Those darn crepe myrtles ...

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I don't know whether to "hack" the tops straight across where they look extremely ugly or to leave the top branches on from last year's growth. I have seen them BOTH ways around here. My plants are approximately 5 years old. I have had to selectlively prune them at times because the branches were rubbing against my siding and the edge of my roof. Last week I had help to physically move them to other areas. I have never seen other plants pruned the "hack" way and then gardeners have admiration for their beauty. I personally do not like this practice, but maybe it is the right practice for these plants. Can anyone give this former Ohioan the scoop on the crepe myrtle? Thanks.


Sumter, SC(Zone 8a)

Hi Karin. Around here we refer to this practice as crepe murder. It won't actually kill the plant, but it's unnecessary and prevents the tree from growing into a natural pleasing shape. It's okay to selectively prune limbs that are crisscrossing, but that's the only pruning I would ever do to a crepe myrtle. The prettiest crepe myrtles are those that have been untouched for decades. Hope you enjoy the 'au naturel' beauty of your trees for many yrs.

This message was edited Apr 13, 2013 7:38 PM

Kure Beach, NC(Zone 9a)

I agree with donna, don't cut it off. There is no reason too. People used to do it because there were only a few varieties and if you didn't want the tree growing tall, it had to be pruned. Now it's done because people see others doing it.
You did the right thing in moving it. By not hacking it back, you'll have a gorgeous plant all year long for years longer.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Thanks gals for the advice. Looking now at the various shapes of the crepe myrtles, the natural looking ones look better even in April. The way those branches have to sprout out from the hacking procedure is going to have to experience a miracle of nature to look good !! Looks like the plant gremlin came around and did his enemies in.


Clemmons, NC(Zone 7a)

My 3 trees are beautiful and I never whack them off as I see many do in this area. Mine seem to have more blooms than my other neighbors. These were about 13 years old in this picture .

Thumbnail by DebNifong Thumbnail by DebNifong Thumbnail by DebNifong
Hillsborough, NC

Deb ~ BEAUTIFUL crepe myrtles!

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

They sure ARE beautiful. I love where you have planted them.


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