Few trees or shrubs explode with color in the summer the way Crape Myrtles do. Perhaps this is why these trees are so popular throughout Maryland. Crape Myrtles are like the “31 Flavors” of the tree world. They come in every size and many colors. The most important factor is choosing the variety to suit your space! You can find helpful varietal information at the National Arboretum website.By choosing the correct plant, you can minimize the need to prune. Here are a couple of examples of poor and unnecessary pruning, often called ‘Crape Murder’ by landscapers.
If you really do need to prune, here is some useful information:
- Remove suckers (those little sprouts at the base of the tree) by clipping them as close to the ground as you can with SHARP pruning shears.
- Remove any interior branches that cross or rub on other branches. Ideally all of your main branches will point “out”.
- Remove any branches thinner than your finger. This also includes basically all of the old seed pod branches.
- Prune in the early spring. Remember that Crapes leaf out a lot later than native trees. In Central Maryland, this gives you until about the middle of April to prune safely.
If your Crape Myrtles are particularly tall or you don’t quite have the time to take on the work, we recommend contacting an Annapolis area landscaper who can provide a quote and handle the job for you.