The Q&A Archives: Pruning Crape Myrtles

Question: I was wondering how to prune a crape myrtle tree? Why are some of the trees pruned to a single trunk and some to multiple trunks? Could the multi-trunks be pruned to be a single trunk?

Answer: The number of trunks doesn't matter to the tree only to the eye of the owner! You can reduce a multi-trunk tree to one trunk if you so desire. The best time to prune a crape myrtle is in late winter (February) prior to the start of new growth.

Crape myrtles need very little pruning and most pruning is only done for the sake of the owner's aesthetic preferences. Far too many crapes are butchered with severe, "flat-top" pruning. It is better to maintain a natural form by thinning out crowded growth. Rather than leave the blunt stubs by severly flat-topping a crape, thin growth by removing a few selected branches where they join another branch.

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