How to Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Looking to prune your crepe myrtle trees? Read this blog post to learn how to properly prune crepe myrtle trees for health and aesthetics.

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Pruning crepe myrtle trees is essential to their health and vigor. While they are generally low-maintenance trees, pruning is necessary to remove dead or diseased branches and to shape the tree. The best time to prune crepe myrtles is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. Read on for tips on how to prune crepe myrtle trees.

What is Crepe Murder?

Crepe murder is the practice of severely chopping back a crepe myrtle tree in an effort to keep it small. Often, all the branches are cut back to the same size, resulting in a tree that looks like it has been shaved. This practice is also sometimes referred to as pollarding.

The Case Against Crepe Murder

Summer is the time when many homeowners reach for the pruning shears and go to work on their crepe myrtle trees. Unfortunately, many of these same homeowners engage in what has been called “crepe murder.” This refers to the widespread practice of indiscriminately chopping crepe myrtles down to stubs, often in an attempt to achieve a certain shape or size.

The problem with this approach is that it can damage the tree and encourage unhealthy growth. It’s important to understand how to properly prune a crepe myrtle in order to maintain its health and beauty. With a little knowledge and care, you can keep your crepe myrtle looking great all season long.

How to Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees

Pruning crepe myrtle trees is an important part of keeping them healthy and looking their best. But with so many different pruning methods out there, it can be tough to know which one is right for your tree.

Here’s a quick guide to the three most popular pruning methods for crepe myrtles:

Topping: Topping is the most common pruning method for crepe myrtles, and involves cutting the tree back to a uniform height (usually 12-18 inches). This method is typically used to control the size of the tree, and can also help promote new growth.

Thinning: Thinning is a less aggressive form of pruning that involves removing selected branches from the tree to promote new growth and air circulation. This method is often used to improve the shape of the tree, or to remove damaged or diseased branches.

Cleaning: Cleaning is the least invasive form of pruning, and simply involves removing dead, dying, or diseased branches from the tree. This helps improve the tree’s overall health and appearance, and can also help prevent the spread of disease.


Pruning this way encourages new growth, which will result in more flowers next year. Even if you don’t want more flowers, pruning in this way will help keep your crepe myrtle looking its best.

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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

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