Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - March 05, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Pruning, Trees
Title: pruning crape myrtle (ugh, non-native)
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

We would like to plant a Dynamite Crape myrtle in front of our front window. They grow 20' to 30'. Can I trim it each year to about 15' to 20'? Should we plant it approximately 5 feet from the house foundation? We are members of the LBJ Wildflower center. Thank you

ANSWER:

I love crape myrtles, but they are out of our normal expertise, being non-native.  However, I know that they can be kept at a height of 15 feet by an annual pruning, since they bloom on branches grown out new each year.  If the tree is only pruned every 2-3 years it begins to look quite knobby at the pruning point and is, in my opinion, ugly.  So pruning every winter will retain a natural look.  I would suggest planting it at least 6-8 feet from the house, as the diameter of a 15 foot tree can be almost 10 feet, as indicated in this Internet site.

 

More Planting Questions

Flowers to bloom in next 4 months from Aransas Pass, TX
July 24, 2013 - Looking for seeds to put down that will bloom over the next 4 months or so in the southern gulf coast area
view the full question and answer

Schedule for planting perennial wildflowers from Asheville NC
March 22, 2013 - When is the best time to plant perennial wildflowers?
view the full question and answer

Transferring a palm tree from Florida to Pennsylvania from Reading PA
April 06, 2012 - Is it legal to transport a small palm tree (12" high) from FL to PA?
view the full question and answer

When to plant non-native red-tip photinia
November 17, 2011 - When do you plant the Red-Tip Photinia Flowering Shrubs in Roanoke VA?
view the full question and answer

Wildflower planting times for Little Rock, AR
July 22, 2015 - When is the best time to plant wildflowers in Little Rock,Ar
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.