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GARDEN TALK with DOUG - PRUNING CRAPE MYRTLES

Over the past couple of weeks I have had many questions about pruning – especially crape myrtle trees.
                There are two correct times to prune crape myrtle trees. 
The first correct time will be later this fall, after the trees drop leaves and go into a dormant state.  So, please hold off on the urge to prune now.  Once the leaves have fallen you can remove all of the seed pods left on the branches, as well as any unwanted branches.  Some homeowners like to leave the seed pods on the tree for “winter interest”. 
                The second correct time to prune your crape myrtle trees is during the winter months.
                Either times works because crape myrtle trees bloom on the new spring growth.
                BUT, PLEASE do not cut back your crape myrtle trees the way you see them done in shopping centers or apartment complexes.  Those of us in the green industry refer to this method of pruning as “crape murder”.   This type of whacking produces lots of upright growth called “water spouts” that inhibit air circulation and encourages disease.  The best way to prune a crape myrtle is to trim the “head” of the plant slightly so that you do not lose that natural weeping growth habit.
Posted: 10/10/2014 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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