Pruning Crape Myrtles
Late winter (February to March) is a good time to prune many trees and shrubs in eastern North Carolina and many gardeners are considering pruning their crape myrtles. While crape myrtles, like many woody plants, benefit from judicious pruning, I see many that have simply been topped.
Many crape myrtles are cut back to bare trunks in the belief that this will yield more flowers. In reality this type of severe pruning results in a shorter bloom time, delayed flowering, weaker branching, and can increase insect and disease problems. This practice, although common, is harmful and is not the right way to prune a crape myrtle. Unfortunately, this technique is so ubiquitous that many people think it is the right way to prune crape myrtles and simply follow the lead of their neighbors.
Check out the following link for step by step instructions illustrating how to prune your crape myrtle correctly:
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This page can also be accessed from: go.ncsu.edu/readext?500732