How to prune Crepe Myrtle trees

How to prune Crepe Myrtle Trees

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Crepe Myrtles are everywhere; grocery store parking lots, your own yard and a Forsyth Park. But, they all seem to be trimmed differently.

"It's always better for the plant to keep the natural canopy in the tree and not top out the tree; the tree responds to put on fast, vigorous growth to survive,” said Shannon Baughman, a certified arborist with Barlett Tree Experts.

While you may not want to chop off the top of the tree altogether, some pruning is good.

"What arborists look for is, of course, any dead limbs in the tree; any old stubs in the tree; looking for crossing or interfering branches - when you have two branches that are touching or rubbing, they're going to cause a wound in the tree,” Baughman said.

Pruning is healthier than topping-out a tree and now is the time of year to do it.

"The best time to prune a deciduous tree, even Crepe Myrtles, is during the dormant season. And we're in a window right now,” Baughman said.

If a Myrtle is left to its own doing, the look of the tree will change.

"Those secondary branches will become more of a primary branch. They will stiffen up. They will start putting on lateral branches, but it can take three to five years to really respond well and get back to more of that natural state."

With any gardening, a little research goes a long way and yields a more thought-out garden.

"Crepe Myrtles come in shrub forms to tree forms that want to get 40-feet. Before you plant, figure out the area and that is going to help you determine what type of Crepe Myrtle you are going to buy."

Of course, the final choice is yours, but arborists told WTOC a natural Crepe Myrtle tends to be a healthier tree- blooms and all.

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