Crepe Myrtles

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by atlj007, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. atlj007

    atlj007 LawnSite Member
    from Ga.
    Messages: 19

    Hey Gents,

    Crepe Myrtles, oh how I hate these trees. I trimmed earlier in the year and of course now in Georgia they are at full bloom now. I am having trouble with the actual trunks of these producing smaller stems at the bottom now. These trees look the best to me when they are clean along the trunks then full bloom on the top. Is there a wrap or spray that I can use to keep the trunks and bottoms clean for a certain amount of time to keep these looking nice. They look so awful with all the under growth clogging up the bottom and covering the pine islands.

    Thx Guys
  2. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    I have multiple customers with Crape Myrtles. I just snip the new growths weekly to keep the trunks clean.
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  3. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    I've never used it but they do make a sucker stopper herbicide you could try.
  4. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,542

    For unwanted growth try flush cutting.
  5. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    All cuts should be close to flush so you don't leave behind ugly stub cuts. On larger cuts (Not suckers) you do not want to be totally flush or it will effect the tree's ability to scab over the cut.

    When you trim any tree and alter it's ability to make chlorophyll it will react by trying to grow more foliage. The delay may be in weeks or a months but it will happen no matter how clean your cuts are. On plants like Crepe Myrtles, Vitex, Live Oaks and other suckers will be the type of growth spurt moderate pruning will cause. It's how nature works and there's not much we can do to prevent it.

    Pruning is like giving a plant a growth hormone that will cause more growth in the near future.

    IRRITECH LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    You obviously have no idea about crepe myrtles. As far as i know there is nothing you can do except continuously cut them back. NEVER use roundup on these, it will kill the tree. Just part of doing business.
  7. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,825

    I don't know about crepe myrtles in particular but I was taught to rip suckers off cleanly while young, rather than cut them, and that would cause less regrowth. Be tearing them off young, you remove the bud they sprout from.
  8. PlantscapeSolutions

    PlantscapeSolutions LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,012

    That must be some IL wise tale. It does not matter how the suckers are removed. The benefit to using a good pair of Coronas is that you get a clean eastetically pleasing cut and no ugly peeled bark on the trunk.

    Whether you yank the suckers off or trim them it will still be like giving the tree a growth hormone that makes it want to grow more. Down south the Crepe Myrtles, Vitex, Wax Myrtles, and Live Oaks love to sucker.

    Root suckering can be a problem with Live Oaks as well. This is a problem caused by changing the native grade around a tree's root zone. The roots get buried too deep and send suckers shooting up to the surface in an attempt to get the roots more oxygen. Root girdling can also cause roots suckers.
  9. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    I have a ton of yards with crepes and I really dont have a big issue with suckers. One of the things you need to practice is not cutting them way back in the fall. (dont use a chain saw) Use some nice snips and loppers and go through and prune it like you would a tree, not a bush. In a couple years of doing this, the tree will not need much prunning during the year and the suckers will deminish

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