Overgrown Crape Myrtle

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by clayslandscape, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. burnthefurniture

    burnthefurniture LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    This. But the goal should be to keep the overall form of the tree as good as possible. I.e., don't crape murder it. That might not reach your seven foot goal depending on the height of the tree now, but trimming is something to be done surgically and thoughtfully, in my opinion. I personally value the form of a tree above many other criteria when it comes to trimming. Even a blooming tree only has flowers for a few months out of the year. The rest of the time, you see its branching structures. Crape myrtles have a particularly unique structure that I think, when thoughtfully pruned, can be highlighted.
  2. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Exactly! I hate when guys just go in a murder trees and shrubs without any thought whatsoever, then I'm called in to repair it, by which I have to tell them it's a very slow and time consuming process and in a lot of cases it's a matter of tearing it out and starting over if the damage is to far gone.
  3. ReddensLawnCare

    ReddensLawnCare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,651

    To many people try to make a tree a bush. People are just ill informed. I also wasn't suggesting in my original post that you should cut it like that every year. Just until you can get it on a proper maintenance program
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  4. burnthefurniture

    burnthefurniture LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Reddens, my comments weren't directed to criticize your suggestion, but rather to support it. I know we were on the same page. However, my experience has proven that it takes a lot more skill to go and thoughtfully trim than it does to just hack it all down. Likely, you have experienced the results of the latter as well. Once the tree is properly pruned, as you have suggested, maintenance schedule is the only way to keep it manageable in the long run.
  5. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,899

    Crapes in our area respond favorably to pruning. I installed a ten footer at my home five years ago. I trim it back to that heigh every year in October to about the same height. It has filled in very well, blooms magnificently and from mid June thru mid September or so. If they don't get pruned, they get too leggy and sparse IMH
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  6. weeze

    weeze LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 12,746

    the reason you see alot of crape murder is because people let them go way too long before they get them trimmed. these things can grow 5-10ft in a year. i've had some calls and people have a 20ft tall crape myrtle right next to their house growing over their roof and everything. in that case you have no choice but to murder it lol. the best thing is not to let them get overgrown to begin with. keep them trimmed from the start.

    personally i hate it when they have like 10 trunks growing altogether. i think it looks terrible. i like to keep it one main trunk if possible. at the most 3-5. it just looks alot neater to me. i mean where it touches the ground. i've seen some that had like 20 trunks all growing out next to each other. it just happens when people neglect them. those little sprouts start growing. you have to keep the cut down lol.

    i had to do it at this house but they grew back fine.

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    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
  7. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Those look pretty good Jason Good job, I guess it's the same ol story people want to wait until it's too late then expect you to pull the rabbit out of the majic hat and turn them into something beautiful overnight.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Looking at the pictures I was wondering if Crape Myrtle is on of those bushes that could be encouraged to fill in more from the base up...
    I know some people like that open design for a tree that size, and up next to the house I suppose it would be just fine,,, but I like the leaves to start where the undergrowth bushes stop...

    We can't grow those things this far north, but I'm curious,,, would the myrtle branch out closer to the base if you took the branch covering the window down about half its current size???
  9. slowleak1

    slowleak1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 532


    As a kid, my grandpa had LOTS of myrtles, in 2 different shapes.

    Along the street there was 4 HUGE trees, and along the house was a row of about 10 bushes. Every winter the bushes got cut to the ground, and every summer they would come back to full color/bloom at about 6 foot tall, and no trunk. The trees on the street got cut just like the ones above ^^^ and would easily grow 10 feet through summer, bloom so much that you couldnt see green, and get wacked back down to knubs and one main trunk again once the leaves fell.

    My mom said that he planted them about 10 years before I was born, and I am now 27 and they are still there to this day, just as full and healthy as ever.
  10. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

    You can "nick" the bottom and that will generally send up some shoots.

    Theres also varieties that dont get so big.

    Most are planted right next to a house and have to be severly cut back all the time.

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