepe myrtle can become overgrown and out of control. In this blog post, we will teach you how to prune crepe myrtle for optimal results.
What is crepe myrtle?
Crepes Myrtle is a shrub that can grow up to 10 feet tall with a spread of 6-8 feet. Crepes Myrtle has clusters of white flowers in late spring through early summer. The leaves are opposite, ovate blades with serrated margins and a rough surface. In the fall, crepes myrtle produces red berries that are eaten by birds and squirrels. Crepes myrtle can be pruned to control its size and shape, but it should only be pruned when there is lack of leaves or branches on the shrub, as this will cause fruiting to stop.
If you have overgrown crepe myrtle in your yard, there are a few things you can do to start reducing its size. Pruning may be the best option for you.
The first step is to determine the extent of the damage. If you just have a few branches that are out of control, you can try cutting them back to the ground. For more extensive damage, you may need to go through the entire tree with pruning shears or an axe.
Prune away all of the dead and damaged wood. Crepe myrtle grows quickly in new wood so it’s important to remove any dead or dying branches. You also want to keep an eye out for signs of disease or insect infestation, as these will make pruning even more difficult.
After pruning, water your tree regularly and fertilize it annually with a high-nitrogen fertilizer if desired. Crepe myrtle is a hardy tree and should be able to recover from this type of treatment, but it will take longer than if your tree was smaller and did not have extensive growth around the area where it was pruned.
What are the benefits of pruning crepe myrtles?
When it comes to maintaining your crepe myrtle, pruning is key! Pruning can help keep your tree healthy, tidy, and looking its best. Here are some of the benefits of pruning crepe myrtles:
1. Keep your tree healthy: Crepe myrtles need regular pruning in order to stay upright and healthy. Overgrown or diseased branches can prevent light and air from reaching the main trunk, potentially leading to health problems down the line.
2. Keep your tree tidy: Overgrown branches may also create a cluttered appearance around your tree. Pruning can help clear away excess foliage and create a more streamlined look.
3. Improve lighting and airflow: Overgrown branches can block sunlight and airflow from the roots, causing your tree to grow less vigorously overall. Pruning can help improve circulation and encourage better growth overall.
How to Prune Crepe Myrtle
Crepe myrtle can get extremely overgrown and dense, which can cause it to lose its shape and appearance. Before pruning crepe myrtle, it’s important to first identify the specific areas that need to be trimmed. Once the areas have been identified, you can use a hand saw or a power saw to make the necessary cuts.
Make sure to take care not to damage the surrounding branches or the trunk of the tree. After the trimming is complete, water the plants thoroughly and apply a preventative compound to help keep them healthy.
How to Post-Pruning Care
Pruning Crepe Myrtles:
After the final bloom of the crepe myrtle season, it’s time to start pruning. Crepe myrtles can get quite large and unmanageable if they are not pruned properly. Here are some tips on how to prune crepe myrtles:
1) Start by removing any dead or diseased wood. This will help prevent diseases from spreading and will also make the tree look better.
2) Make sure the branches are evenly spaced out and at a length that is comfortable for you. Too short a branch will be difficult to manage, while too long a branch will become an obstruction.
3) Remove any dead or damaged leaves. This will help keep your tree healthy and reduce the risk of leaf rust.
4) Cut off any branches that are crossing over another branch or another trunk. This will help the tree grow in a more symmetrical fashion and avoid complications down the road.
Best time to prune a crepe myrtle
Prune crepe myrtle in the springtime to help reduce its height and promote new growth. Wait until new growth has formed before pruning again to avoid injuring the delicate new shoots. Make cuts at a 45 degree angle from the top of the stem toward the ground, making sure not to cut into the trunk or roots.
Reasons why crepe myrtles can be overgrown
There are many reasons why crepe myrtles may grow overgrown, but the most common reason is that the plant has not been pruned regularly.
Crepe myrtles can also be overgrown because they are root-bound and cannot easily access new growth. Additionally, crepe myrtle branches may become too dense and tight, preventing light and air from reaching the leaves.
Finally, overgrowth can occur if the soil is not well-drained or if there is insufficient nitrogen in the soil.
How to prevent crepe myrtle overgrowth
The most common problem with crepe myrtle is overgrowth. Crepe myrtle can become a nuisance when its branches and roots overtake the surrounding landscape, crowding out other plants and causing erosion.
There are several ways to prevent this from happening. One is to keep the plant well-pruned; otherwise, it will not be able to produce new growth.
Another is to use herbicides or fertilizers that suppress crepe myrtle growth.
It can be hard to prune overgrown crepe myrtle, but with a little patience and a bit of know-how, it is possible. Follow these tips to get the job done right: 1. Get an accurate estimate of how much time you will need to complete the task. overestimate your time by 25% and you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly the job goes; underestimate your time by 50% and you might find yourself pulling out all the stops just to finish! 2. Use sharp, clean tools for the best results. Dull blades or tools will cause more damage than good. Make sure your saws, secateurs, hedge shears etc are all in good condition before beginning work. 3. Cut away any dead or diseased wood first so that healthy tissue can take its place and thrive. Remove any branches that cross over other branches multiple times or touch at their tips – these should be cut off entirely as they can restrict airflow and create conditions which favor disease development. Once all infected/dead wood has been removed, proceed with regular trimming as normal.