Q: Pardon my ignorance but I’m not from the US. I have a pair of these beauties in my back yard, and they’re everywhere in east Cobb County.
In roadway medians they’re pruned back hard in winter, to just above the ‘knuckle’. Is this correct practice?
A: The beauties are crapemyrtles and pruning them above the knuckle is NOT good practice for homeowners.
An argument could be made that in commercial situations, such as roadway medians, “knobbing them off” makes sense due to reductions in labor costs. But what you’re left with is “murdered” crapemyrtles to look at for four months.
With just a few more minutes of your time you can prune your crapemyrtles to a pleasing winter shape.
My preference for homeowners is called “pencil pruning”. All you do is prune every limb back to a point where it becomes larger than a pencil.
After a couple of years you’ll get a feel for whether a few larger limbs should be reomoved to open up the top of the tree/shrub after completing the pencil pruning.
The best time to prune crapemyrtle is mid-December through mid-February.