Trimming Crape Myrtles

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by dogdad, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. dogdad

    dogdad LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    How far do you guys trim back crape myrtles each year? Do you just trim the tops or do you cut them at the main branches?
  2. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    Most people around here cut them all the way back to the main branches. Its really more or less a habit the everyone's gets into. Personally, I only trim the lower small branches, and of course the suckers. I usually leave the height alone and let is grow natural. I dont even cut off last years old heads. I only trim the top(s) if it cant grow tall due to an obstruction, like a rooftop, overhang, etc., or if its a customer request. I think more harm than good is done by "lopping", but almost every property is done that way. I had a disagreement with a woman the other day, she said that the tops (dead blooms) have to be cut off for new ones to appear. I assured her that wasn't true, and gave her an example. She was still arguementive.
  3. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Messages: 1,557

    i NEVER cut back crape myrtles back to the main trunks, its murder to the plant and it looks like s**t. To properly maintain a crape myrtle only selective prune the new growth shoots to give it shape. Since there are many new varieties on the market now, you can purchase lower growing crape myrtles so they can keep their natural shape and not get so tall you have to cut them back severely. Its all about correct cultivars for correct spots.
  4. ipm

    ipm LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 264

    STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate to see a beautiful frame butcherd by some hacker.

    There are several different sizes of Crape Myrtles and I think that is where some of the confusion comes in to play. If you are going to prune take the suckers and thin the frame, if it needs it. If you have a tree that is overbearing remove it and plant the correct variety.
  5. wojo23323

    wojo23323 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 608

    I agree with all of the above posts. I never hack them off at 5 feet.
  6. LakeSide Lawn and Landscape

    LakeSide Lawn and Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 337

    greenman said it all:D
  7. TurfGuyTX

    TurfGuyTX LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 648

    It's going to take alot more education in this industry to stop the butchery of them. I trim only the suckers and any limbs that need to be removed for improvent in shape.
  8. blafleur

    blafleur LawnSite Member
    Messages: 229

    Glad to see other feel the way I do about this. Crepe myrtles cut back to main branches every year begin to look like genetic mutants after a while. Some wives tales are very persistent. Some of the problem besides ignorance is the planting of too large a variety in too small an area.

  9. BB36

    BB36 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 171

    Any new growth from a Crape Myrtle is where you get your new blooms from,not from the old growth. So by pruning the plant you can keep the blooms at eye level, instead of letting it become a small tree and then all the blooms are high in the tree, not at eye level. I believe Its more appealing to see the many summer blooms at eye level.If any of you have ever been to Hilton Head South Carolina those guys down there do a wonderful job of pruning Crape Myrtles.
  10. Eastview Landscaping

    Eastview Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 21

    Iwas about to say that all blooms appear on first year growth, and that some owners have a preference as to height etc. and if you are in business to do what customers ask then prune or remove trees that arent where they are supposed to be.... I have moved more plants in yards than I mow grass ,, the installer has a crew of Mexicans that either just dont care or there is no quality control, from contractor or landscraper... puts a bunch of money in my pocket to constantly fix others errors but does get a little annoying. like plants all against foundation or right on edge of driv or walks

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