Should I Prune Off Crepe Myrtle Seeds?

Photo: Van Chaplin.

Most people find the prospect of pruning only slightly less frightening than Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Princess Leia in the latest "Star Wars." And one pruning question weighs upon them more than any other at this time of year. Should I prune off the seeds from my crepe myrtle?

The answer is yes. Or no. It all depends on two things. (1) How big is your crepe myrtle? (2) How bored are you?

Obviously, if your crepe myrtle is 30 feet tall, the chances of you renting a helicopter to safely lower you down to the top of the tree to prune are quite small. On the other hand, if your crepe myrtle was recently planted and is 10 feet tall or less, you can reach the seed pods to cut them off.

There are two logical reasons to remove them. First, on a small crepe myrtle, the heavy clusters of seed pods can weigh down the branches almost to the point that they're touching the ground. Removing the seeds takes off the weight and the branches rise up. Second, if you remove the seed pods early enough in the year -- say late July -- you'll probably get a second flush of blooms in September. That time has passed for 2014.

Some people think that if they leave on the seed pods, the crepe myrtle will not bloom next year. FALSE. It will bloom just fine.

So assuming your crepe myrtle is big enough that pruning off the seeds would be a royal pain, how bored do you plan on being this weekend? The last time I looked, college football is set to start its new season this Saturday. I plan on drinking beer and watching football. How about you?

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