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When to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida

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Crepe myrtles are very popular trees throughout Florida, and pruning is usually done on these trees to control height and shape. One can help encourage the growth and flowering of crepe myrtles. In this article, I will explain when to prune crepe myrtles in Florida.

Crepe myrtle is also known as crape myrtle, its scientific name is Lagerstroemia. It is not necessary to prune crepe myrtles every year many people are opposed to pruning these trees. But it happens that sometimes they must be pruned to control the shape and size of these beautiful trees. Continue reading to find out when to prune crepe myrtles in Florida.

Tools for Pruning Crepe Myrtles in Florida

Before I explain when to prune crepe myrtles in Florida, I will tell you the tools you need to prune properly. Using proper pruning tools will ensure that the tree will not be damaged during the pruning process.

You will need the following gear and tools to prune crepe myrtles in Florida:

Loopers: These are larger hand-held tools with extended handles and jaws that open and close similar to scissors. They are utilized for making bigger cuts on thicker branches.

Hand Saw: A hand saw is a cutting tool with a handle and a long blade, used to cut branches that are too large for pruning shears or loppers.

Pruning shears: These scissors can be held by hand and are utilized to cut twigs and branches that are small to medium in size. They are available in various dimensions and designs, including an anvil and bypass pruners. Bypass pruners are preferable for cutting living branches as they create a smooth cut, while anvil pruners are used for dead or brittle branches.

Safety gear: Protecting yourself is also very important when pruning. Use gloves, goggles, and gardening sleeves to be protected during the pruning process.

If your crepe myrtle is very tall you may need to use a ladder to prune the branches. I recommend that you be accompanied by another person when climbing a ladder for safety.

With these simple pruning and protection tools you are ready to begin pruning crepe myrtle in Florida. Before and after pruning, disinfect your tools with alcohol. It is also very important that the tools have the proper cutting edge to make the cuts on the branches.

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When to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida

When to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida? The best time to prune crepe myrtles in Florida is when the tree is in dormancy, that is, late winter and early spring. Normally the vast majority of Florida gardeners prune crepe myrtles in January or February.

This promotes proper healing of the tree and encourages the development of new buds for the upcoming growing season. This enables crepe myrtles to concentrate their energy on growing new branches and leaves, rather than on healing pruning wounds.

It is important to prune crepe myrtles in Florida at the right time, that is, between January and February. Late pruning may result in reduced flowering. If for some reason you were unable to prune your crepe myrtles at the above-mentioned time, do not prune until next year.

when to prune crepe myrtles in florida
When to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida? January and February are two good months to prune crepe myrtles in Florida.

How to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida

Pruning crepe myrtles in Florida is very simple. Follow these steps to properly prune your crepe myrtles:

Pruning crepe myrtle trees during their dormant period will not impact flowering as buds arise from new growth. Remove any dead branches and old seed pods from the previous summer.

Avoid shaping the tree by cutting all branches to an even height, as this will destroy the crepe myrtle’s natural form. The proper method of pruning crepe myrtles involves gradually removing each lateral branch one by one, up to a height of approximately 5 feet (1.5 m).

Eliminate any branches in the tree crown that cross or rub against each other. Cut off branches that grow inward towards the center of the tree. All cuts should be made at the trunk (where the branch meets the trunk) or a side branch that faces outward.

Green shoots growing from the base of the tree should be cut off. These shoots can be trimmed at any time as they grow. Additionally, after pruning the crepe myrtle you can use a branch sealer to protect the tree from possible pests and diseases.

By following all these simple steps, you will have pruned the crepe myrtle in Florida correctly. If you want to know more about pruning this beautiful tree, I recommend you to read our article about how to prune crepe myrtle and when to prune crepe myrtle trees.

how to prune crepe myrtles
How to Prune Crepe Myrtles in Florida? In the image, you can see how to prune a crepe myrtle correctly. (Image source: UGA).

Final Conclusions

It is not necessary to prune crepe myrtles every year unless it is overgrown and affects other nearby trees or shrubs. For example, the crepe myrtles in my garden are not pruned every year and always produce beautiful flowers.

Remember that the most important thing is not to prune late because this could cause a reduced flowering of crepe myrtle. I hope this article will be of great help and that you will be able to prune correctly.


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About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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