Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is It CrapeMurder?

 It's pruning time! The time of year when our scraggly roses and unkempt crapemyrtle's call to us from their wintery brown states. But what in our Georgia gardens really needs pruning, and what is the best way to do it? Walter Reeves, the Georgia gardener, says "One of the most confounding arguments I face is whether and how to prune crapemyrtles. They are mercilessly “murdered” by unaware landscapers and homeowners each winter… yet they still bloom in summer. Some people even believe a crapemyrtle won’t bloom unless it is severely pruned. Crapemyrtles do not HAVE TO be pruned at all. They will still bloom."

 Here are some examples of POORLY pruned crapemyrtles:
  Here are some WELL-TRIMMED crapemyrtles: 
 
  If you are just looking to perform general maintenance on your tree, the ideal crepe myrtle pruning time is either in the late winter or early spring when the tree is in its dormancy. This is the best time to prune if you are reshaping the tree, removing deep or weak branches, trying to encourage new growth or size maintenance. After pruning, save the long straight crapemyrtle branches: they make wonderful stakes which will last at least 2 years! Also, the thin branches make neat trellises for pot plants and for training small ivy on. Be sure to make these while the wood is still green, after they dry you cannot drive a nail in.
  

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