Is It Too Late To Prune My Crape Myrtle?

Filed Under: Pruning, Trees · Keywords: My, Started, April, Prune, Pruning, Tips, Tree, Trees, Crepe, Crape · 2649 Views
Help! My mature (10 ft. tall) crepe myrtles have just started to sprout leaves (it's the end of April) and I haven't pruned off the dead ends from last year yet! Is it too late? What will happen if I don't prune the crepe myrtles? Would a light pruning of just the tips damage the trees now that they've started to leaf?


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Answer #1 · Brooks Wilson's Answer · Crape Myrtles can be pruned any time. Of course, if you prune them when they are budding you will probably not see as good of bloom. They usually begin budding in summer sometime depending on where you live. It won't hurt if you dont prune at all, however, pruning will send out more new growth and Crape Myrtles set buds on new growth. If you prune them now they will send out much more new growth below where you make the pruning cuts. I have Crape Myrtles that I haven't pruned in years. They are too tall and I don't want to get on a ladder. They bloom heavily every year. Once a larger growing, 10' plus Crape Myrtle, reaches its mature height it will bloom well regardless of pruning. For semi-dwarf and true dwarf varieties, 2' to 10' mature height, I would recommend pruning every year just before spring.)


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Brigette Polmar

Brigette Polmar · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks, Brooks! I've been avoiding the ladder myself!

3 years ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
This is a good question. For the first time ever, had I not been late last year pruning two of the crape myrtles in my yard, I might not could answer this question. If your crapes are just barely leafing out, I'd say it would be okay to do the heavier type pruning shown in my article "How To Prune A Crape Myrtle" on this website. If they are mature, established specimens, like Brooks said, you don't have to prune them at all. It won't hurt to not prune them. The one's I pruned last year in my yard are about 12 feet or so tall, and now fairly mature trees with full canopies, so I didn't prune them this year. I did remove a few suckers that had grown from the base and a few stray branches here and there that would have spoiled the shape of the canopy this year. You can do this light pruning any time of year. I agree with ya'll, when a crape myrtle gets so tall that you need a tall ladder to prune it, it's best to leave the canopy alone...only removing suckers and lower branches.

3 years ago ·
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