University of Florida

Pruning Crapemyrtles

Crapemyrtles are beautiful plants found in many yards, but some homeowners aren't sure how to properly prune them.

Generally speaking, crapemyrtles require little pruning, though removing spent flowers and dried fruits can improve appearance. Remove no more than twelve inches from the branch tips for best results.

You should remove any "suckers" that develop along the main stem or roots. You can also thin out small, twiggy growth within the canopy to create better air circulation and prevent the disease powdery mildew.

If you need to improve the plant's shape or form, prune your crapemyrtles just before new leaves emerge in the spring. Avoid annual or frequent hard pruning, which can ruin your crapemyrtle's natural form and can reduce the number of flowers.

Unfortunately, many homeowners and landscape professionals prune crapemyrtle trees too severely, a practice commonly knows as topping or "crape murder." This is not only unnecessary, but damages the tree and could even shorten its life.

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An example of crape murder
Example of improper pruning

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