We can’t completely undo years of crape murder, but we can get the tree on the way to looking more like the fine specimen it was meant to be. The natural form (called the “growth habit”) of a crape myrtle is like a vase with multiple trunks, each with side branches fanning upward and outward, and no branches growing downward or inward. I have the pale pink flowered 'Black Diamond' (dark leaved) crape myrtle, but it isn't thriving. The bright blooms of the Black Diamond reach their productivity peak during the summer and fall months. But it helps to identify which pruning style meets your ideal look, so keep reading to find out more about the three main pruning styles. For a nice and tidy appearance you can prune suckers (small branches) that grew from the trunk base, and any twiggy growth that emerged up and along the main trunks. When planted en masse the Lagerstroemia Diamonds in the Dark® range creates a vibrant show of colour. If the tree is too large, you can cut off the tallest branches back to where they join another branch that is at least one-third as thick. If there are more than five main trunks, cut the extras to the ground. Repeat this process until all stems have been cut as is shown on the right side of this diagram. Reply. Gretchen Heber (@gretchenheber) Decide whether you want a single trunk or three to five evenly spaced trunks and remove all others at ground level. Not true. of the strongest, straightest trunks and saw the others off at the ground. This (these) will be the main trunk(s) to be kept free of branches for three to eight feet (you decide), so that the crape’s beautiful mottled bark is exposed. The blooms reach their productivity peak during the summer and fall months. You can simply get a plant from the nursery and plant it in your garden or any desired place. If any of the main trunks is branched too low, remove the weaker branches and those that are growing inward. The convenient size of the Black Diamond® Red Crape Myrtle offers versatility to satisfy many of your landscape or garden design ideas. A one-of-a-kind spin on the classic Crape, the Black Diamond® Shell Pink™ Crape Myrtle Shrub delivers a rich contrast of black foliage and thousands of bright pink blooms that are second to none. From June to September it is smothered with big trusses of dramatic light pink blooms that glow with light against the dark leaves. The blooms of the Blush Black Diamond come in a very light, pale pinkalmost white at timeswhich offset the intense hues of the dark leaves. That new growth is incredibly tender and when another frost or freeze comes around, it could cause stunting and damage to the health of the tree. For the health of the tree and for the long term blooms, it is actually better to leave them untrimmed than to prune them improperly. You may need a pruning saw for bigger branches and trunks. Restore overgrown crepe myrtles gradually by pruning over a three-year period so the tree continues to bloom. Each winter thereafter, prune as described below. Remove a portion of a branch with a “heading cut” back to an outward facing bud or outward facing side branch. Remove all branches on the side up to the height that looks best for you. When the bloom does come, many of the long thin shoots are too weak to hold the weight, and wind up hanging down in an unnatural mess. The best time to prune most trees is in late winter or early spring when they are leafless and you can clearly see the defining architecture. Pole pruners or a pruning saw to cut branches more than 1-1/2 inches thick. You may think that hacking the tree back is the best way to keep it from getting too big for its location. Do not trim in summer, as this will reduce blooming. These flowering trees are worth the work! Top Questions About Crape Myrtle Trees. There is not enough air circulation for the trunk and branches to grow. It hasn't grown much or bloomed since the first year I planted it which was about 3 or 4 years ago. It looks even worse in winter when the poor bedraggled tree is leafless. When and how should I trim my crape myrtles is one of the most common questions we see from clients year after year. The crape myrtle is no exception to this rule. You can reduce a crape myrtle’s size with carefully placed “thinning cuts”, as we describe below. A common phrase you’ll hear when it comes to trimming crapes is “crape murder” and what this means is that the tree has been trimmed in a way that will result in a less aesthetically appealing structure. Shell Pink is a beautiful Black Diamond Crape Shell Pink is a beautiful Black Diamond Crape Myrtle with an attractive black foliage and masses of coral-pink blooms. Indiscriminately whacking back a crape myrtle produces a thick, knobby stub of a stump from which sprouts a thicket of weak growth, whiplike shoots. Read more about crape myrtle care in our Crape Myrtle Grow Guide. Produces masses of soft blush-pink crepe-like blooms in the … Black Diamond Crape Myrtle care is surprisingly simple! Many think that the right time to trim a crape is in the fall, once it loses its leaves. You may need a pruning saw for bigger branches and trunks. Properly pruning you crape myrtle will maximize blooms, promote new growth and give your plant a great shape. Make “heading cuts” back to an outward facing bud or an outward facing side branch. Side branches look best when they are growing up and out. It can take up to five years or more to cure a murdered crape, but don’t give up. Better to remove the tree that’s too big and replace it with one of the many dwarf varieties that naturally stay smaller. Choose one, three, or five (we like odd numbers!) READ MORE. 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