Crape Myrtle pruning

Asked February 4, 2019, 12:44 PM EST

Hi, Sending you a photo of my crape myrtle. Should I prune all of the small branches that have grown since I pruned it last February? Also, is this the best time to prune it? Hoping that I did it properly last year - it had gotten powdery mildew and the pruning made a huge difference. Appreciate your expertise and time!!

Calvert County Maryland

1 Response

Read over this webpage on powdery mildew:

Pruning crape myrtles is usually not necessary. However, your pruning may have helped because it improved the air circulation or it removed the amount of infectious material around to reinfect the shrub, for instance if you removed infected flower clusters.

We wouldn't recommend pruning each year. If your crape myrtle gets covered with powdery mildew every year, we'd recommend replanting with a mildew-resistant variety. There are many good ones available and they grow fairly quickly. That site also looks fairly shady in the photo, which can cause problems.

If you do want to keep the plant, prune in early spring. You might want cut back about half the length of each of those new shoots to encourage a fuller look.