The Q&A Archives: Pruning Crape Myrtles

Question: What is the proper technique for pruning crape myrtle?

Answer: Crepe myrtle can be pruned in several ways depending on the desired effect. If trained to a single trunk or just a few trunks it can be allowed to grow into a small tree.

If trimmed back hard, it will stay shorter and denser. Trimming should be done in mid to late spring since this plant blooms on new growth of the season. Severe pruning will not hurt the plant, and can be used to control its size.

Routine pruning would be done to remove any dead wood such as that killed back or damaged during the winter weather or to remove corssing and rubbing branches. This plant tends to leaf out very late in the spring, so be careful not to prune too early thinking that the branches are dead when in fact they are still resting.

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