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By LMG Calla Victoria
This is the time of the year that major pruning is done on crape myrtle trees, rose bushes, and most other shrubs and bushes.
The crape myrtle tree (Lagerstroemia indica) is one of my favorite flowing trees. They give you beautiful delicate blooms ranging in hues from red, varying shades of pink, lavender, and pure white; and bloom from summer to late fall. Aside from the wonderful long bloom season, myrtles provide added interest with their vascular-looking, exfoliating barks. Crape myrtles are full sun-loving trees that vary in heights from 12-30 feet. The general rule is that crape myrtle trees are to be pruned right after the Super Bowl. When pruning trees, it is necessary to acquire a pair of pole pruners to reach those high places without the use of a ladder. I invested in a ratcheting, telescopic pole pruners that extend out twice their length, and a pole chain saw. I cannot stress enough how having the right tools makes working a breeze. Crape myrtle trees do not need major pruning, just a little cleanup of the puny sucker branches that grow out from main branches, also any branches growing inward to the center of the tree. Also any branches that are crossing or rubbing other branches, and of course dead branches should be removed. Crape Myrtle trees have a graceful vase-like growing habit, so any weird branches jotting out to the sides need to be removed to maintain the tree’s shape; and that is all that needs to be done to crape myrtles. Please no overly aggressive pruning on these delicate trees.
The pruning rule for rose bushes is that they are supposed to be pruned right after Valentine’s Day. Rose bushes need to be cut way back, this is major! It is called a hard cut and should only be done in the winter. As a rule rose bushes are to be whacked back at least 50%. Therefore if your rose bush is 4 feet tall now, then it should be two feet tall when you finish pruning. I know this sounds drastic to you but it is great for the roses, as most rose bushes bloom on new wood. And needless to say you should use the pole pruners for this job if available, otherwise by all means please invest in some good leather rose–pruning gloves so that the process does not leave you in need of several bandages. If you only have one or two rose bushes a good set of pruners will do the trick. However if you, like myself, have a rose garden then hedge trimmers are the way to go. In either case, remove dead branches and small puny branches. If you want big strong canes, you have got to get rid of the tiny branches.
This is also a good time to prune most of your other bushes as well, with the exception of camellias that are still blooming and are full of buds. Also, now is the time to get any trees and shrubs in the ground , if you have not already done so.
Check out my “Gardening Tip of the Week ."
Remember, never get too busy to stop and enjoy the beautiful flowers!