This easy guide shows how to prune a crepe myrtle during the winter months. Crepe myrtles are beautiful trees with a stunning display of flowers and attractive bark. Pruning will increase the amount of bloom and create an attractively shaped tree.
It is best to prune a crepe myrtle in the winter when they are dormant. Wait until all the leaves have dropped, usually in mid to late winter is best. Crepe myrtles can be cut back by 30% of their total size.
Some people cut it back quite severely even back to the top of the trunk, but this isn’t necessary. Smaller trees may only need a light pruning to encourage new growth and more flowers.
Crepe myrtles can be pruned into either a tree or leave the bottom branches if you would prefer your crepe myrtle to be a bush.
- Hand Saw or Pruning Saw (Paid link)
- Pruners – These top rated ratcheting pruners from Amazon are great if you have arthritis in your hands. (Paid link)
- Ladder (For larger trees)
Time needed: 30 minutes.
Pruning a Crepe Myrtle
- Begin with a Hand Saw
First stand back from your tree then decide which major branches will need to be cut off with the hand saw. Pick any branches that have grown up from the base, are too low or are growing through the middle of the tree preventing good air flow.
- Cutting Larger Branches
Use the hand saw or pruning saw to cut these branches close to the trunk of the tree at an angle so the rain will run off the cut. This will prevent disease. It is best to make a cut underneath the branch first before cutting down from the top so you will achieve a clean cut.
- Cutting Smaller Branches with Loppers
Next prune any branches that are less than an inch thick with loppers. Cut any branches pointing towards the middle of the tree then stand back and decide how much you want to cut back the canopy.
- Reducing the Overall Size of the Tree
Once you have decided how much to cut the branches back, cut each branch just above a node at an angle. Use the pruners for smaller branches.
- Finishing the Pruning
Stand back every now and then to assess your work. You really can’t go wrong with a crepe myrtle; they are forgiving trees.
Crepe myrtles are a versatile small tree that are suitable for a wide range of climates. They are stunning on their own as a feature tree or plant in a row along a driveway for an impressive display.
A great way to create a mass planting without spending any more money is by saving the seeds in the fall (autumn). See this guide to Saving Crepe Myrtle Seeds for more information.
This extendable tree pruner from Amazon reduces the need to use ladders for tall trees. (Paid link)
To Print or Save this guide on how to prune a crepe myrtle, click the button below for the PDF file.
For more information on saving money around the home, try this Homesteading guide.
Subscribe to our fortnightly mailing list to recieve our latest posts direct to your inbox & receive 50 ways to save money at home free.
We will never sell your address to third parties or send you spam.Follow Grow Create Save on: