Pruning a Huge Crepe Myrtle - Knowledgebase Question

Salem, Ne
Avatar for garykelley5
Question by garykelley5
October 23, 2010
My father planted my crepe myrtle >40 years ago...and he periodically cut it way back to a few feet high. Time has passed and it is now as tall as the brick rancher I live in. How far back can I prune/cut it without killing it?...should I cut it back in February?

Answer from NGA
October 23, 2010
Since crepe myrtle blooms on the new growth of the season, you can prune yours back in February or March and it will stll bloom right on schedule for you. It sounds like it is too large to completely whack back without doing some serious damage so here's what I would do: begin by pruning the entire shrub back by one third. Then selectively remove some of the oldest growth, right down to ground level. This will help thin out the shrub so that when new growth appears in the spring, the shrub won't be quite so dense and thick. Next winter you can reduce the size by one third again (and thin if necessary). By the third spring it should be a more manageable size and will have come through the pruning sessions without harm. I know a picture is worth a thousand words so if you access the following website you'll see a line drawing of the process. The drawings are about two=thirds down on the page: http://aggie-horticulture.tamu...

Hope this information helps!

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