As long as you have chosen the proper placement, your crape myrtle should require minimal maintenance. Crape myrtle in tree form will grow 25-30 feet tall. It is not necessary to cut them down to the knuckles each year. Do not over prune! Cutting the branches back to stubs each year causes the branches to grow long, but not thick enough to support the heavy flowers. The branches will arch downward or snap off. Over pruning will also reduce the amount of blooms produced.
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The best time to prune your crape myrtle is early spring, before new growth begins.
Start by removing suckers growing from the base.
Remove small branches growing lower than 4 feet.
Clip twiggy growth in the center.
Remove upper branches growing inward and remove any branches growing at awkward angles or rubbing.
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When cutting branches, do not leave stubs. Always cut back to a larger branch along the trunk.
Smaller, shrub varieties simply need to be trimmed to the desired shape.