pruning a crepe myrtle to become more tree like
I have 2 crepes that are getting huge and bushy. What are the important tips on how to prune them so they resemble trees over time? Thanks! Debbie
Moore County North Carolina
Bushy crepe myrtles are a consequence of poor pruning, particularly pruning cuts that are made with a hedge trimmer (in other words, "whacking" branches back to a stump. Thinning cuts, which is to say removal of entire branches back to their base, will result in a more tree formed approach. See this reference: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/general-pruning-techniques
especially looking at Figure 3.3, to see what is meant by thinning cuts. Also, look at this: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/pruning-trees-and-shrubs
Especially page 7 - you need more "thinning cuts", and fewer "heading cuts" to make a tree-formed crepe myrtle.
Other references: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/how-to-prune-specific-plants