Crapemyrtle – Which is the Right Way to Prune

Suckers from trunk - grated

There are many opinions on which is the “correct” way to prune a crapemyrtle.

A landscape owner may want a smaller tree, more blooms, or less work….all of which demand a different kind of pruning.

Dr. Gary Knox at the University of Florida did an experiment over a couple of years. He compared no pruning to “pencil pruning” to “topping” to “pollarding” (modified topping).

Click here to download his PowerPoint presentation.

His conclusions:

• Unpruned trees require the least overall “work”
• Pencil-pruning and Pollarding take more time than Topping
• Topping and Pollarding stimulate more sprouts; i.e., the harder you prune, the more you stimulate sprouting
• The harder you prune, the more you delay flowering
• ‘Natchez’: Hard pruning reduces number of flowers and slightly increases flower size
• ‘Carolina Beauty’: Pruning had no clear effect on number of flowers; topping reduced flower size

What’s the “right” way to prune?

It depends on:

• Amount of time available for winter pruning
• Skill of the worker
• Desired plant size
• Preferred winter appearance
• Preferred summer appearance

Another good opinion
Bonnie Appleton: Topping Crapemyrtles is Savage

Crapemyrtle Pruned Poorly – Pictures

Crapemyrtle Pruned Correctly – Pictures

This makes me want to cry


Beautiful unpruned crapemyrtle in front of Hall County Extension office


Suckers from trunk - grated

Nicely pruned. No knobs, graceful.

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