How to Prune Crepe Myrtles to Grow Tall


Crape myrtles are popular trees notorious for their prolific blooms and graceful branches. A hot, sunny climate is recommended in order for crape myrtles to grow to their fullest potential. Some crape myrtles are pruned in such a way that they are hard to recognize as true crape myrtles, resembling bonsai trees instead. When crape myrtles are pruned improperly, it most often results in fewer blooms, weakened branches and an unhealthy tree susceptible to pests and disease. When pruned correctly, crape myrtles can grow tall, healthy and full of blooms year after year.

Step 1

Locate any sprouts along the base of the trunk of the crape myrtle.

Step 2

Using pruners, clip all sprouts at the base of the tree trunk.

Step 3

Locate and remove sprouts that are growing across the internal branches towards the top of the tree. Leave sprouts that are growing vertical or toward the outside.

Step 4

Using pruners, cut back sprouts that extend beyond the natural shape of the tree. These are typically fast growing sprouts and should be cut to the point where they will have a stem of one-half- to one-fourth-inch in diameter.

Step 5

Using your hands, bend protruding stems and prune them at the point where they begin to bend.

Step 6

Prune all of the top stems to within 6 inches from where the stem meets or connects to a branch.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid using a chain saw to achieve a fast pruning of a crape myrtle. Additionally, cutting a crape myrtle at the base to start anew can significantly reduce the life of your crape myrtle.

Things You'll Need

  • Crape myrtle tree
  • Pruners
  • Gloves


  • Wilson Bros Nursery: How to Prune a Crape Myrtle
  • Virginia Cooperative Extension: Pruning Crape Myrtles
  • Crape Myrtle Farms: Pruning

Who Can Help

  • Clemson University: Crape Myrtle Pruning
Keywords: how to prune a crape myrtle to grow tall, pruning a crape myrtle, how to correctly prune a crape myrtle

About this Author

Patricia Hill is a freelance writer who contributes to several sites and organizations, including, Associated Content and various private sectors. She is also the managing debt examiner for the Charlotte Examiner.