Crepe Myrtles; A Southern Beauty

Known for the summertime bloom of their flowers, as well as their very attractive bark, stunning fall colors, and exceptional hardiness, crepe myrtles are a gardener’s dream. Crepe myrtles are one of the most beautiful and brilliant plants in the entire South, and anyone somewhat familiar with the care of trees and shrubs probably knows that with just a little attention, they can easily be kept looking wonderful throughout the seasons. The most commonly occurring types of crepe myrtle, especially in southern gardens, are the Crepe Myrtle, the Japanese Crepe Myrtle, and the Queen’s Crepe Myrtle, which will only do well in tropical areas.Pruning Shears

General care of crepe myrtles

  • For maximum exposure of the crepe myrtle’s appealing bark, cut off the side branches up to a height of about 5 ft.
  • When blossoms appear to fade away while the growing season is still on, remove them to encourage a second bloom of flowers.
  • Crepe myrtles require full sunlight, so they need to be planted where they will not be in shadow for the main part of the day.
  • Moderate watering is required, so regular watering will be necessary where rainfall is insufficient to maintain its optimum appearance.
  • Pruning should be undertaken in late winter or early spring, which is important because all species of crepe myrtle bloom on the newest wood of the shrub or tree.
  • For best growth and appearance, basal suckers need to be removed regularly, along with crossing branches, center branches and twigs.

Pruning Crepe Myrtles

To maintain its special garden appeal, a crepe myrtle should not be allowed to grow to a large height, because pruning will become too difficult for the topmost growth. The best care of trees and shrubs should involve pruning those uppermost branches late every winter, by as much as two or three feet if necessary, but care must be taken about the manner of these cuttings.

The cuts need to be made back to a side branch or bud, so there will be new growth next year. One of the most common errors is over-pruning or over-cutting the crepe myrtle. If the branch happens to be greater than two inches in diameter, make sure you cut back to the trunk of the tree, and don’t leave an unsightly stub in place. When crepe myrtles are pruned haphazardly and stubs are left on the plant, its beautiful form will be ruined and weak, spindly branches will spring up where the stubs were.

Hutcheson Horticultural Company offers expert pruning and trimming services for all varieties of crepe myrtles and other trees. Our certified arborist is able to expertly determine best practicies with pruning. Contact our team today for a free estimate for your crepe myrtle needs in north Georgia.