crepe murdered my crepe myrtles

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by ymgilbert, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. ymgilbert

    ymgilbert Member

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    Hello,

    I Am From South Louisiana And My Crepe Myrtles Were Looking Horrible!!!! So I Cut Them Back, Like Cut All The Branches Off And They Have No Leaves Left On Them. I Know Fall Has Just Started But By Cutting Them Back Did I Kill Them Knowing The Winter Is Coming. Another Question Is How Do I Get Them To Grow Up And Out And Not Out All Over, Do I Cut The Lower Branches Off At The Main Branch Of The Tree, So The Lower Branches Do Not Grow Back And It Grows Up And Out Fully, The Branches Are Just All Over And I Would Like The Bottoms To Be Clean And The Top To Be Full. I Often Have Ground Sprouts From The Trunk Of The Trees And Would Like To Know How To Stop That From Happening.
     
  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    It certainly wasn't the best timing to have cut them all off at this time. You may have to just wait and see if anything new sprouts now. But it also sounds like you're trying to grow the plant in a way that may be unnatural for it - every plant or tree has a natural 'growth habit', which means conifers and oak trees grow upward, others in a bushy style, and others laterally (spreading sideways but not very much upward). If you cut back branches to a just above the lowest ones you will get more branching and foliage, but if you cut below where there's any growth at all, you may not get any as not all trees or plants behave that way genetically and you need to research that to find out what yours is likely to do. It's hard to develop upper, but no lower growth on a plant that is 'programmed' to keep putting out new branches lower down when the tops are pruned even a bit for fuller foliage, though some will behave better depending on their growth pattern - and just when you want more branches lower down, they just won't produce them, which is why some people even graft some on if they want them there. But wait til early spring before doing anything more to your shrub now as it may not recover in any case.
     
  3. Newt

    Newt Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Ymgilbert,

    The more you prune, the more branches you will have. I'm sure it will come back for you in your hardiness zone. You will have to select one central trunk for the tree form. Suckers that appear should be removed as soon as they slow down their growth.
    http://dallas.tamu.edu/woody/cmyrtle/
    http://www.ag.auburn.edu/hort/landscape/crapemyrtle2.htm
    http://www.ag.auburn.edu/landscape/crapemyrtle2.htm
    http://www.southernliving.com/southern/gardens/plants/article/0,13676,455545,00.html

    Newt
     
  4. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  5. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    how big is it? is it a dwarf variety or a standard? you can very easily train it into tree form if that is what you are going for. I would not cut it back harshly again. What will happen is if you keep cutting it back hard like that a gnarled looking knob will form and be unsightly. there is a big misconception that they even have to be cut back at all to bloom. we have some that are 15 -20 feet tall and can't reach the top to remove the old seed heads so we just leave them alone and they bloom just as prolific each year. On some all we do is remove the old seed heads just beneath their attachment. If you wan't the tree look, bare bottom and full top, every year remove a few of the lower branches to show its "legs". If done properly it can still maintain a natural appearance. Be cautious not to remove too much of the lower limbs as this will cause an unbalanced look referred to as "lion tailing". Here is a picture of a "Natchez" crape that I just remove old seed heads and nothing else. As far as the suckers on the bottom, cut them as soon as you see them pop up. I use a product called "Sucker Stopper" that is sprayed on after the suckers are removed. It is a growth regulator that will decrease the times you have to cut them down.
     

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  6. toutlan

    toutlan Active Member

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    you are alittle north of me ,but i prune mine in late feb or early march,the general rulle i have always went by and heard from landscapers is, cut back 1/3 of plant.seems to work well for me,you may want to wait until late march or early april to prune.it will come back after this pruning,but,leaves it very vulnerable to cold with all that new growth
     
  7. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    i think the "rule of thumb" to cut it back is one of those deals like "my neighbor has had it done so that must be the way to do it". most landscaping companies in my area continue with this trend. i have attended several seminars with our university experts and they are begging to let the public know that cutting them back this way is an improper way to prune them, unless you must do it to control the height like if they were blocking signage or growing in front of windows. when you cut them back that harsh, you definitely risk freeze damage, plus it doesn't look very good especially on large ones. i personally, would not cut them back that far. if it doesn't improve the amount of blooms why create more work for yourself?
     
  8. ymgilbert

    ymgilbert Member

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    HELLO DIXIE,

    I AM NEW TO THIS SIGHT AND I HOPE THAT I AM MESSAGING U RIGHT. MY TREES ARE LIKE VERY TALL, WELL WERE VERY TALL, I LIVE IN A MOBLE HOME AND THEY WERE REACHING OVER THE TOP OF THE HOME, FOR SOME REASON THEY HAD STARTED JUST TO LOOK BAD AND I DID NOT LIKE THE WAY THEY WERE LOOKING AND I USUALLY WAIT TIL END OF FEBRUARY BEGINNING OF MARCH TO CUT THEM BACK BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I WAS TOLD TO DO, I DID NOT KNOW THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE CUT BACK BUT JUST SLIGHTLY PRUNED, I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO CARE FOR THEM LIKE I AM SUPPOSE TO DUE TO AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN JANUARY AND I HAVE INJURIES, BUT MY FLOWERBED IS MY BABY, I HOPE BY CUTTING THEM BACK THAT I DID NOT RUIN THEM AND I DID NOT KNOW THAT I NEEDED TO PRUNE THE SEEDS AFTER THE BLOOM, THE LOWER BRANCHES I WOULD LOVE TO GET RID OF AND HAVE A MORE FULL TREE AT THE TOP WITH THE BOTTOM CLEAN. THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE AND I WILL TAKE IT INTO BIG CONSIDERATION. I WILL NOT BE MURDERING MY CREPE MYRTYLES ANYLONGER AND IF U CAN TELL ME HOW TO POST A PICTURE I WOULD LOVE TO SHOW U MY PRIDE AND JOY, MY FLOWER BED WHEN I WORKED ON IT IN THE MID SPRING, I THINK IT WAS VERY BEAUTIFUL. THANKS FOR YOUR ADVICE.

    YOLANDA GILBERT
     
  9. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    I'm sure they are fine and will recover. It is just when you do it year after year it can create this enlarged knob. I will post a picture of what I am talking about can happen if they are severely cut back every year. Also, sometimes you have no other choice but to cut it back if limbs were rubbing on your home. The first two pictures display what is being called as victims of "Crape Murdering". The third picture is a good practice of winter pruning, only the spent blooms were removed.
     

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  10. ymgilbert

    ymgilbert Member

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    Oh My Those First 2 Pics Look Horrible And Thank God My Trees Look Nothing Like This At All, If U Can Tell Me How To Post A Picture I Would Like To Show U What I Have Done But They No Where Look Like That At All Thank God. I Sure Appreciate You Being So Kind To Me In The Matter.
     
  11. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    under the reply box there is an "additional options" box with a "manage attachments" button. click on that and it will give you the option to browse your computer for pictures. once you select the pic you want to attach click on the "upload" button and that should be it. good luck!
     

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