Too late to prune Crepe Myrtles???

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by LawnSharks, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. LawnSharks

    LawnSharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 300

    Is it too late to prune crepe myrtles? We did most of our heavy pruning in November and December. Now, here in Charlotte the temps are reaching 70-80. The trees are not showing any sign of budding yet, but I'm afraid to prune too heavy. I've got a new client that has 10 large trees she wants cut back. Is it okay or should I tell her it is too late?
  2. AUHort1990

    AUHort1990 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 137

    No its not to late.
  3. LawnSharks

    LawnSharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 300

    Thanks for the input.
  4. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    Crape Myrtles will bloom on new wood, so cutting them back now will encourage new growth that will flower, maybe, later in the summer. Now is a great time to do some corrective pruning, thinning and height control.

  5. fairview

    fairview LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 6

    The point of trimming CM is to encourage a secondary flush of bloom during the growing season. By treating them as an annual and not allowing them to set seed, sometimes but not always, they will put on a secondary minor bloom. Unless there is an interference problem with a structure or adjacent tree/shrub that requires major branch/trunk removal, other than removing seed heads and pocketing the cash, there is no point to trimming CMs.
  6. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    Around here it has been custom to top these things back hard every winter. Local experts say this is a no-no.

    So yes you are correct, But it is hard to explain this to the customer.
  7. fairview

    fairview LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Posts: 6

    I'm in Mckinney TX not far from you. In fifteen years of service I have never had a hard time explaining any correct cultural practice to any of my customers. I have had to take the time to explain the correct and approved practices but I have never had a hard time and one time I walked away from a job where the customer had the expectation that in the spring I would top a CM with a chain saw.

    The customer is always right until you educate them and they decide they were wrong. When you accomplish this, not only does your reputation increase but so does the prices you can charge. The trust factor goes up and so do the upsales. If you try to spend your customer's money wisely, in a fashion that produces visible results and makes them giddy, especially at the beginning of the relationship, the customer will nearly open your wallet to you the next time something HAS to be done. What I'm talking about is long term gain and business stability versus short term gain and high customer roll over.

    I'd like to continue, but I need to get on the road and make a lot of weeds cry.
  8. JFF

    JFF LawnSite Member
    Posts: 248

    My mother in law had some beauties that were close to 60 feet tall. They were beautiful, specimen type plants. Perfect. They always bloomed, never had any powder mildew, and the growth supported the blooms properly.

    Last year she had them topped. I asked her why (in tears) and all she could say was "They were getting too tall."

    I have tried to carry pictures of mature, unmolested crapes in hopes of proving you did not have to butcher them every year, but to very little avail.

    Those of you who do insist on pruning them, please go ahead and cut off that ugly "monkeys paw" I see so often.

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