Pruning Crepe Myrtles - Knowledgebase Question

Mcgehee, AR
Question by skemp9
January 16, 2000
I would like to know the proper way to prune a crepe myrtle so it will grow as a tree instead of as a bush.


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Answer from NGA
January 16, 2000

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To start training the plant as a tree form, select one or more main stems to become the trunks. Remove the other stems at ground level and allow only the selected trunk(s) to develop. You may need to remove new sprouts at the soil line throughout the season for the first few years but eventually the plant will direct most of its energy naturally to the main trunks and they will thicken over time. You may also trim side shoots or branches as needed to maintain a tree shape. Crepe myrtles should be pruned in early spring. Pruning later than that may interfere with flowering because they bloom on the current season's new growth. Finally, some crepe myrtle varieties are simply larger plants than others, so be sure you are not growing one of the smaller or dwarf forms if you want a larger tree.

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