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Crepe Myrtle Trees

Q.Tall Crepe Myrtles

Anonymous added on February 27, 2011 | Answered

We bought an older home with five large crepe myrtles in a line, maybe six feet apart. The trunk base is over a foot across and the tallest ones are about as tall as a telephone pole. They have never been pruned, and last season I tried to thin them out. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, most of the limbs that one would normally prune are 15 to 20 feet in the air. If I get on a painter’s ladder, I am still looking at trunk limbs 2 to 3 inches in diameter. The trees have grown up and not out, and I would like to bring the bushes back to an easier pruning distance. If I do a severe cut back, say eight foot off the ground, will I commit crepe murder? Most landscapers around here just top them off, but I would like an alternative.

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on February 28, 2011

They will most likely be fine. Crepe myrtles can take very severe pruning and recover just fine. But, with pruning that severe, it may take a few years before the tree looks normal again.

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