Most people have heard of the term “pruning” but not everyone understands how or why it’s done. This blog post will teach you how to prune an overgrown crepe myrtle
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Assess the tree’s size and shape
Once you have determined that your crepe myrtle is indeed overgrown, you will need to assess the size and shape of the tree. If the tree is small enough, you may be able to simply prune it back to the desired size. However, if the tree is large and/or misshapen, you may need to remove some of the larger branches.
Determine how much you want to prune
Before you begin pruning, it’s important to decide how much you want to trim off the crepe myrtle. If the tree is only slightly overgrown, you may only need to prune off a few branches. However, if the crepe myrtle is severely overgrown, you may need to prune it back quite a bit.
Some people choose to prune their crepe myrtles down to stumps every few years in order to keep them small and manageable. If you decide to do this, make sure to wait until the tree is dormant in the winter so that you don’t shock it.
Prune away any dead or diseased wood
Start by pruning away any dead or diseased wood. Disinfect your pruning tools after each cut by wiping them down with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Next, remove any crossing or rubbing branches. These can damage the crepe myrtle’s bark and provide entry points for pests and diseases.
Once you’ve removed the dead, diseased, and crossing branches, you can begin to shape the crepe myrtle. Start by removing any suckers (vertical shoots) that are growing from the trunk or main branches. Then, cut back the tips of the longest branches to encourage new growth.
Finally, thin out the interior of the crepe myrtle to improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease. Cut back some of the branches that are growing in toward the center of the plant, taking care not to remove more than one-third of the growth.
Cut away any crossing or rubbing branches
Cut away any crossing or rubbing branches. These can damage the tree’s bark and leave it susceptible to disease. Also, remove any dead branches.
Next, thin out the canopy to allow more light to reach the inner branches. To do this, make selective cuts to reduce the overall size of the tree. Start by cutting away any large, dead branches. Then, remove any smaller branches that are growing in toward the center of the tree. Finally, cut back any exterior branches that are longer than those on the inside of the tree.
When you’re finished, your tree should have a more open canopy with evenly spaced branches.
Trim back any suckers or water sprouts
Trim back any suckers or water sprouts that are growing from the trunk or main branches. These are non-flowering shoots that steal energy from the flowering parts of the plant. Suckers are easy to spot because they are thinner and point straight up, while water sprouts fan out at a 45-degree angle from the trunk or branches. Use pruning shears to snip these away at the point where they meet the main plant.
Prune away any branches growing into the center of the tree
To keep your crepe myrtle looking its best, you’ll need to prune it each year. You can begin pruning when the tree is young, and you should continue pruning every year until the tree reaches the desired size and shape.
When pruning, you’ll want to remove any branches that are growing into the center of the tree. These branches can crowd out the other branches and make it difficult for sunlight to reach the leaves. You should also remove any branches that are crossing over other branches.
In addition to pruning away unwanted growth, you’ll also need to trim back any branches that are longer than the others. This will help promote new growth and keep the tree looking full and healthy.
If you have an overgrown crepe myrtle, you may need to do some heavier pruning to bring it back under control. However, be sure not to remove more than one-third of the tree’s total growth in any given year. Removing too much at once can stress the tree and cause it to become weak or even die.
Thin out the canopy to allow light and air to reach the inner branches
Crepe myrtles are generally low-maintenance shrubs, but they can become overgrown and require pruning to maintain their shape and size. You should thin out the canopy of your crepe myrtle to allow light and air to reach the inner branches. This will also help reduce the risk of disease and pests. You can thin out the canopy by pruning back the longest branches. Prune crepe myrtles in early spring, before new growth begins.
Cut back the remaining branches to the desired length
To prune an overgrown crepe myrtle, start by cutting back the tallest branches to the desired length. Then, cut back the remaining branches by 1/3 their length. Finally, trim any remaining leaves or branches that are growing sideways or downward.