pruning myrtles

nyrhubarbAugust 3, 2007

Was wondering how to get myrtles to branch out at

the bottom so as to form more of a beautiful multi

trunked hedge....any ideas? Read a lot about the

crape murderers....people just don't do research

anymore! Thanks!

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Are you talking about Crape myrtles? Not that it matters too much. If your plant has already developed a single trunked form, then the only way to force it to grow more firmly attached branches at the bottom is to cut your plant all the way back to the ground and let it begin anew. This is called rejuvenation pruning, and is an accepted method of getting new growth at the bottom of a mature (and bare) trunk.

Crape myrtles respond very well to rejuvenation pruning, as do a host of other woody trees/shrubs. Obviously, the best time to do this is when the plant is relatively young, but even mature specimens will usually do fine. Cut back to a 6 inch (or so) stump in the late winter or early spring....don't fertilize for a year after the procedure. Select your scaffold branches early on so that your plant can begin to devote energy into making a nice, solid skeleton rather than a dividing that energy into zillions of tiny whip-like branches.

I would absolutely not do this at this time of year.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 4:25PM
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Thanks Rhizo! Do appreciate the info. I'll also
keep in mind the fact that i should not do this at
this time of the year. I do so love the tenacity of
the crape myrtle. They seem to take a beating and
thrive! Read on another forum i think about people
butchering myrtles. That was very interesting. Had no
idea that many, many myrtles are pruned completely wrong!
It was an eyeopener for me since i had seen them always
cut off about 4 ft. high and the gnarled nubs just
sticking out till a few sprigs would come back. I just
thought that was normal practice for this tree/shrub
down South. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 10:50PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You're welcome! I still don't 'get it' about those topped crape myrtles, either. You'd think that people would see with their own eyeballs how ugly they are after that kind of pruning. A properly pruned crape myrtle is just as beautiful in the winter ('buck naked') as any other time.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 1:05PM
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I find the crape myrtles to be my substitute
for lilacs. I read somewhere on another forum/website
the horrors of crape myrtles being topped off and
pretty much ruined for years to come. After reading about
this i started noticing the right way and the wrong way
to prune them, while driving around town. Enough about that. Quick question...
How do i get my knock-out roses looking a little better
than they do right now? Maybe the heat is burning up all
their leaves....they have dropped bunches of them.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2007 at 11:03PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hmmmm, maybe someone else will jump in here with some good advice. I hate to say this, but my Knock Outs (pink) are looking beautiful. We planted them earlier this spring and they have 'knocked me out', that's for sure. These roses are bred to handle hot temperatures.

I fertilize very conservatively with an organic based product, water infrequently by hand (no irrigation), but I can think of nothing about what I do that might be a clue to how well they are doing and yours aren't. What about the soil? Does it drain well?

How long have your roses been planted? Are the leaves still green when they fall off, or do they turn yellow first?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 4:05PM
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Thanks for the quick reply.YOu seem to be a one man band here!! The roses have only been planted since last October. On top of that they are
in red clay.....except for the garden soil i added
when planting them. The flowers look beautiful but
the arms are spindly and the leaves do go from green
to yellow....eventually and then fall off. I think the
soil drains off a little quick. The roses have been
planted on the property line dividing my neighbors driveway
from mine. It actually looks like a strip of land 4ft.
wide and 40 ft. long. It's between us. They looked great
at the beginning of the summer. Should there be more
mulch maybe? No, I have not fertilized them at all.
Not that you asked...just thought i'd fess up.
What are your thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2007 at 10:12PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Have they been getting some water during this awful drought? Adequate mulch is very important. Not only does it retain some moisture in the soil, but it buffers the root/soil system from extremes of temperature.

I actually think it might be a little late to fertilize your roses here in the South, but this is something that should probably not be ignored in the early spring. Be conservative in fertilizer applications, however.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2007 at 12:24PM
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Help me rhizo:
Six months ago my husband and i planted 7 leyland cypress.. We planted
them textbook style....about 3 weeks ago two of them started to turn golden
yellow. Their bark developed a black coating on it and i thought they were
about dead. It seemed to happen pretty quick. We watered the same
from the time we planted them till now. We were mindful of the drought
situation as well....our lawn sprinkling system kept them going. Every 3
to 4 days we gave them an extra watering. Here's the kicker....I went out
this am. and they have a completely different look to them...their branches
are a bright green and the outside needles are all a golden yellow. Can i
by some chance have a species that turns golden yellow? They were all bought at the same time...same nursery....planted the same way....same
dirt....same tree and shrub husband thinks they are still dead.
I can pull quite snug on the needles and they don't come off. The black
stuff on the branches just slides right off on my fingers. Any thoughts?
If i can get the camera to work i'll have my daughter send a pix later.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 1:57PM
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