Q: I have seven crape myrtles. I want to cut them back in October so I won’t have to clean up their shedding leaves. Plus, I think their leafless stems are ugly in the winter. How low can they be cut? Will it harm them to do it now?
A: Don’t prune the crape myrtle’s in October. Research by Dr. Orville Lindstrom at the University of Georgia found the fall pruning causes the crepe myrtle to be less tolerant of winter cold. If we have a severe winter, with temperatures below 10 degrees F., fall-pruned crape myrtles would likely be hurt. Wait until late December to do your cutting. At that time they can be cut to the ground if you wish. Strong new growth will appear in April.