21 February 2007

Pruning Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtle trees are popular landscape plants and specimens here in the Atlanta area. They are ubiqitous, common, and redundant, though beautiful and almost irresistible in the landscape. They are especially useful in the commercial landscape where careful control of plant size and shape is necessary, not only for aesthetic, but also liability reasons. It is not uncommon to see them being pruned as early as December. Our customers see this, and I am frequently asked when the crape myrtles will be pruned.

Pruning crape myrtles does nothing for their blooming. There is a beautiful, gigantic crape near the Fuqua building in the Atlanta Botanical Garden which is absolutely beautiful, and has had minimal pruning. Pruning crapes is done to control size and shape. Crape myrtles bloom on new wood, and handle pruning well.

As far as time frame is concerned, February is the time--post Valentines day. Maintenance companies, and commercial operations need to buffer around this time frame, due to the volume of work required, and the relatively short time between mid-February and Spring here in the Atlanta area. However, December is very early, and January is early.

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