Louisianians love Crape Myrtles. These pink, red, purple, and white trees add beauty and charm to any landscape. The colorful blooms never fade, no matter how HOT it gets. In the winter months, Crape Myrtles are dormant. In late fall, their leaves and blooms begin to fall off and within a month, this beautiful tree in bare.
LSU AgCenter Horticulturist, Allen Owings, shares his wisdom and knowledge about pruning these trees the correct way: Late fall through late winter is the ideal time to prune Crape Myrtles. When pruning your Crape Myrtle, plants should be thinned, not topped or butchered.  Topping or "Crape murdering" does not kill the tree, but it can result in the tree's declining health due to years of improper pruning. There are more Crape Myrtles being pruned improperly than the ones being pruned properly.

So thinning your Crape Myrtle is the way to go. Remove branches that rub against each other, or cross each other or are in competition with each other. Remove branches that do not contribute to the overall growth direction and shape that you desire for your tree. Also, eliminate suckers at the base of the tree and watersprouts (vigorous upright growth) in the tree canopy.  

The properly pruned Crape Myrtles will have:

  • Stronger wood
  • More flowers
  • Larger flowers
  • More pollinating insects
  • Enhanced bark features
  • More birds nesting
  • More canopy air circulation
  • Fewer watersprouts
  • Fewer suckers
  • Fewer insects and sooty mold
  • Less fungal decay in wood

When allowed to grow and mature, these are the most beautiful and majestic trees. Contact Planet Plant It, one of the leading names in landscape services and design consultation in Louisiana, if you need help to prune your Crape Myrtles properly or any of your landscape to enhance your outdoor space.

AuthorSteve Hanceford