A reader writes asking a familiar question: “My crepe myrtle grows so huge on the top and blooms like crazy, but the bottom doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the top. It really looks top-heavy. Am I doing something wrong? What should I do?”
I’ll respond to that with the best answer I’ve ever heard. It comes from Mobile nurseryman Bobby Green: “Prune your crepe myrtle just like you prune your dogwood.”
Most crepe myrtles grow as trees. Ever seen a tree? Its trunk is bare and the foliage (and flowers) are on top. This is normal.
So my advice is to leave your crepe myrtle alone. If you do any pruning at all, prune off all of the side branches up to a height of 4 feet or so, so you can enjoy the beautiful, flaking bark of the trunks. If you want your crepe myrtle to stay under 10 feet tall, plant a semi-dwarf one (you’ll find a great list in the New Southern Living Garden Book) that grows this tall without any pruning.
So to recap:
“Prune your crepe myrtle the same way your prune your dogwood.”
“But I don’t ever prune my dogwood.”