Answer: Crape myrtle is a shrubby plant that can be trained into a tree. Not all are hardy in Illinois, though, so training your shrub into a tree can result in a dead plant if it freezes down to the ground each winter. I'd keep them as shrubs rather than training into tree shapes. Crape myrtles bloom on new growth and should bloom each spring. If they don't the flower buds may have been nipped by a late frost. Crape myrtles are not always reliable bloomers in cold winter areas. With this in mind, yes, you can prune your crape myrtle into a tree shape by removing all but the largest main stem and cutting off the lowest limbs to make a tree shape. Hope this answers your question!
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