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New Crepe Myrtles - too late to prune?

Posted by scotttyd North Carolina (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 27, 10 at 21:42

I just planted a handfull of crepe myrtles. They are about 5 feet tall or so. They still have the seed pods are still remaining. I pruned my existing plants about 6 weeks ago and was wondering if it is too late to prune what I have now (and putting more stress on the plant since it has just been planted), wait a couple of weeks until the shock of the transplant is over, or wait until next year?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: New Crepe Myrtles - too late to prune?

Crape myrtles don't need pruning when young, except perhaps to remove unwanted suckers or crossing branches. Seed pods also do not need to be removed. I hope you're not referring to the brutal topping seen all too often that's referred to as "crape murder." Some people now assume because they see this practice at shopping malls and restaurants it is actually a good thing for the trees. While it does promote more blooming in the very short tun, in the long or even not-so-long run it will kill the tree...and certainly make it look idiotic in the winter.

An unpruned, suitably sited, and well-selected crape myrtle, besides being a lot easier to take care of, will look good in four seasons. Their elegant branch structure and exfoliating bark is magnificent when allowed to develop properly. So the answer is: save your trees and your time by simply NOT pruning!

This is what we see all too commonly, but is NOT good practice (aka "Crape Murder"):

RE: New Crepe Myrtles - too late to prune?

No, I do not commit Crepe Murder (I don't think)- although I usually cut off the seed pods. The last two years I have had myrtles with very long thin branches, which I did cut back, but no to the extreme in the pictures, and then I cut of the little spindly branches (several where 2-3 inches long and very very thin and of course took care of the suckers.

this is what I did

FYI, these pictures look like what I usually do (right or wrong??)

RE: New Crepe Myrtles - too late to prune?

In regards to the link - only the second picture (in my opinion) is what any pruning should look like. The other 3 pictures still removed too much branch (I have always heard the rule of thumb is not to prune any branch thicker than a pencil - structural problems not withstanding, of course).

At five feet tall, certainly only prune off the pods if you like to tidy up; that won't affect the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Walter Reeves's link

RE: New Crepe Myrtles - too late to prune?

^^That's Crape MURDER!

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