Gibson Priest

Gibson Priest

Spring is just around the corner and all the leaves are gone from your favorite Crape Myrtle bush. It is now time to decide if you want to prune it or not.

The decision is yours, not anyone else, like your neighbors or family members who have taken their trees for all they are worth. I say that because every year we will receive calls asking if it is best to remove all growth from a Crape Myrtle tree other then the main few stems like they do at the parks and businesses in town? My answer is always the same, it is totally up to you as the owner.

If you prefer to keep the plant in a “bushy” state, trim back and remove everything higher then a foot from the ground. However, if you are like me and like the tree look, you can thin the canopy or remove any amount of the tree that you like. It is completely up to you to decide what shape and size that you want.

If the Crape Myrtle is near a drive way, you might want to remove the limbs on the pavement side or take all the lower limbs away so that the taller appearance will show forth.

The main reason to prune a Crape Myrtle is to add structural integrity to the plant. Crape Myrtles are very bad about growing out and the limbs will get heavy and break off or split, causing a big mess.

One thing to remember is to do any pruning before the plant starts to bloom so that you will have flowers on the tree. If you wait until late in the spring or early summer to prune, the flowers have already begun to set and there will be a bare spot where you remove limbs.

If you have any questions regarding pruning Crape Myrtles, you are welcome to contact the extension office at 770-749-2142 or email

For more information and details on upcoming events, check out the Polk County Extension office on Facebook by searching “UGA Extension Polk County.”

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