Image of over-pruned trees

Resist Urge To Commit “Crepe Murder”

Released February 06, 2023 02:28 PM
Crepe myrtles, known for their large and long-lasting summer blooms, are considered the most popular (and perhaps the most abused) trees in the south. Each year, shortly after the Super Bowl, ambitious homeowners and landscapers feel the need to prune these trees. If you’ve seen your neighbors do it, you may have followed suit and whittled your glorious crepe myrtle trees down to nubs. “Crepe murder” isn’t against the law, but the over-trimming and mutilation of these beautiful trees in the name of “pruning” is a real shame. 

According to City of Alpharetta Arborist David Shostak, most crepe myrtles don’t need a trim at all. The well-known saying, “Actions have consequences,” applies to the “pruning” of a crepe myrtle.

"Happily hacking away at a crepe myrtle doesn’t help the tree or the overall look of your landscape," says Shostak.

Besides the ugly, knobby appearance of the disfigured branches, “topping off” a crepe myrtle also produces wispy branches that can’t support the voluminous blooms that are meant to appear each summer. 

If your crepe myrtle is too tall for its location, severe pruning won’t help the tree. Consult a landscape professional about transplanting the tree. Has your crepe myrtle been a victim of crepe murder in the past? That tree can be rehabilitated and go on to live a normal, happy, beautiful life. Enjoy your blooming crepe myrtle this summer and remember: Crepe murder is never the answer. 

For more information on the care and preservation of crepe myrtles in Alpharetta, contact 678-297-6229.