Large Crapemyrtle – Why Not to Prune Severely

Q: We have several 20-30 ft. crepe myrtle trees that we would like to prune down to 8- 0 ft. They shade much of the surrounding plants and lawn, preventing growth and flowers.

A: I understand your reasoning, but pruning a ‘Nachez’ crapemyrtle this large to a smaller size than it prefers will create problems.

There will be numerous small sprouts at the base of the trunk every spring as the tree tries to regain the lost leaf surface. You will have to clip these as they occur.

For the same reason, you may have lots of small root sprouts. They might come up as much as 20 feet away from the tree in your lawn. These will need to be removed regularly.

The lush growth you’ll have at the top of the tree each year, as you try to keep it smaller, will lead to problems with aphids and powdery mildew.

It will be an annual chore to remove the previous year’s new branches. Are you comfortable standing on a tall ladder and wielding loppers to do this each winter?

Think long and hard. Maybe it would be easier to cover the ground with mulch and introduce plants that enjoy growing in the shade of the crapemyrtles.