The major nutrient most commonly deficient in high pH soil is iron. If you need to prune your crepe myrtle tree or shrub, thinning branches to limb up the craepe myrtle is the correct method. But this is laborious and expensive and seldom succeeds over time. It prevents the formation of pretty, mottled bark on maturing trunks. 1. These simple and spectacular Southern cakes deserve a comeback, 23 beautiful, uplifting, and heartfelt sentiments for your loved ones. They take a naturally attractive shape with a rounded canopy, which will often reach as low as the ground. This practice results in a "witch's broom" appearance and a tree that is no longer in proportion. Name – Lagerstroemia indica Family – Lythraceae Type – tree or shrub Height – 10 to 16 feet (3 to 5 meters) Exposure – full sun, part sun Soil – rich enough Foliage – deciduous Flowering – May to October. It's how to properly prune their crepe myrtles Here's a step-by-step guide showing how the Grumps prunes his. Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees Like an Expert. WEAK BRANCHES Severe pruning encourages rapid new growth (photo, right) with large flower heads. No matter how many times I tell folks not to chop their crepe myrtles into big, ugly stumps each spring, they do it anyway, maiming the beautiful trunks and ruining the natural treelike form. There are many different kinds of crape myrtles available, from bushy dwarfs with many small stems to graceful small trees with thicker trunks. If you have a more traditional cultivar or crepe myrtle, which does not stay in flower for long, then pruning away spent flowers will encourage it to bloom again. Gretchen Heber (@gretchenheber) Crape myrtles bloom on the new season’s growth in spring, so trimming them in February before new grow starts is ideal. What's alkaline soil? Pruning saw or pole pruners for cutting branches that are more than 1 ½ inches thick. Choose the right size for your landscape to help avoid the ultimate Southern gardening sin, "crepe murder" (severely pruning your tree to just a few sticks and ruining its natural form). You can avoid many pruning headaches simply by planting the right variety. It is important not to prune the tops of crepe myrtle trees to make them bloom. These shortfalls can stunt certain plants. Lack of iron causes chlorosis (yellow leaves with green veins). Our job when pruning a crape myrtle is to simply guide it to its best potential and thin it out a bit to allow air … If you follow these guidelines, then your crape myrtle will be a very low maintenance plant that does not need regular pruning. Southern Living is part of the Meredith Home Group. Crepe myrtles have rounded, light green leaves that emerge in the spring. 2. Remove lower limbs that are thinner than a pencil diameter. All higher branches growing inward towards the center of the tree. While the plant is young, it is acceptable to prune the top of the branches. Prune large branches back to a crotch. 1. 2. 3. This is why people often refer to alkaline soil as "limy" or "chalky." These folks need to remember that crepe myrtles are small trees, not foundation shrubs. Others hack back these plants to keep them from getting too big. These hardy trees have few pest or disease problems, and they require little water and fertilizer. You could learn from this. Severe chlorosis eventually kills plants. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. (12/25/20) Crape myrtles are one of the most controversial and often-discussed ornamental plants. Gather pruning equipment. This ruins the natural form and encourages the growth of spindly, whiplike branches that are too weak to hold up the flowers. Unfortunately, the new branches are so long and weak that they can’t support the weight of the flowers. It blooms in abundance in summer and fall, with huge panicles of densely packed, crinkled flowers. This practice is often unnecessary with newer cultivars because most have been selected for long seasons of bloom without repeated pruning. There are lots to choose from and many are carefree, drought-tolerant native plants. A tree that is just pruned at the tips will not have its flowering ability negatively affected. This is absolutely false. Most crepe myrtles that have not been pruned tend to flower more heavily, which is another reason you may wish to avoid pruning it. Remove branches that are too close together or that cross or rub each other. When pruning a crepe myrtle, dont chop your large crepe myrtles down to ugly stubs each spring just because your neighbors do. When pruning a crepe myrtle, remember that these trees have vigorous growth habits, so pruning needs to be carried out annually because the tree will quickly regrow to its former size if it isn’t kept in check. Because a lot of you take guidance from your ignorant neighbors neighbors, who prune their crepe myrtles to look like this. Single-trunk trees: Reduce side branches that could compete with the leader, as well as "basal sprouts" that emerge from the base of the plant. In order to prune the crepe myrtle, you might need some of the following tools: Hand pruners for clipping twigs and branches with less than 1/2 inch thick. Below we have provided some example of … Christmas Tree Economics: Are Baby Boomers Killing the Christmas Tree Industry? The tree is actually native to parts of Australia and Asia. 4) Crape Myrtles need at least 6 hours of DIRECT SUN for good, long summer bloom. Email The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. For example, alkaline soil supplies plants with plenty of calcium and magnesium. Train these trunks to grow upward and outward from the base of the plant. Prune crepe myrtle trees when you wish to shape them or if you find the branches are too close together for your taste, but for the most part, you do not need to prune crepe myrtle trees. The bark of the tree has a mottled effect, and it sheds itself throughout the year to reveal fresh bark beneath. Pole pruners or a pruning saw to cut branches more than 1-1/2 inches thick. The best practice to ensure good shape and health is to remove all of the tips of the tree. These whips are too weak to hold up the flowers, so the branches often bend to the ground, like a drunk who's about to lose his lunch. Avoid heavy pruning during fall because this will make the tree more vulnerable to winter damage, and it also means the tree will look unattractive through winter. So plant them out in the yard -- not in front of your bay windows. If so, here is a pruning task everyone can agree on. After all, you can always go back and cut more. To encourage blooming, prune immediately after flowers are spent. Below is the result of this year's pruning. All crossing, rubbing, and dead branches. Every year, the job gets easier. Cut off suckers from the bottom, rubbing and cross growing branches … 3. Properly pruning you crape myrtle will maximize blooms, promote new growth and give your plant a great shape. When people think of crepe myrtles, they envision warm summer days and pink, red, lavender, and white flower clusters sagging in the sun. Blaze into autumn with summer's favorite tree. The absolute best way to prune crape myrtles is to not prune them at all! Hand pruners to clip twigs and branches less than 1/2-inch thick. Losing their retirements? Some turn oak trees yellow and cause the leaves of azaleas and gardenias to become yellow between the veins. Plant one now, and watch your tree change with the seasons. Loppers for cutting branches with ½ to 1 ½ inches thick. If the plants seem to need pruning every other week to keep them from covering the windows or walk, they're planted in the wrong place. Gather the following supplies from your garage or a hardware store before you get started: A hand pruner, for pruning small twigs and thin branches. It doesn't look too bad, but needs thinning. Crepe myrtles grow naturally in a graceful vase shape. To reduce a crepe myrtles height, use hand pruners or loppers to shorten the topmost branches by 23 ft. in late winter, always cutting back to a side branch or bud. We have over 55 varieties available of miniature, dwarf, medium and standard (tree) crape myrtles. So to make a point… to achieve the multi stem look, allow your Crape Myrtle to branch along the length of the stem and follow these steps Try to prune later in winter, February is ideal. This is because dormant buds become stimulated when the ends of the stems are cut, and new flowers will develop at the tips of these cut stems. Then, when the temperatures drop in the fall, leaves gradually transform from green to sparkling fall hues. It's the high crime of horticulture–the senseless, annual chopping back of beautiful crepe myrtles. My objective was to maintain well-spaced, main trunks with handsome bark and to thin out out the center to permit easy penetration of sunlight and air. First, less is more. Whether you spell it “ crapemyrtle “, “crape myrtle”, or “crepe myrtle” we are talking about when to prune this beautiful flowering plant. Use some sharp shears or a pruning saw to remove occasional branches; these should be younger branches that do not have a very thick diameter. Drive through any Southern neighborhood in early spring and, before long, you'll encounter a spiritually fulfilled suburbanite, pruning saw in hand and a pile of crepe myrtle branches on the ground. Not all soils in the South pass the acid test. Remember, they can vary greatly in size and bloom colors. I like pruning quite hard because in spring the branch will shoot out with new growth. If this option is not suitable, you can use ‘pollarding.’ This involves cutting the tree back quite dramatically to branches that are around three years old and several inches thick. Always cut back to a larger branch of the trunk. The trend to drastically cut back a crepe myrtle by entirely lopping off the upper section led to the coining of the term ‘crepe murder,’ which refers to the way many people find the winter stumps of crepe myrtle to be unattractive. 5) Watch for Crape Myrtle Asian Bark Scale, it turns the trunks completely black and must be treated systemically and topically. What concerns people most in the country right now? The crepe myrtle tree is also commonly known as ‘crape myrtle,’ ‘crepe flower,’ and ‘Indian crape myrtle.’ Botanically speaking, its scientific name is Lagerstroemia indica. But it's stingy with zinc, manganese, and sulfur. 3. The first is to completely replace the existing soil with acid soil, so you can grow acid-loving plants. Firstly, compared to regular crepe myrtles, small crepe myrtles have a slower growth rate. It will also prove to the world that you're not a housefly. Crape is the preferred name and what we most commonly use here in Louisiana. Leaving them doesn't reduce blooming. Loppers to cut branches 1/2-inch to 1-1/2 inches thick. A forest of skinny, whip-like shoots sprouts from the end of each ugly stump. If you already have a well-maintained crepe myrtle, regular pruning at the end of each winter or beginning of spring can keep it from becoming overgrown. Dwarf cultivars that work well as low hedging or in borders include ‘Hopi,’ ‘Zuni,’ ‘Prairie Lace,’ ‘Centennial,’ ‘Victor,’ and ‘Acoma.’ Larger varieties, like ‘Sioux,’ ‘Natchez,’ ‘Muskogee,’ ‘Miami,’ ‘Watermelon Red,’ and ‘Dynamite’ will typically reach a minimum of 25 feet tall, so they should be planted in a wide open space, away from the house and in a spot where they can grow unrestricted. I never pruned it much, because I strung it with tiny Xmas lights that I never took down. Fall Pruning Crepe Myrtle Trees As the weather cools, growth stops and the leaves begin to fall from the trees. Now is the perfect time to plant these beautiful trees, which come in many colors and sizes to fit your needs and space. Our links seed capsules not need regular pruning soil-test kits at garden centers,,. Pruning crepe myrtle ‘ Acoma, ' and ‘ Victor ' are dwarf trees that grow 3-5 feet tall making... For most of us, that 's a good thing riled up is the pruning, basal,! 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