How To Correct Improper Pruning Of Crepe Myrtles With Knuckles

Filed Under: Pruning, Techniques & Methods, Trees · Keywords: How To, Correct, Prune, Crape, Crepe Myrtle, Knuckles · 2080 Views
I have 2 crepe myrtles. They have not been pruned properly in the past. I would like them to grow like a tree instead of a bush. They have knuckles from past pruning. What are your suggestions? Thanks, Darryl

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Maple Tree

Maple Tree · Gardenality Genius · Zone 10A · 30° to 35° F
Hi Darryl-If your crape myrtle has knuckles from a lot of past pruning and it is growing as a shrub I'm assuming it is multi trunked and that the trunks have been cut back several times to keep the lower shrub form. It may have been allowed to grow several sucker shoots from it base also giving it a lower more shrub looking appearance. If this is true you may be able to pick a few new vertical shoots growing from the base that can be used to form a new tree. This would mean cutting out the older trunks with ugly knuckles. Cutting the tree down to ground level and starting over using new shoots that will grow from the base as new trunks is another option. Like Josh mentioned, cutting below the knuckes is another option as the tree will grow new limbs from below the cut. If the knuckes are below 5 feet this may not be an option as the start or the lower limbs would be quite low for a tree form crape myrtle. There are several options but without a picture it is hard to tell what the appropriate method of pruning to get it into a tree form would be. If you could upload a picture of your crape myrtle it would help in giving you a more accurate pruning option for your tree. Above this and to the right of your name below your question you will see where you can upload a picture.

6 years ago ·
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1 Answer

Answer #1 · Josh Hersey's Answer · OUCH! CREPE MURDER IS HORRIBLE!!!!

In the winter months, is the best time to prune your crape myrtles. (See the pruning article in Articles)

It will take you a few years to correct murder, but here is what you can do. Prune off the knobs, leaving clean trunks. For a more natural look, vary the height of the cuts a little. In spring the trunks will sprout. Select one or two sprouts per trunk and prune off the rest. Let those shoots develop into strong new trunks, and maintain them with correct pruning. Remove any small sprouts that develop near the base of the shoots you chose to keep. In a few years the new sprouts will get thick to nearly the size of the original trunk. It will natural fix itself, but will take time and patience. Hope this helps. I am sure The other guys have something to say about his too.)

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