“Pruning” and “Limbing Up” Crape Myrtle Trees

The best time of year to prune crape myrtle trees is late Winter. The branches can be easily seen and there are no leaves on the tree.

Our crape myrtle trees were so overgrown and neglected, they were in a need of major TLC. We have 16 crape myrtle trees on our property and I would venture to guess that they haven’t been touched in 10 years. During the three years we have lived in our home I have noticed fewer blooms each season along with branches breaking off the trunk.

All the trees were in need of major pruning. My landscaper recommended a two step process to bring the beauty and blooms back to these magnificent trees. The first step in pruning these trees is known as “limbing up” the branches. Let’s discuss further.

Last year, I talked about limbing up the River Birch trees on our property HERE. “Limbing up” is the process of removing the lower branches of trees. This is done for aesthetic purposes but should also be done to allow more sunlight to reach the ground in particularly shady areas of the home. If more light reaches the ground, it will improve the health of your plants and create a richer landscape.

bYlA9eeuQ0yh1HleWf4kWQThe River Birch trees on our property have been completely transformed as shown in this picture. The crape myrtle trees in the background are looking overgrown and did not flower well this summer. They are very full but are in need of a good limbing up.

udqfewACQliWNmyBRQIjggThe River Birch tree on the right side of this cluster has been pruned and the beautiful exposed trunk with peeling bark is more visible. The Crape Myrtle trees have not been pruned and their beautiful bark is hidden by the lower branches.

D4gnfNMbSh+7iwRpy2PxaAMy landscapers are back at work, removing the lower branches of the trees.

hLp8CvUmQPOCNKJHGkO7+gWhat a difference it makes in opening up the area.

Q4OaUQHLQYKY7rp+r4Q4+AThis cluster of Crape Myrtle trees at the bottom of our driveway is getting a good limbing up as well. I can already see the change it is making to the landscape.

ulVeJm82ToqemzdWs5X4egUnfortunately these trees didn’t bloom as beautifully this season as they should have, I think they have grown too big and are in dire need of a good pruning.

egAgjrRXQBGsaRADjKAWqgLook at this disaster! The bottom of the Crape Myrtle tree in our backyard has small branches that have grown around it and have created an awkward looking and very messy trunk.

9gB5ISRAS8+v8C9LG8cC6gThe tree looks beautiful with all those smaller branches removed, and now we can appreciate the beauty of the Crape Myrtle bark.

fullsizeoutput_8a00An evening view of this blooming Crape Myrtle tree from our upper balcony shows how tall it has grown. But this year it didn’t flower well either, and was sparse in many areas. Limbing up the lower branches has changed the look of the tree but it still needs a good top pruning in late Winter.

Fast forward to late Winter (now) and we are ready to prune our crape myrtle trees to thin out the areas on the top and middle to allow more air and sunlight to reach the center of the trees.

in5xwcGXTh+H%wyA+xu4lAThis cluster of crape myrtles trees have been limbed up nicely but will get a good top pruning.

wd9+lpQES2G5o44bItfkFwThe trees are so high, they require very tall ladders.

ttWBC5UtRJykwILRKNhM6A After the pruning, they look more manicured and ready for new growth.

E1dMnjKKTz6vMVo3G9PMngThe landscapers begin working on the second cluster of trees. One guy moves back to check the balance and eye the progress…I like seeing that.  🙂

TdnsWp0VT1Sot2z%hMScgQWOW! Looking more open, well maintained, and healthy.

3Wx2gM4fQF+3U6yEFnv0PAThe third cluster of trees is complete, revealing the beautiful bark underneath.

LIKLKhRvqIoy4rjUifUg-1.jpgThe last tree in our backyard is HUGE!

uxGzWPW5RMCSKCyu0BfOOgA good 8 feet have been trimmed from this tree. I’m feeling good about our decision to prune the tops and look forward to seeing new growth this season. I feel that we have removed a good number of limbs but not an excessive amount. It’s not necessary to cut the top of the trees every year, although it seems common in many areas.

I’ll update you on the progress of the trees this summer, stay tuned!

Do you prune your Crape Myrtle trees?

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12 thoughts on ““Pruning” and “Limbing Up” Crape Myrtle Trees

    1. Aww thanks Denise. I love beautiful trees and a manicured lawn 🙂 But you would probably fall over if I told you the cost to maintain it 😬

    1. Yes they do! They come in a variety of colors, light and dark pink, white, and red too. They are very pretty when blooming, I look forward to seeing them this year..hopefully 🙂 Most of ours out front are white with some pink ones.

  1. Google Crepe Myrtle. Thanks for the info on the pruning. My favorite crepe mrytle is the white bloom Acoma. We just add the variety with black leaves and red blooms. I can’t wait to see it flower this season.

    1. Oh Wow! They will be gorgeous, they are so pretty when in full bloom. Glad you found the article useful.

    1. Hi Lynn, thanks. Sorry to hear about your trees, I hope they can be saved and will flower again this year 🤗

  2. First post of yours I’ve read and I’ll be coming back for more! Loved the plentiful pictures to go along with the article (your property is gorgeous!). You taught me the term ‘limbing up’, which I do every year but had referred to it as ‘raising the canopy,’ for lack of the proper vernacular. Thank you!


    1. SO glad you like the blog. I try to include a bit of everything HOME. Come back anytime, glad to have you visit and happy you are learning new terms too 🙂

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