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How And When To Prune Crape Myrtles In Ocala, FL

How And When To Prune Crape Myrtles In Ocala, FL Few flowering plants are as loved as the crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica, USDA Hardiness Zones 7–9). It is a largely popular plant in the Ocala, FL area as it thrives in heat, humidity, and is a trooper in drought. While many people incorporate the plant into their landscapes, it is probably one of the most misunderstood when it comes to how and when to prune it. So much so that the landscape industry has gone so far as to call it “Crape-murder”. It is my goal today to clear up some of these myths and misunderstandings.

How And When To Prune Crape Myrtles In Ocala, FL To start off with, it is a common myth that if you don’t prune a Crape Myrtle it will not bloom the next year. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, improper pruning can actually decrease blooms! It is better to not prune them at all than to prune them in an improper fashion. Some of the effects of improper pruning can include: reduced number of blooms, unsupported blooms/broken branches, and encouraged disease and insect infestations.

When you prune your Crape Myrtle, the goal is to accomplish a graceful structure with strong upright branches. This will provide you with a much more healthy tree, as well as give you the benefit of earlier blooms in much larger quantities. It is also much more appealing to the eye throughout the Winter months.

How And When To Prune Crape Myrtles In Ocala, FL The way in which you prune depends on the type of plant you have. If you have the tree-form prune as follows:

  1. Be sure to completely remove all sucker shoots and sprouts at soil level and along the trunk.
  2. Completely prune all limbs that grow horizontally in the crown of the tree. This will give your tree better form and make room for the stronger branches.
  3. Prune back remaining branches to the place where they are one-half to one-fourth inch in diameter. This will result in a nice symmetrical form, ready for next years blooms.

If you have a shrub-type, it will be a little less work. You can, for the most part, shape it as you would any other shrub. The Crape Myrtle grows very fast in the summer, so you will want to trim back at least a foot or two to make room for new growth.

Unless you are trying to get a second round of blooms during the year, Crape Myrtles should be pruned around February. If you do decide to go for a second round, you can encourage the second blossoms by pruning the first as soon as they begin to fade. This is a technique called deadheading. Just don’t try it after August, as this would be to close to winter.

We Provide Services to the Following Cities, Towns and surrounding areas in FL:
  • Ocala, FL
  • Belleview, FL
  • Silver Springs, FL
  • Summerfield, FL
  • Ocklawaha, FL
  • The Villages, FL
  • Wildwood, FL
  • Fort McCoy, FL
  • Silver Springs Shores, FL
  • Citra, FL