Crepe myrtles are one of the most beautiful and popular trees in Florida, known as the lilac of the South! It is a solid and adaptable flowering tree that dons large blooms that last for up to 100 days.
While many people plant crepe myrtles, not everyone trims them correctly. Because of this, it affects the tree’s overall growth and the way its flowers bloom. That’s why it’s crucial to know when to trim crepe myrtles and how to do it properly.
If you’re wondering when to trim crepe myrtles in Florida, read on!
When to Trim Crepe Myrtles in Florida
Fortunately, crepe myrtles don’t need pruning too often. They also don’t require to be cut back through chopping of its tops. If ever you trim the tree back to its same height yearly, the topping would form large knuckles.
That is called crape murder, which damages and disfigures the tree, resulting in a witch broom appearance. This is why it’s crucial to know how to trim and prune it well, starting with when it should be pruned.
That said, take note that pruning crape myrtles are only optional. You won’t need to trim or prune everything as long as your tree is appropriately located and can grow to its mature size successfully in its environment. However, you may want to consider pruning it at certain times to manage its overall growth and shape for a fuller bloom, particularly on younger trees.
In Florida, you should prune crepe myrtles in January or February, which is before the new growth starts and when the last freeze of the year is done. This will allow your tree to develop properly come summer season.
It’s best to do so during mid-February to prevent winter injury, shape the tree, and not control its overall height. It will also help maintain natural beauty, as it is growing healthy.
While it’s recommended to prune your tree before the dormant season ends in late winter or early spring, it’s best to remove dead branches and old seed pods that were left from the last summer season. Remove the limbs preventing movement of people and vehicles, or are considered as safety hazards. Also, prune any vigorous limbs growing quickly in the middle of your tree at any time throughout the year.
Furthermore, you should remove any sprouts that arise from the base of your crepe myrtle, which can be done any time when you spot them growing.
Quick Tips to Prune Crepe Myrtles
Now that you’re familiar with when to trim crepe myrtles in Florida, how can you do this properly without affecting its health and growth?
Here are a few tips you can follow:
- If the trunks are overgrown near its bottom, avoid keeping over five, removing the rest
- Remove all the dead and weak branches, as well as cutting branches that are too low, growing inward, at awkward angles, crossing, or rubbing
- You can trim the branches as needed, maintaining how you’d like to grow your tree. It can maintain a straight-up, rounded, or outward tree shape
- Do NOT cut your crepe myrtle back too far, as this would grow thin and weak branches. This will also fail to support any growing flowers, which causes them to sag and have the tree lose shape
If you want to prune your crepe myrtle, you can refer to this video for pruning them successfully:
Wrapping It Up
When it comes to pruning crepe myrtles, you don’t need to do this too often. In fact, you don’t need to prune it at all, save for a few trimmings here and there as needed. If you plan on trimming or pruning it, make sure you do it during the late winter season to grow beautiful in the months to come.
I hope that you learned more about crepe myrtles and how you can prune them better. If you have crepe myrtles, make sure that you take this information into account and prune them well, but only as needed. Good luck!