The crepe myrtle tree is one of the most popular trees in gardens across the country. Their flowers are beloved for their vibrant colors and fragrant blooms that last into the fall season. But just how big do crepe myrtles get? We did the research to bring you the answer.
Crepe myrtles can range in height from 10-25 feet depending on what variety you choose. These trees can grow to be very large if not pruned properly.
If you're considering planting a crepe myrtle tree near your home, it's best to take measurements around your home and garden beforehand. These trees can grow very tall and wide which can be cumbersome for homes with tight spaces around driveways and entrances. Continue reading to learn more about them.
How big does a Natchez crepe myrtle get?
The Natchez crepe myrtle is a relatively small tree that can reach heights of up to 25-30 feet. These trees grow at an average rate and are often used as shade trees in landscaping.
How wide does a crepe myrtle get?
Crepe myrtles can reach widths of 15-25 feet. They're known for their relatively wide growth pattern, which includes a lot of outward branching.
This creates a wide shape, but not necessarily a tall one. Crepe myrtles are considered fast growers, but not super fast. If you want to keep your crepe myrtle narrower, prune it once each year in late winter or early spring.
How big does a dwarf crepe myrtle get?
These "Baby Myrtles" typically grow to be between 4-8 feet tall, with the average being 6 feet tall. The width of these trees is generally about half of that height due to the small leaves on the tree.
These smaller trees are perfect for gardens, front yards, backyards, and patio areas. The maintenance and training required for these trees are similar to that of regular crepe myrtles.
Can you plant a crepe myrtle near your house?
Crepe myrtles are wide-planted trees. They can easily take up a space of 15-30 feet in a matter of a few years. Overall, they are excellent shade providers and offer long-lasting colors throughout the year.
So if you're looking to provide a bit of shade near your home's patio or front porch, having a crepe myrtle plant nearby may be beneficial.
However, you want to be cautious of planting it closer than 6-10 feet from your home, as its wide-spanning crown may cause a bit of crowding. It is also important to note that the branches of a crepe myrtle can be quite brittle.
If you have young children that often play around your front lawn or backyard, you may want to tend to the myrtle tree often, as there may be broken branches on the ground beneath which can create tripping and falling hazards.
Can you keep a crepe myrtle small?
It is easy to keep a crepe myrtle small. However, it's also easy to overzealously prune the tree, which can severely damage it.
It's best not to prune the tree too aggressively and to prune no more than a third of it at a time. Doing so can cause it to develop unsightly growths, knobs, and make it more susceptible to infestation and various plant diseases.
Why do you want to keep a crepe myrtle small?
The crepe myrtle tree can grow pretty wide. So if you have a crepe myrtle that is too big for your lawn area, you may want to keep an eye on it. If not, you may find that the tree's canopy has grown significantly and is causing crowding for shading in undesirable areas.
The most common reason for keeping a crepe myrtle small is that it has grown too large for the space you have allotted for it. It may be growing into a neighboring yard, or it may be getting too close to your house. In some cases, you may be able to even root prune the tree, which will keep it small.
You may also want to prune the tree regularly for aesthetic reasons. If this is the case, be sure to prune the tree starting at the bottom and work your way to the top.
It's best, however, to prune the tree so that it maintains its natural form and grows in a healthy and consistent way. If you're pruning it for aesthetic reasons, you'll also want to train the tree's trunk to complement your pruning method.
Tips For Pruning a Crepe Myrtle
The best way to keep a crepe myrtle small is to prune the plant regularly. Pruning can be carried out during any time of year, but it is best to prune in the spring if you don't want to delay flowering.
- Be sure to cut off any branches that are growing diagonally or toward the ground. When pruning the branches, cut them back to a node. A node is where a leaf or branch is attached to the stem. This will encourage new growth and help keep your crepe myrtle small. It'll also help the tree recover quickly, and it will be less stressful for the plant.
- After pruning, water the plant well, and monitor it over the next few weeks. If you notice any thinning limbs on the tree (with girth less than that of a pencil) be sure to remove them, as they will eventually become brittle and only suck up extra energy from the tree.
What happens if you don't prune crepe myrtles?
If you don't prune your tree, it'll likely grow thinner with brittle branches. The branches will grow wider and wider and many will eventually break. Also, from an aesthetic perspective, the tree will look a bit tattered and unkempt.
It's also worth noting that neglecting to prune the tree won't make it grow faster. Pruning the tree will encourage it to bloom more fully.
It's much easier to purchase a tree that would meet the ideal growth height for the area it's allowed for. This will not only prevent the tree from being pruned excessively but it can prevent the ends of the tree from growing back thicker and deformed.
Should crepe myrtles be trimmed every year?
There's nothing wrong with the pruning crepe myrtles every year to prevent them from growing too invasively. However, this isn't necessary if they're not becoming a burden. These trees can grow for about a year without requiring trimming. But it's best to prune it no more than twice in one year.
And in some cases, you may only need to remove any new sucker growths around the tree's bass or cross branches. Note that crepe myrtles have a naturally graceful form and look best when pruned lightly.
How far apart should crepe myrtles be planted?
Because of their wide canopies, it's best to plant crepe myrtles at least 15 feet apart. This way, the canopy can grow without overcrowding the next tree, and the trees' roots won't become entangled.
It'll also prevent the tree from sucking up nutrients and sunlight from adjacent trees, which can lead to deficiencies and infection. They should be planted to accommodate their mature width with at least 15 feet between each trunk.
Wrapping things up
Crepe myrtles can grow to become wide-spanning trees, which is why it's best to plan out their planting location before you purchase them. However, if you want to keep your tree smaller, it's best to prune it once or twice a year.
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