How to Prune a Crape Myrtle Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Many people don’t know how or when to prune a crape myrtle tree. This post will show you how to properly prune your crape myrtle tree to get the best results.

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Why You Should Prune Your Crape Myrtle Tree

Pruning a crape myrtle tree can seem daunting, but it’s actually quite simple. Crape myrtles are very versatile trees and can be pruned into a variety of shapes and sizes. Pruning your crape myrtle tree will encourage new growth, promote flowering, and improve the overall health of the tree.

To shape and direct growth

Pruning a crape myrtle is usually done for two reasons: to shape and direct growth, and to remove damaged or diseased branches. Proper pruning will also increase air circulation, which helps to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

Crape myrtles can be pruned into a wide variety of shapes, including trees, shrubs, and standards (trees with a single trunk that has been pruned to promote branching at the top). The amount of pruning required will depend on the desired shape. Tree form crape myrtles do not require as much pruning as shrubs or standards.

Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

To increase air circulation and sunlight penetration

Pruning your crape myrtle will increase air circulation and sunlight penetration into the tree’s canopy. This will promote strong new growth and prevent the formation of weak, leggy branches. It will also help to control the size and shape of your tree.

To remove dead, diseased, or damaged branches

Pruning a crape myrtle tree is important for several reasons. To begin with, it helps to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. This helps to keep the tree healthy and also improves its appearance. Pruning also stimulates new growth, which can help to fill in any bare spots on the tree. Finally, pruning can help to control the size and shape of the tree, making it easier to manage.

There are a few things to keep in mind when pruning a crape myrtle tree. First of all, it is important to prune early in the season, before new growth begins. This allows the tree to heal more quickly and helps to prevent any further damage. Secondly, be sure to use sharp pruning shears or a saw in order to avoid damaging the branches. Finally, try to prune evenly around the tree so that it maintains its shape.

When to Prune Your Crape Myrtle Tree

Pruning is an important part of keeping your crape myrtle tree healthy and looking its best. But when is the best time to prune your tree? The answer may surprise you.

Late winter or early spring, before new growth begins

Pruning a crape myrtle is best done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Crape myrtles bloom on new growth, so if you prune too late in the season, you’ll be cutting off the flower buds and sacrificing that season’s blooms.

There are different schools of thought on how much to prune a crape myrtle. Some people advocate for heavy pruning, known as “limbing up,” which involves removing all lower branches to create a trunk that is 6 to 8 feet tall with no lateral branches. This gives the tree a more tree-like appearance and allows for easy mowing and leaf blowing underneath.

If you choose to limb up your crape myrtle, do it gradually over a period of 3 to 5 years so the tree can recover from the shock of having so much foliage removed at once.

If you don’t want to limb up your crape myrtle, you can still prune it to promote healthy growth and flowering.Remove dead, diseased, or broken branches first. Then, thin out crowded or crossing branches to increase air circulation and allow sun into the center of the tree. Finally, cut back any remaining branches by 1/3 their length.

How to Prune Your Crape Myrtle Tree

Pruning a crape myrtle tree is important to maintain its shape and size. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when pruning your crape myrtle tree. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about pruning a crape myrtle tree.

Start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches

Start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. These can be identified by their lack of green leaves or bark that is flaking off or discolored. Once these are removed, you can start shaping your tree by selectively pruning branches.

To encourage growth and promote a more compact shape, prune branch tips back to a side branch or bud. If you want to control the size of your tree, you can also remove entire branches back to the main trunk. When pruning, make sure to make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle just above a bud or side branch.

Crape myrtle trees are resilient and can handle being heavily pruned if necessary. In fact, many people choose to heavily prune their trees every few years to keep them in check and encourage compact growth. If you do choose to heavily prune your tree, wait until late winter or early spring so that new growth has time to fill in before the hot summer months.

Next, remove any crossing or rubbing branches

Once you have removed any dead, diseased, or broken branches, you can move on to removing any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other. These branches can damage each other over time, so it’s best to remove them now.

Next, you will want to decide which branches should be removed in order to promote the overall health and growth of your tree. You should remove any branches that are growing inward toward the trunk of the tree, as well as any branches that are growing downward. These branches are not receiving enough sunlight and will not produce as much new growth.

Finally, you will want to thin out the canopy of your tree by removing some of the smaller branches. This will allow more sunlight and air to reach the inner parts of the tree, promoting overall health and growth.

Finally, prune to the desired shape

Once you have remove the suckers and branches that are rubbing on other limbs, it’s time to prune to the desired shape. Crape myrtles can be pruned into many shapes, from traditional heading (pyramidal) to modern shapes such as umbrella or vortex. There are even dwarf varieties that can be kept in large containers and pruned into bonsai-like shapes.

The best time to prune for shape is late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. To encourage dense growth, don’t hesitate to prune crape myrtles quite heavily. They respond well to aggressive pruning and will quickly produce new shoots.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books