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Here in Woodstock, Georgia, crepe myrtles are a common sight. They grow well in our hot, sunny climates and provide a beautiful addition to any landscape all year long with their bountiful blooms all summer and peeling bark and graceful form in the winter months. While many believe it is necessary to “top” their crepe myrtles, Autumn Hill Nursery garden center recommends simply choosing the right plant for your available space and only pruning your crepe myrtle to maintain its natural shape.

Many people top their crepe myrtles because they believe it promotes flowering – or simply because they see their neighbor doing it so they follow suit. The truth is, crepe myrtles flower on new growth so pruning is not necessary to make them bloom. Any pruning in late winter or early spring will encourage a flush of new growth in the spring and therefore more blooms, but light pruning will accomplish this just as well as topping. Topping crepe myrtles will leave them twiggy at the top with large trunk-like bottom growth, which is not how the plant would naturally grow.

Correct crepe myrtle pruning starts with shaping up the bottom of the plant. To keep a tree-like shape, remove all limbs except the three toCrepe Myrtle Pruning Img five strongest ones. As the plant matures, remove branches one-third to half way up the plant. When pruning branches and twigs, cut them to a side branch or close to the trunk. Basal sprouting may appear whether the tree is being pruned or not – simply remove these while they are still new growth rather than pruning them.

The key to keeping your crepe myrtles in good health and the appropriate size for your space is to choose the right cultivar before planting. Crepe myrtles come in a variety of sizes ranging from 3-15ft. Choosing the correct plant will make your landscape low maintenance and eliminate the need for severe pruning or topping.

Do you want more details on the correct way to prune your crepe myrtle? Are you thinking about adding one of these beautiful trees to your landscape? Call or come by Autumn Hill Nursery garden center in Canton, GA or Woodstock, GA and we will help you pick out just the right crepe myrtle for your landscape design!

 

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