Crepe Myrtle-Do I have to prune?

wanda9flSeptember 7, 2007

It's coming up on fall pretty soon, and I wondered if I have to prune my "Natchez" Crepe Myrtle. It's a multi-trunk, about 10 feet tall. It has taken a beating in this summer heat and it's leaves are edged in yellow. After the last rain it put out some new growth and it looks healthy.

Do I sacrifice its height and trim it or just leave it alone? If I leave it, will it ever get bushier and fuller?

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tropicalfreak(z10b Ft Lauderdale)


Hi Wanda,

You will soon find that this is touchy subject.
All I can say is, "Don't Commit Crepe Murder"


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:40PM
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You are absolutely right. I once committed Crepe Murder and
I was reprimanded and straighten out. I'm a repented Crepe
Murderer I was given a second chance.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:59PM
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It is recommended that you prune only branches up to the size of a pencil.Also, if you deadhead the seed pods, you will get another bloom cycle.

I have the Natchez variety and I shape it as I remove the seed pods. In February, I may give it another pruning to thin out some of the branches.

Your crepe myrtle is deciduous and will loose it leaves this winter.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 7:18PM
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tropicalfreak(z10b Ft Lauderdale)


The Blackbirds take care of the seed pods for me down here. Win, win.

: )


    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 8:22PM
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Up here in the great white north of Atlanta, GA folks drastically cut these back in springtime. They leave bare wood to about 4-ft tall. The plant flowers on new wood.

I prefer to limb up the plants and remove criss-cross branches. I like small trees more than tall shrubs.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 8:40PM
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It really depends on which variety you have. Some get very large (>40 feet) and some stay shrubby. Many of the tree forms seem to level out about 25 feet.

I stopped trimming mine about 6 or 7 years ago. I occasionally prune a few lower branches but I couldn't reach the top if I wanted to! I have 3 in my yard and they provide nice dappled shade to my garden for part of the day. Here's a photo that shows the lower part of one of the trees.

This photo is a year or 2 old but gives you a good idea of how they fill out when left unpruned.

This one is from 2005 and they are larger now but you can see that even without trimming, they still bloom.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 11:51PM
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Thanks everyone, for your input. I'll thin out the skinny little branches when the time is right

Solstice, this is exactly the look I'm trying to achieve. I didn't want a bush and I sure didn't want to commit crepe murder.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 9:25AM
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