Crape myrtle trees are a beautiful and very common tree in Charlotte, NC that are also known for the pruning that is required to maintain their beauty. Crape myrtle trees are known to easily split if not pruned properly. The overall goal of pruning the crape myrtles is to shape the overall look of the tree, produce strong branches and showcase the smooth multi-toned bark.
However, many individuals commit “crape murder” sometimes without even knowing they’re doing so. Cutting the branches back to thin stubs becomes detrimental to the health of the tree.
How should one avoid “crape murder?” Below are steps listing proper pruning techniques:
- Prune in late winter. February is the ideal time to prune. Pruning in winter time allows the freshly pruned wood to heal while pest lay dormant.
- As the tree grows, gradually remove all side branches from the main trunks up to a height of 5 feet or so. Prune gradually and spaced out a few years. This allows optimal healing and new growth to occur.
- Cut back to another branch, to just above an outward –facing bud on a branch, or to the branch collar.
- Remove unwanted branches before they get thicker than a pencil. Smaller cuts equals less invasive damage to the tree. Smaller cuts are ideal when pruning an actively growing tree.
Need to reverse a butchered crape myrtle? If the crape myrtle has been cut within a few feet of the ground, it’s best to cut the plant completely to the ground. It will grow back quickly. If it has been rounded off, follow the plant health care guidelines above.
If you think "crape murder" may have occurred, we're here to help! We'll do everything in our power to help save your beloved tree.