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Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree

Unless damaged by frost, a crepe myrtle generally doesn't require much pruning. This guide is about pruning a crepe mrytle tree.

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Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree
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July 9, 2014 Flag
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I had my crepe myrtle cut back and now I keep getting new growth all the way up the trunk. It is a tree form and I don't want it to start growing except toward the top not from ground up on trunk. What can I do? I have cut them off, but they keep coming back. I live in Texas and there is a lot of sun.

By Pat R

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

You've done irreparable damage to the tree by topping it. It will never be the same. You can let the suckers continue to grow and have a large bush. Or, you can remove the tree and plant another. Decide how high you want the tree to be and buy one that will grow to that height and width. Give it proper space and you may not have to ever prune it. But, if you do, them do it as you would a dogwood or any other deciduous blooming tree. There's a lot of good information on how to properly prune trees on the net.

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March 31, 2014 Flag
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I have a crepe myrtle tree that looks like it started growing sideways, is there anyway I can trim or prune it so that it will grow up straight?
I live in Zone 7-8 when is the best time for pruning it?

By Nancy from central AL

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

There is no 'best' time. If you top it then you'll have sucker growth from below, and for every sturdy limb you cut back you'll have three or more weak whips sprout. If it's crooked maybe you need to remove a limb or two back to the trunk.

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September 23, 2013 Flag
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I have 3 crepe myrtle trees on the south side of my house. The bark on all 3 trees is gone, just dried up and fell off I guess. The plants seem tall and spindly with very little leaf or flower growth. What could this be and should I prune back the trees dramatically? Please let me know what I can do.

By Dawn B.

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

DON'T PRUNE THEM! Peeling bark is a normal function of a crepe myrtle and some other trees and shrubs. It will be fine.

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August 14, 2013 Flag
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I was told to clip the green berries off to produce more flowers. I thought those were the pods that bloom.

By Shirley

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

Yes, they are the buds. When the buds have finished blooming most of them will fall off. You can cut the dead buds off but it isn't necessary.

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January 18, 2011 Flag
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I planted a crepe myrtle tree last fall, it is about 8 feet tall and does not appear to need pruning or shaping.
If I do not prune it will it have flower blooms? Or does it need to be pruned to create the flower blooms?

Tom

Hardiness Zone: 9b

By Tom from Thousand Oaks, CA

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January 21, 20110 found this helpful

We live in Florida, our crepe myrtles bloom without pruning but I gotta tell you, it's hard not to prune them :) the thing about pruning them is you will always see where you pruned from do you know what I mean? And I like the tree looking kind better than the bushes. Really tho, it's personal preference. Happy Gardening.

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January 21, 20110 found this helpful

Crepe Myrtle trees are planted for both the flowers and the beauty of the trunk. Incorrect pruning, "Crepe Murder" is the widespread practice of topping trees that should grow between 20 and 30 feet tall. This is incorrect and will eventually damage the tree, not to mention make it ugly most of the year. If you want to see over it, then buy a bush or a dwarf variety. Topping does not produce more blooms. Proper pruning removes unwanted trunks and branches from the inside. If you want to see through it, that's fine, but don't remove the top beyond reachable spent flowers.

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November 8, 2012 Flag
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I am not of the Pollard school of thought regarding crepe myrtles. I want a large open arching tree. I am also a neat-nik. If I remove the green berries (November) will I get fewer or more blooms? I prefer fewer blooms (less mess and berries), how do I achieve that?

By Gail

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September 27, 20150 found this helpful

I suppose that might work but how can you get to them? If you remove only the flower buds that should be fine. They are very messy trees dropping spent blossoms, seed pods, peeling bark, and leaves in the fall. But they're some of the most beautiful trees as well with their smooth shiny bark and sculptural limbs.

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January 18, 2011 Flag
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I planted crepe myrtles this past summer. I need to know when and how to trim them. I have 26 trees along my driveway.

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By blondie58 from Omaha, TX

Answers:

Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree

Don't butcher the tree as so many mowing crews do. If you want one trunk, prune away the others. If you want multiple trunks, just prune the limbs that cross. Make sure you check the variety and see what the mature size will be in case they are planted too close together. I planted twigs 20 years ago and now they are taller than my house.
This photo was taken after a Texas ice storm in March 2007, but the crepe myrtles were not damaged. (01/07/2011)

By rbrady

RE: Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree

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December 18, 2010 Flag
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When should I prune a crepe myrtle? We had a hard frost for 5 nights, but it was above freezing during the day.

Hardiness Zone: 9a

By Dotty from Kingwood, TX

Answers:

Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree

Now is a good time to prune all trees etc., good luck. (01/26/2010)

By kffrmw88

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January 25, 2010 Flag
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I have some Crepe Myrtles in my yard and I would like to keep them short. What shall I do?

Hardiness Zone: 8b

By ladyinpinkm4 from Birmingham, AL

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July 16, 2009 Flag
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I planted a Crepe Myrtle tree 4 feet from my house. It's 4 years old now. Should I be worried the roots will do damage to the foundation of my house? It has grown higher than the roof line. How much should I cut back? It has never been pruned. Thanks.

jholtie

Answers:

Pruning a Crepe Myrtle Tree

Don't prune it, keep an eye on it, and if it needs to be moved eventually, then move it. If a root ran under the foundation and you were moving it, you would just cut that root off. It wouldn't grow, not like a root of a Chinese Wisteria. If you have a well-watered lawn out front of it, the major roots will move that direction and you'll be fine. Don't be irrationally afraid of a tree that's taller than the roofline like people where I live. They butch the top off any tree that puts its head up. A distorted landscape that makes me not want to look at trees like that. (04/01/2009)

By kimhis

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March 30, 2009 Flag
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What is the best way to remove dead branches from crape myrtles? Should I cut at the base, or higher up if it is green?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Jwagner from Abilene, Texas

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July 1, 2007 Flag
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What month should you prune a crepe myrtle tree?

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