I know this is not a real feed back. My boy friend (no longer here). He planted one and said, do not give it a hair cut. He tied a few branches together and said, do not cut! I want it to grow like a tree, not a bush. It is still a bush, 2-3 years later. I have trimmed it all, because it never made a tree. HELP!
Everyone says to prune while dormant, but you can prune most healthy trees any time of the year with no adverse reactions. My crepe myrtle grows extensively and I prune it regularly. It actually seems to perk up when I prune it during the season, and it looks better when the old blooms are removed. Personally, I don't think you can hurt a healthy tree.
If you are describing Crepe Myrtles, you should wait until all leaves have fallen, then prune to the shape you both like and that is healthy for the tree:
NEVER cut a thick branch unless it is at a fork and flush with the other branch so that it can "heal" over.
When I visited some cities in other states I saw where the city had massacred the poor trees by cutting them to a certain size and letting them KNOT over and over until there was only an ugly STOB with
twig branches gasping for life trying to grow, competing for space, yearning for help. PLEASE do not do this to your trees. Take only the thinnest branches off the mature trunks, then trim back only about a foot of each thin blooming branch that appears "dead". Trim all unwanted "sucker branches that grow up from bottom or inside the tree.
Crepe Myrtles come in a variety of heights, so don't try to stunt a naturally tall one by cutting it WAY back. Much can be learned from the Garden ncyclopedia as to the variety you have by the color and normal height. If it began as a dwarf or weeping, it will eventually grow tall if not treated
as dwarf or weeping.
If a Southern variety, it will get 15-20 feet tall and 8-10 feet across, can be trained as a shrub or a multi-trunked tree or a single trunk tree, which takes much longer and more observance and maintenance until it reaches it's maximum growth.
They don't like a lot of mulch nor shade. That encourages scale, one of the few pests they get. They like avg. soil, avg. watering, and can be more productive with blooms if the spent blooms are cut back in the Fall and the tree/shrub give blooming plant food in the Spring, but late Summer given only reg. fertilizer. I prefer used coffee grounds, egg shells, and rabbit pellets. Should I want more and greener leaves in the Spring, I spray them with Sea Kelp liquid, and they perk up immediately. I also empty my acquarium water weekly into the soil, which they seem to love.
They drop their leaves in the colder weather, then growth happens from the oldest branches and some of the new growth off the older branches. They are late bloomers, blooming until early Fall. They are well worth learning their proper care. The blooms are not good for cutting, and they can be messy near
parked cars, patios, or swimming pools. Keep the small dead branches picked off all year 'round, but do not cut them, just break off the small ones and cut off the dead ones when cool weather sets in.
Other than that I do nothing much. I have had trouble in the past with those beneath older larger evergreen trees with white mold, and had to hand pick off the branches and blooms that were affected VERY carefully, keeping a paper sack handy for them to drop into so that the spores do not spred or blow in the wind to other parts of the tree. Those in the most sun do the best. They can handle light bark mulch of no thicker than 1" layer.
Remember that the root system is very strong. It can crack foundations and concrete sidewalks. Keep the branches near either of these cut back and very
high from the ground, because the pattern they make above ground is exactly what pattern their root system makes underground. Cut any branches
heading for a house or walk way, way back to the main trunk, encouraging growth only that leads away from the house or walkways/ driveways.
God bless and help you. : )
Anything dead can be pruned out anytime. Normally - trim back by 1/3 in the ealy spring, late winter (while dormant)
Hope this helps
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