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pruning crape myrtles and star magnolia


LawnSite Senior Member
Ok I have a few (under statement) crape myrtles that havent been trimmed in forever. Am I too early to give them the tree look?
And The costomer also has several star magnolias. The costomer said to cut them to stubs about 12" from the ground. Is this right?
I want to make sure that I'm not going to kill ether one of them. The leaves havn't fallen here yet but they have started to turn pretty good, we've had a couple of frost, and most of the warm weather grasses have turned brown already.
I need these folks to look "sharp" as they are the "flagship" of the companys apartments.
Thanks in advance for your help. Jim


LawnSite Gold Member
stanfield nc
Crapes are very hardy plant. Iwould
wait untill you are sure the sap is down
as that way your safe.I REMEMBER when
all you did to a crape was shape a little
and leave.Then somme big article
came out in BETTER HOMES i think and now
its just something thats got to be done.
More work for us i guess. thanks tm
We prune crepe myrtles in Jan/Feb. If you want the tree look, pick a couple good strong branches and develop these into the tree, cutting back all others. I prefer the bush look to the tree and so do all my customers that have crepes.

If they want to have blooms on the star magnolias next spring do not prune until after they bloom in the spring. If you look closely at the star magnolias you should see the buds for the blooms next spring at the tips of the limbs.


LawnSite Senior Member
If they want to reduce them in size, save the smaller trunks and trim the larger older ones down to the ground. If they don't care about the height just thin them out to remove the crossing and weak branches, just like trimming a tree, cut the side branches back to the main trunk to get them to grow more upright. I can't beleive they want the magnolia trimmed like that, usually all you have to do to them is deadwood, cut out the suckers and crossing branches, maybe a straggler side branch or 2. I would wait a little longer till it gets a little cold to trim them so they don't send out any new growth.