Friday, February 22, 2013

Keeping it Green: Crape Myrtles

by Phillip Hisey

A row of crape myrtles adorn the front
entrance of Master the Possibilities
 Education Center at On Top of the World.
Now is a good time to trim your crape myrtles! Crape myrtles are easy to grow and produce a large cluster of flowers in many different colors during the summer months.Some plants are trained into trees and others are grown as shrubs. During this time of year, the plant is dormant thus making it easier to shape. 

Why trim crape myrtles? The crape myrtle blooms appear only on new wood so pruning branches produces new growth and flowers along the branch nodes. There are many studies suggesting the proper pruning method but the studies do not show conclusive evidence that one way is better than another. The method I prefer and propose for On Top of the World residents to follow is called "pencil pruning." The rule to this method is to simply remove all branches shorter than the length of an unsharpened pencil. 

You will still get blooms and plenty of them if you do not prune the crape myrtle. While trimming the plant will help with new growth and blooms, it is also has an aesthetic function. The pruned plants look better and often times have a better resistance to insects and disease due to increase airflow through the canopy. 

Crape myrtles can bloom all season long. Trimming the blooms after they fade will encourage a second bloom to occur. We have had crape myrtles blooming from summer into the fall months in On Top of the World.

Phillip Hisey is the Landscape Superintendent for On Top of the World Communities.

No comments:

Post a Comment