Dynamite Crape Myrtle as shrub - Knowledgebase Question

Waynesboro, va
Question by grputnam
July 26, 2010
I planted Dynamite Crape Myrtle two years ago. I would like to make it behave like a shrub rather than a tree. It looks like a shrub now but it has only grown to 3 to 4 feet. I would like it to be 6 to 8 feet. I read some advice in the archives that said not to cut them back totally. Do I just need to have patients? How do I trim it in the winter.
Thank you,
Gordon


Image
Answer from NGA
July 26, 2010

0

You can train your Dynamite to grow into a shrub form if you prune it every year, cutting it back by one third to one half until it reaches the height you want. Since Crape myrtle flowers on the new growth of the season, you can prune plants any time during the late winter or early spring before growth begins and still have lots of flowers. In addition to reducing the height of your crape myrtle, you can selectively prune out some of the oldest, largest stems by reaching into the shrub and pruning these off completely at ground level. Pruning in this way will help renew your shrub and keep it blooming to its full capacity. Since your plant has been in the ground for two years it should have a well established root system and should respond well to pruning. It may take another 2-3 years for it to reach the 6-8 foot height you desire, but with annual pruning (which stimulates new growth) it will eventually be as large as you'd like it to grow. Enjoy your garden!

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