A crepe myrtle much improved

Now that my crepe myrtles are blooming I figured it was time for an quick update! This spring I pruned my crepe myrtles pretty heavily. Here’s what the bigger of my crepe myrtles looked like last summer when we moved in.

I don’t think they’d ever been pruned before. All the deadheads were still on them and there were lots of growths from the very bottom of the bush so it was just looking a little too wild for me. (I didn’t bother to share pictures of the crepe myrtle on the other side of the house. I pruned it, too, but since it doesn’t get as much sunlight it doesn’t grow nearly as fast. It isn’t even blooming yet!)

I pruned off the deadheads last summer and then waited to do my heavy pruning until early spring, just before the crepe myrtle’s heavy growth season. I was really nervous about taking too much off but after looking at lots of guides on how to prune them, I finally went for it. I’m not going to go into all that detail again, but you can read about here. And please, please, don’t murder your crepe myrtles. Just had to throw that out there.

Here’s after the pruning session in March. A little sad looking…

I was still worried that maybe I hadn’t taken enough off and next year I may do even more pruning to thin the bottom a bit more, but considering that this was my first experience pruning a crepe myrtle I think it turned out pretty good.

Some of my neighbors have even complimented me on them! Here’s the before and after again for easier comparison.

What do you think? An improvement over the crazy, wild overgrown bush? I’d like to think so.

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2 Responses to A crepe myrtle much improved

  1. GK June 28, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    I know this is an older post, but thank you! I have some of these in our yard and wondered why ours look like a big overgrown bushes from the bottom up, while everyone else’s have ‘stems’ and look more like small tidy trees. I will wait until autumn to prune the bottoms, but this helps a lot. It wasn’t my crepe myrtles (which look exactly like your before pictures) it was my inexperience with shaping it up. I thought maybe I just didn’t have the right kind of crepe myrtles. Can’t wait to see how they’ll look next year!

    • Simple House Expressions June 29, 2015 at 9:38 am #

      I’m so glad it was helpful for you! (Maybe you already saw it, but I did post a more detailed explanation of the pruning process and it’s linked above.) If your crepe myrtle is well established and seems healthy, you can go ahead and prune some of the suckers off the bottom now. They’re fairly hardy plants and can sustain some light pruning in the summer. Obviously, you don’t want to prune any of the tops right now as your plant is probably already blooming or about to bloom. Also, late winter/early spring before it sets new buds is the best time to prune! Pruning stimulates growth so you can damage the plant if you do heavy pruning in the fall before the dormant season. I know it might be hard to wait, but if you can that would be best! Also, keep in mind you shouldn’t prune off more than 1/3 of any plant in a given year so you don’t shock it! Good luck! 😀