To the right is a drawing (Figure A) of a 4-year old crape myrtle tree as it may appear in late winter, when still in dormancy, and before new growth has begun to emerge.
It sounds like you might have lost the portion of the tree that grew above ground, but the roots are still alive. Hi Ann - November pruning of a crape myrtle or other trees might not be a big problem if the trees were already in dormancy.
Brent, I like a couple of people before me have purchased a home (north Texas) with a Crape Mertle tree in the back. Hi Anne - To answer your question about pruning out some of the trunks on your young Tonto crape myrtle. Hi Brent - Is it possible to just cut then down about 3 to 4 feet and then just start over.
Hi Jennie - If you want to reduce or thin out the number of trunks on your crape myrtle you can remove some of them.
Hi Esther - Though it's a rare occurrence, late freezes in spring can definitely cause damage to and can even kill young or newly planted crape myrtle that are emerging or have already emerged from winter dormancy.
My neighbor has a crepe myrtle that is 12 to 15 feet tall, he would like to cut it back to about 6 feet. All information is provided by members and has not been validated or approved for use anywhere.
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This tree has been properly pruned for 3 years and is ready to be pruned for the coming year. The rule of thumb is to trace down from the top of a stem (from the seedpods if the tree bloomed), to where that stem meets a branch. All top stems have been pruned to 6 inches or so above the intersection where the stem meets a branch. That being said, in the future, I would let a lawn maintenance company take care of the lawn and hire an arborist to prune and care for the trees and shrubs in your landscape. I pruned a few Natchez crape myrtle trees a little late a couple of years ago, when they were starting to leaf out, and they did fine.


I would suggest using a knife or some other sharp tool to scrape small sections of outer bark off branches and trunks to see if there's any part of the tree that is still alive. But, for several reasons, I don't recommend cutting a tall crape myrtle back by half its height. Over the years he has created Star Wars artwork for several licensees including Randomhouse, DK Publishing, Wizards of the Coast, Golden Books, Scholastic and Topps among many others. At the top of the branches you will notice seed pods that formed after last seasons blooms. Using a pair of sharp bypass or lopper pruners make a cut about 6 to 12 inches or so above the intersection - never below the intersection. In studying the diagram more closely you might notice where pruning cuts were made in previous years, and that wherever cuts were made two new branches emerged from beneath the cuts.
Alternatively, you can grab the tip of stem and bend it over, making your cut right at the point where the stem starts to bend. By using this method of pruning you will be promoting twice as many branches every season - which means a fuller canopy and twice as many blooms.
If you could upload a picture to your question this would be very helpful as well and allow me to give proper instructions.
You want to make sure that whoever does the pruning knows the right time and proper methods. If you find no green underbark you could cut the trunk(s) back to the ground and wait to see if new growth will re-emerge.
Since all the roots are still there underground, new shoots will emerge from just beneath where the cuts were made that will grow into very long branches which often weep over and and are susceptible to breaking off, especially when in bloom and there comes heavy rain and wind.
Either way, the stub that is left should be strong enough to support the new branches that emerge just below your cut. To further "clean up" your crape myrtle tree, you can prune suckers that grew from the trunk base, and twiggy growth that emerged up and along the main trunk(s).
To upload a picture to your question: first ask the question, then you'll see the Upload Picture link to the right of where your name is on the page.
My feeling is that your crape myrtles will survive, though I haven't seen how they pruned them.
Just pick out the one's you want to keep and remove the rest cutting them as close to the ground as possible.


But, if yours is one of the taller growing varieties, you can remove lower branches emerging horizontally from the trunks to a desired height to begin forming the tree. Let these new trunks grow naturally this year, continuing to remove any new suckers that emerge.
Doing this might cause some suckers to emerge so you'll have to remove these until it stops producing them. Small lower branches and suckers growing up from the base can be removed at any time of year. Another thing to consider is that cutting a crape myrtle tree back by half it's height won't really do much if anything to control it's size. Then, in late winter or early spring of next year, top the trunks at a height where you want the canopy to start and remove any twiggy growth from beneath the cuts. When you go to Ask Experts, just ask your question first, then after doing that you'll see the link to the right of where your name appears that allows you to upload a picture(s). Larger branches or trunks should be removed in late winter, while the tree is in dormancy and before leaves emerge in spring. Only time I ever recommend this is when a crape myrtle has been pruned back too far for many years leaving large unsightly knuckles. New branches that will begin to form the new canopy will emerge just beneath where you make these top cuts.
Reason being, as previously mentioned, all the roots that supported the larger tree before pruning are still there. You can always ask questions in Gardenality Ask Experts and upload pictures to your question. Thing is, when cut down to the ground many, many shoots will emerge from the base and all but one or a few of these shoots will have to be removed in order to start the formation of a new single- or multi-trunk tree. The slected shoots could be allowed to grow to maybe 5 or 6 feet tall and then topped in late winter.
Then the followinf lkate winter you'd start using the pruning techique described in this article.



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