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Crepe Myrtle Pruning - don't make this mistake

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by DFW Area Landscaper, May 18, 2006.

  1. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    The last few years, I noticed the landscape company that maintains a Taco Bell in my area always pruned the crep myrtles right after the first freeze.

    I like the idea of removing all those dead seed heads and cleaning them up sooner rather than later. So, the last two seasons I pruned my crep myrtles right after the first frost...around December 1st or so.

    This year, my crepe myrtles have been VERY slow to break dormancy. While many crepe myrtles around town started flowering this week, mine are just now starting to really green up.

    Half the crepe myrtles at the Taco Bell are not even breaking dormancy. I think half of them are dead.

    It is worth mentioning that we did get a record freeze here on December 10th, shortly after I pruned my crepe myrtles. Our overnight lows got down to 12 & 8 degrees on consecutive nights during that freeze...very cold for our area.

    I guess the crepe myrtles can't be pruned that early in the winter without damage. Next year, I think we will start crepe myrtle pruning around the end of January. I am guessing the roots must be sucking down a lot of sap or something from the plant right after the first frost and if you cut all those branches off before the roots get whatever it is that they need, they can be killed.

    Just thought I would share this information with others.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  2. Duck Dodger

    Duck Dodger LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 347

    I think you are too early to be jumping to conclusions about them being dead. I have seen them not come out until mid june in southern GA. Be patient grasshopper.
  3. z_clark

    z_clark LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 369


    We have seen the same over here too. I have some crepes that we didn't touch and they are not coming out. They look dead, with the exception of the sucker sprouts and a few green sprigs at the top. Time will tell!

    (Ohh, and I missed that freeze....I was south of the border :) )
  4. East Coast Lawn Choppers

    East Coast Lawn Choppers LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    We used to cut ours back, but for the last 5 years or so we have just left it grow. It is about 20 feet tall and in our area where everyone says "you can't grow one" we have a beautiful one. Anyway... ours just got it's first leaves 2 days ago. We thought we lost it, but it is popping out all over with leaves.

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