newly planted crepe myrtles..when to prune?

I've just planed three (~5-6 ft) nachez crepe myrtles...they need to be pruned back as they are very long and need to be shaped (too bushy)...when should i do this? now? winter?
any good resources on pruning crepe myrtles?
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Winter...if you just planted them, then they need the leaves converting as much sunlight as possible to help feed the hopefully very active roots and get the plant established.
John

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I've just planed three (~5-6 ft) nachez crepe myrtles...they need to be pruned back as they are very long and need to be shaped (too bushy)...when should i do this? now? winter?
If you just planted them, I'd not prune them for two years and until they get established. Too bushy is what they start out being. They've already set blossoms on the next years wood for your late summer bloom. You can prune crossing branches, and prune in late winter or early, early spring so that the bush can recover from this. Don't over prune or it will bleed to death. After two years of this kind of pruning when it shows it's structure, you can remove a minimal third of the branches. Give it a chance to set roots and get established. Resist the urge to whack it yet. Crape myrtles are much more beautiful when allowed to grow into themselves first.
madgardener who has five different kinds including Nachez, and it's 14 foot tall..................
any good resources on pruning crepe myrtles?
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They need to make strength thru the fall and winter. It also matters where your located. If your in a mild zone and crapes live year round..then I'd wait a couple of months, but if you live in a colder climate, then it would be wise to do it early next spring.
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jeff snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Jeff) wrote in message


Jeff,
Don't prune Crepes. Pruning it will make it look like a Barbie doll after a 4-year old with a pair of scissors got a hold of it. At most, clean up the small branches and suckers from the main trunks. If it's "too bushy", dig it up and move it to a different/better location.
Good luck.
Patrick
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Jeff wrote:

Jeff,
'Natchez' is a large and fast-growing crape myrtle. In the South, it grows to about 20-25 feet wide and high. Probably you are aware of that already, and have picked it to fit your site. However, if not, and that is too big, you might consider removing yours & picking a smaller cultivar. It is possible to prune almost anything to a smaller size, but it takes constant work and it weakens the plant, which will never look its best.
I would suggest not "shaping" a crape, if by that you mean taking bit off everything. They wind up looking worse for it. I suggest waiting a couple of years for it to get established, then shape by cutting out entire branches if necessary to get a pleasing vase shape. In particular, crossing or rubbing branches should be removed. Also, remove unwanted shoots (suckers) from the base. I prune them in late winter. It's easier to judge the form when the leaves are off the tree.
An nice guide to pruning and training generally is "Pruning and Training" put out by The American Horticultural Society. Authors are C. Brickell and D. Joyce. (c) 1996.
The above says "In cooler areas ... especially northern areas with short growing seasons, thin to allow light and air into the center of the tree to discourage disease." I would take that to be zone 6 and north.
I hope that helps.
Mike Prager Beaufort, NC (on the coast in zone 8a) (Remove spam traps from email address to reply.)
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jeff snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Jeff) wrote in message

After 1 year in the ground, prune all growth the size of a pencil or smaller. Prune in February. If you're in zones 7-9, you can prune again in mid July for a second blooming. Never prune after early August - new growth needs time to toughen before winter.
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