Posted on

In the Short Rows: - Avoiding “Crape Murder”

In the Short Rows:

Pruning crape myrtle trees can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Many people believe that crape myrtles require excessive pruning in order to flower, but that isn’t the case, and leads to unnecessary ‘crepe murder.’

Excessive pruning makes the tree susceptible to a number of issues that arise from the tree suckering, including aphids and powdery mildew. If you choose to prune your crepe myrtle trees, pruning should be done during the tree’s dormancy in late winter to early spring.

To prune your crape myrtle tree, remove suckers (shoots coming from roots) first. Then, remove branches from the lower third of the tree to expose the trunk. Finally, remove any crowded or crossed-up branches from the canopy of the tree. Remember, it is better to be conservative when pruning!

To keep things “growing” well, consider applying fertilizer to your crepe myrtle trees. A generalpurpose blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will work. Think blends such as 10-10-10. For small, newly-planted trees, apply one teaspoon of fertilizer monthly from March-August around the planting hole.

Established trees should receive one broadcast application in the spring. UGA Extension recommends applying 8-88 or 10-10-10 at a rate of 1 lb. per 100 sq. ft. or 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 at a rate of ½ lb. per 100 sq. ft. Apply fertilizer before a rain event or water in the fertilizer after application. Avoid overfertilizing to prevent excess growth and reduced flowering.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Montgomery County Extension Office at 912583-2240.

Recent Death Notices