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Pruning Crepe Myrtle

When is the best time to prune Crepe Myrtle?

Many of our customers want to get a jump on winter pruning, so they do it in late November or December. However, this can be detrimental to the plant as it may cause early growth during winter warm spells, and the growth will be susceptible to additional winter freezes.

For our zone here in Central Virginia, the best time to prune Crepe Myrtle is in January and February. (This is also a great time to prune roses, shrubs, and trees.) Be generous with your pruning, but please don't commit "Crepe Murder"! Unfortunately, we see this every year when someone chops back their Crepe Myrtle below the knuckles.

When you prune a Crepe Myrtle back too far, there are two detrimental effects. First, it reduces the number of blooms for the upcoming season. Then, new growth will become too long and leggy and unable to support the weight of heavy blooms, especially when wet. These long, weak branches bend over and often break during heavy rains.

When you prune Crepe Myrtle properly, they produce abundant blooms with strong, supporting branches that keep the plant's natural shape. This also helps the plant naturally fight off diseases and pests.

Download our Complete Guide to Crepe Myrtle Pruning for additional instructions with photo examples of proper pruning.

Until next time – Happy Gardening!


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