The Q&A Archives: pruning crape myrtles

Question: our crape myrtles are about 5 or 6 years old. we always prune at the same spot each year, leaving 6or8 main branches. should we continue the same way or should we prune differently as the tree matures?

Answer: If you cut back severely year after year your tree will develop a definite scaffold of limbs with new growth jutting out from them. If this is the look you want, go ahead and prune as you have in the past. For the most part, a tree whose canopy is just lightly trimmed after flowering will be more full and dense, even as it ages. I prefer to prune lightly each year, right after the flowers fade. Since crape myrtles bloom on new growth, I get lush, new growth and often get a second flush of blooms later in the summer. Your pruning method is ultimately your own personal choice, so either way is fine. Best wishes with your crape myrtle!

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