1. I need to significantly prune Crepe Myrtle trees that are quite close to...
1. I need to significantly prune Crepe Myrtle trees that are quite close to the house. They extend above the gutters at the second floor so I'd like to cut them back to half that size. Is it possible to prune that much and, if so, what is the best time of year to do it? 2. We have two knockout rose bushes that also need to be pruned a lot. I've heard they can be cut back to one third of their present size. Is that true and, if so, what is the recommended time of year to prune them? Thank you very much! John Weese
Crape myrtles require little to no pruning. The type and amount of pruning depends on the desired shape and size of the plant. There are many types of crape myrtles which include low shrubs to 30 foot tall tree types. Sounds like you are dealing with a tree type. They should be pruned to remove unhealthy branches, to remove suckers, and to allow more air movement in the tree canopy.
By drastically reducing the size of the crape myrtle you will get vigorous growth that is weak and without a nice form. The more pruning you have to do, the tree becomes weaker and less attractive with each pruning. If you decide to prune, the time frame is late winter to early spring.
The best way to maintain a crape myrtle at a particular size is to plant a known cultivar that will mature at the desired height and spread. You may want to consider planting a smaller type shrub in the area. You may be happier with another shrub than an unattractive crape myrtle. For more information on pruning see the link from Clemson Cooperative Extension http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/landscape/trees/hgic1009.htmlhttp://extension.umd.edu/learn/rose-rose-not-always