Whacking Crepe Myrtles
Crepe myrtle is a reliable landscape accent with prolific blooming potential. Any wonder we see loads of them in central Texas? Unlike other plants, crepe myrtle trees bloom on new wood grown at the beginning of each year, not the previous years growth. It’s a good idea to prune in the fall, giving the plant lots of time to put on new branches and buds in the spring.
It’s common to see these trees uniformly “whacked” or pruned horizontally at an arbitrary level. A more successful method is to “top” the split ends and thin out vertical branches to the 8 or 9 strongest. This practice encourages a natural shape as the tree ages. Whacking will eventually result in thick, stubby base trunks with lots of stiff, straight upper branches. Take a look around when the leaves drop off in early fall and you’ll see what I’m describing.
The real magic for forcing blooms is to fertilize every two weeks during the growing season. They will respond so well you’ll be overwhelmed with the results!