I have a Crape Myrtle that is 15 feet tall. When and how do I trim it, and how much?
The Gardener’s Answer
This past winter was a hard one for a lot of Crape Myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) in our area. I have seen quite a few die back to the ground, but have since recovered nicely. There are many cultivars and hybrids of Crape Myrtle, and some are hardier than others. They are available in a wide range of flower color as well as mature size. The best time to prune them in Kentucky is during the spring. Waiting until the fall can make them more susceptible to winter damage.
That being said, if there is dead wood, go ahead and get your pruners out. It is best to remove and dispose of any part of the tree that is no longer thriving. Leaving dead wood on the tree will give it an untidy appearance and can encourage insects/disease. Be sure to make your cuts as close to the healthy intersecting branch as possible without harming any healthy wood. Sharpen your pruning tool and clean afterward just to make sure you are not spreading potential disease.
Crape Myrtles bloom on new growth so as long as yours has put on new growth this season, you will enjoy flowers before you know it.