How to Prune Suckers From Crape Myrtles

Crape myrtle trees and shrubs (Lagerstroemia indica) require quite a lot of pruning, especially when they’re young, to train them into a certain shape and keep them growing and looking their best. Pruning is done in early spring before new growth appears. Crape myrtles are pruned from the bottom up, so the first step in pruning is to remove the suckers that take up at the base of the tree. Proper pruning will result in a natural-shaped tree or shrub with showy summer flowers and autumn color. The trees and shrubs grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9.

Cut shoots while the tree is dormant, to keep regrowth of suckers to a minimal. Use pruning shears to cut on tiny suckers at ground level. Use loppers or a pruning saw for suckers bigger than 1/2 inch in diameter.

Make cuts as close to the soil surface or trunk as possible. Avoid leaving stubs. The pruning wounds will heal by themselves, so there is no requirement to cover them with wax or any other wound sealant.

Cut suckers that grow further out from the tree when you mow the yard. Mow over them like you want another bud.

Treat recently cut sucker wounds with sucker stopper to prevent the suckers from growing back in exactly the same spot. Follow the maker label instructions to use the sucker stopper.

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