How to Prune a Crape Myrtle
Video by Zac Ashmore
Crape myrtles are a popular Southern plant because they come in all sizes and colors and because they are easy to grow. Even in winter, their beautiful branches add elegance to the landscape with their graceful shapes and multicolored bark.
That is, crape myrtle branches *can* be beautiful, but only if they are properly pruned!
Crape myrtles should be treated more like trees than hedges when it comes to this annual task. If you want your landscape to include the long, elegant branches crape myrtles are known for, do not cut off the tops of the branches!
So put down the chainsaw and pick up the hand-held loppers. Tending to your crape myrtle in February or March will give you gorgeous blooms through the heat of summer and into fall.
- Cut off sucker stems growing up from the base of the main trunks.
- Look for branches that are damaged, misshapen, crossing the main trunks, or touching a house or structure. Cut them off at the branch base where they join the larger limb.
- Use sharp tools to make clean cuts.
- Cut off seed heads to encourage more growth in the spring.
Subscribe to Extension for Real Life
Fill in the information below to receive a weekly update of our blog posts.