Q: I planted a six-foot tall Muskogee crape myrtle in front of our great room window to create shade on the west side of house. When looking out window, I want to see trunks only, not the leaves. How do I trim this tree so it will have a seven foot high trunk area with an umbrella top for shade.
A: A ‘Muskogee’ crapemyrtle will eventually grow fifteen to twenty feet tall so you’ll have to wait a bit. In the next month, select the most vertical branch at the top of each trunk and tie a ribbon around each one to mark their location. Remove the most horizontal branches, leaving four or five upwardly angled limbs in place on each trunk top. These will feed the growth of the chosen vertical branches. As summer goes on, clip the tips off of the outward leaning branches while allowing the selected center branch on each trunk to rise unencumbered. Repeat the process at the top of the trunks next spring. It won’t be long before you have only trunks in front of the window.