Question: How much do I prune my crape myrtles, and when is the best time to do it?

Answer: Most crape myrtle pruning is done improperly or it wasn’t needed in the first place. First thing to note: never use pruning as a means of controlling height with your crape myrtle. If it is too tall, move it to another location where it can grow to its full genetic potential. Never “top” any crape myrtle at any time for any reason. Topping is the quickest and surest way to ruin an otherwise lovely crape myrtle. You can remove internal shoots and unwanted branches, but never leave stubs. All cuts should be flush with a remaining trunk or branch. You do not have to remove seed pods in the winter, although you can trim them away following each round of summer bloom to encourage new growth and additional flowering. Those cuts should be made right at the bases of the spent flower clusters so that the seed pods are all that you’re removing.

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