Crapemyrtle – Shoots From Trunk

Q: I arrived home a couple months ago to find my two big crapemyrtles had been butchered by my husband. He thought it might help them bloom better this summer. Now lots of crape myrtle shoots have come up near the trunks. What should I do?

A: I generally try to answer questions from married gardeners in such a way that both folks seem correct. You have to admit that your husband’s heart was in the right place: he wanted to send a message to the crapemyrtles to bloom better. However, his severe pruning sent the plant a different message. After the pruning, the plant said to itself “Something has removed our source of energy! Activate all the dormant buds on the roots! Send up new sprouts and leaves wherever you can!” That’s why the sprouts appeared.

If you want to restore the original form, you can select a couple of the most vertical sprouts and remove the others. You’ll have nice trunks in a couple of years. In the meantime, mow or clip the numerous root sprouts whenever spotted. Eventually your crapemyrtle will go back to making leaves on the main trunk(s) and the root sprouts will disappear. Hopefully, in the future your husband will ask your advice before he grabs the pruners!

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