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What to do with a big crapemyrtle?

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by OKSooner, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. OKSooner

    OKSooner LawnSite Member
    Posts: 217

    Hey, it's late January...

    I have a client who has a big crapemyrtle that (in my opinion) could stand to be thinned out some. It's not the biggest crapemyrtle I've ever seen, but it's pretty big, and thick with lots of trunks.

    I ain't gonna "top" it like so many of them do at least around here. I'm not gonna take it all down to the ground and start over with it because I don't think the client would like that either.

    So what do I do? Just reach in with the saw and/or loppers and take about a quarter of the trunks out?

    What works best for you guys?
  2. august

    august LawnSite Member
    Posts: 23

    Remove crossing branches that will be a problem in the years to come. This should help thin it out considerably. You could also do a tip prune if there is any structure in the way.

    Other than that I like to leave well enough alone. Some of the nicest crepe myrtles I've seen have never been pruned.
  3. StihlMechanic

    StihlMechanic LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,133

    A good rule of thum is 3 to 5 trunks. Of course never top it off. Like you said, you could cut it down and start over but your client may not luke that.
  4. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,081

    We are not to familiar with crapemyrtles, up here... they try to sell the in some local nurseries, becuz they look so nice in the spring... But they will seldom survive our winters.
    Why would you NOT top(prune) them?
    Depending on the look of the landscape, I thin and top anything and everything, to keep it in shape as needed... Some plants just need to have a little more consideration as to what season I prune...
  5. Landscape Poet

    Landscape Poet LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,638

    Here you go.

  6. Maco Services

    Maco Services LawnSite Member
    Posts: 229

    Agreed, I had to cut back some that hadn't been pruned in 3 year or so, whenever they had been pruned, it was done improperly. and they were very large. I took a pole saw with an extension on it to prune lots of crossing branches, cut a lot of the low growth off coming from the base.

    They look fairly well now, the only issues are some of the crossing branches that started to grow around others, I couldn't cut those up for fear of taking off a very large portion of the base, and make it look significantly lop sided. Also, try to correct any long stubs or improperly pruned areas from past cut backs. Don't just cut them at the knuckles. It will eventually become an eye sore for many. Some people don't notice or care, but if you are going to do it, do it for the long term health of the plant.
  7. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,652

    The reason you dont just cut off the top is because it causes a "knuckling" effect. The bad cutting results in multiple, weak shoots that are easily broken. It is a tree, not a bush, and a lot of people seem to forget that fact. prune it like you would a young tree encouraging growth
  8. Hook and Ladder

    Hook and Ladder LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    Excellent description. I just had a fairly large job the other day that had two of these neglected and butchered by previous landscapers. I was going to snap a pic of it as well- damn

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