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Crepe Myrtle trees are a favorite of many southeastern yards and gardens, featuring tall, slender trunks and full, blooming foliage that brings color and shade to your property. As with all trees, pruning is key; lopping off the blooming tops is a common practice- stop! This practice can hinder and even-harm your trees:

  • Lopping prevents aesthetically-appealing bark from forming on the tree trunk.
  • Lopping results in unsightly stumps without foliage.
  • Lopping produces shoots to sprout from the trunk, which cannot bear the weight of the blossoms. The result? Shoots that are too-weak to support the blossoms, which often bend to the ground below.

Stop lopping the top of your Crepe Myrtle! Use these tips to prune yours for optimal growth and aesthetic appeal:


Prune for fuller trees.

Why prune? Regular pruning shrubs and bushes can make them fuller and more-lush. Those that believe lopping is the best strategy often falsely believe they should remove the seed-heads for more blooms next season or to contain growth; lopping does not achieve this, but proper pruning will.


Take time to make a plan.

Before you pull out your pruners or sharpen your shears, make a plan regarding what you are pruning and how much you will prune. While it is possible to return to a tree and trim more, you can’t trim less so prune cautiously.


Carefully consider spacing.

It is important to keep your Crepe Myrtles well-spaced, to allow for ventilation and ample sunlight. A good rule of thumb is to observe your trees: do birds fly through the trunks and around them with ease? If so, your spacing is appropriate.


Prune properly.

Stop lopping and learn how to prune your Crepe Myrtles properly. With sharp shears and clippers, pay attention to these areas:

  • The higher branches that are bending toward the trunk of the tree.
  • Any branches that cross, twist, or tangle around other branches.
  • Branches that have grown in awkward or potentially-tricky angles.
  • Don’t cut down to the trunk; this avoids a bare stump.
  • Remove seed-heads located at the end or tip of branches sparingly.
  • Any branch that exceeds four-feet tall that extends from the main trunk of your tree.


Prune your trees in winter.

The best time to prune your Crepe Myrtles in South Carolina is in late-winter. This is a time of year when the leaves have fallen, which makes the branches easier to trim. Blooming when the tree is not in blossom can create more blooms next season.


Care for your Crepe Myrtles and prune them regularly for optimal growth and hardiness. Interested in adding some of these utilitarian and beautiful trees to your landscape? Contact Natural Tendencies Landscape Professionals for more information and estimates of costs.