How To Prune Or Trim A Dynamite Crape Myrtle Bush Into A Tree

Filed Under: Trees, Pruning, Techniques & Methods · Keywords: Crape Myrtle, Crepe, Prune, Trim, Train, Bush, Tree, How To, When To · 1438 Views
This looks like the crape myrtles I bought from Lowe's and planted last year. They both grew fine, but now look like unsightly bushes with lots of stems coming out of the ground. I don't know for sure how I should trim them, although I've watched a dozen videos on how to trim crape myrtle "trees", none showed me how to trim it when its still a bush and has many small branches coming out of the ground. I want them to turn into trees, with 3 to 4 trunks each but am confused as to what I should cut away to make them do that.

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Answer #2 ·'s Answer · Hi Sandra - John gave some good tips for pruning your bush form crape myrtle into trees. As he mentioned, it's important to know the specific variety. There are dwarf crape myrtle that are "red," but none that I know of that are just like Dynamite. Most "red" crape myrtles have some pink pigments in their flowers, giving them more of a watermelon-red color. But Dynamite has true-red flowers with no pink. If it's a Dynamite follow John's instructions now and then the instructions on the How To Prune A Crape Myrtle artcle he provided the link to.

If you have a picture of the flower upload it to this question and I can let you know whether or not it's a Dynamite.


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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Sandra-If you are sure your trees are the Dynamite or another larger variety that grows to 15 or 20 feet in height they can definitely be pruned into a nicely shaped multitrunk tree. If they happen to be a simi-dwarf variety that gets 8 to 10 feet in height they can still be shaped into a nice small tree. Some of the smaller bush forms need very little pruning if any and would not make a nice small tree as you desire. If you can upload a picture of your crape myrtles it may help to determine what correct pruning should be done. Above this answer and to the right of your name at the bottom of your question you will see where you can upload your picture.

If you would like a multi-trunk tree with 3 or four trunks you would want to select the 3 or 4 best, most upright growing ones. After selecting the best trunks remove all the rest, cutting them off as low as possible to the ground. This heavy pruning should be done in late winter before new growth appears in early spring. After removing the unwanted trunks you can remove lower branches along the remaining trunks to a point about halfway up the trunks. Take care that you don't remove any branches that might spoil the shape of the canopy you are trying to develop. If the branches have grown tall and spindly you can prune the top of these branches. I noted below a link to a good article in Gardenality written by Brent Wilson that will show you how to prune these upper branches. This article will show you also how to prune each year in order to develop the nice canopy shape you will want for your trees.

This information above is noted in several answered questions other members have asked regarding pruning the crape myrtle into a nice tree form. Brent and Brooks Wilson are very knowledgable regarding crape myrtles and have answered many questions as yours on correct pruning of crape myrtles into a tree form. By clicking on the 'Ask Expert' tab above and typing in Crape Myrtle in the search box you can find these questions and answers and others that may be interesting to you also.

Hopefully this has helped. Please ask if you have any other questions. If you upload a picture of your crape myrtles I will be notified and will get back to you.


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