The time to prune crape myrtles is upon us !
Timing is everything! If you trim the crapes in the last two months of the year, and we get warm spurts in January or February, the trees might actually start putting on new growth. Unfortunately, that new growth can be devastated by the cold, following those warmer trends. February is prime for pruning this tree, for our hardiness zone 6a.
Start from the tip of the outermost stem, work down to where the stem meets the main branch and cut about 4-6'' up from the intersection, pruning 1/3 or less of the tree out. Prune all suckers or horizontal twiggy stems located on branches to promote a more columnar growth. Pruning at the cut collar located at branch-limb intersections help avoid unsightly tree wounds.
Over-pruning reduces the number of blooms for the upcoming summer. A crape myrtle that has been cut below the knees can also put out small twigs that can't support blooms.
When you have properly pruned a crape myrtle it will produce twice as many blooms as it did the previous year.