En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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 Non-Natives Questions

Failure of Gerbera daisies in hanging basket
July 08, 2008 - I had perennial Gerbera daisies in a hanging basket, the flowers died,I was not sure whether to remove just the flower or to go from the flower to the stem at the plants main stem? There is nothing re...
view the full question and answer

Tree roots under concrete from Ft. Worth TX
February 10, 2013 - We bought a house that has 2 trees (I believe ornamental pear trees) within a concrete patio. I found info that said basically, remove the concrete. We can't do that now (although I have encouraged...
view the full question and answer

Advantages of using native plants
March 28, 2015 - Hello. My question is not about a specific plant but a more general question about natives. I am writing a research paper and am interested in finding seminal research that explains why we should us...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Indian hawthorn
April 18, 2009 - We have some Indian Hawthorns that were planted for us by a landscape company. The first year we got a little bit of bloom. Since then the shrubs don't bloom at all. They are in a flower bed up aga...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of non-native Buddleja davidii
June 30, 2008 - I love butterfly bushes - but have bad luck growing them. I now have several, including Butterfly Nanho Purple; and they constantly wilt. It has been a dry hot Austin summer, but should I water when...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center