Ferris Crilly: Hello, I am Ferris Crilly Owner of Pro Arbor. It's time to prune your crape myrtles to ensure a good bloom this summer. I am here with ISA Certified Arborist Jeff Lange who will show us how to prune this unique tress.
Jeff Lange: Crape Myrtles come in a wide variety of flower color and full leave color. Today we are going prune a tree and show you how to take best advantage of your trees' individual features, timing is critical.
Crape Myrtles flower on new wood so plant a prune in late winter when the tree is dormant, late February is ideal. It is best to make clean pruning cuts using sharp hand shears or long handled loppers and avoid chainsaws whenever possible.
Crapes look best when they have a multiple trunk formed and a crown that is either as tall as it is wide or slightly taller. This will highlight flowering and full color characteristics while allowing the showy bark to be seen.
Remove the water sprouts or suckers that come out around the base, leaving 3 to 5, sometimes 7 large strong canes. Also remove smaller side branches from the lower portion of the main trunk.
Try to maintain a ratio between one to one and two to one height of the crown to the height of the trunk. If you have one of the shorter varieties one to one maybe better. For most of the trees form one and half or two to one may be good.
Next, prune the individual stems leaving three to four evenly spaced side branches. This will help produce unwanted moisture retention and the potential for disease while creating a balanced crown. Don't hedge or top your crape myrtle, these practices can lead to poor form and unsound structure. Also, make sure you mulch your crapes and give them an occasional fertilization.
Follow these simple steps and your crape myrtle will reward you with gobs of flowers every summer. Happy Gardening!