Contact Us Host an Event 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 Pruning Questions

Hurricane damage to pecan tree
November 12, 2008 - The recent hurricane twisted the top out of our pecan tree, leaving a couple still attached but down on the ground. Could we cut all of the damage off and just leave the trunk? Would there be a chan...
view the full question and answer

Shaping cenizo in Duncanville TX
October 02, 2009 - Our Silverado Sage, which we expected to be 4' to 5' high and wide based on the label when we purchased it about 10 years ago, is nearly 7' tall and very random in shape (not the evenly rounded sha...
view the full question and answer

Shape of common ninebark in Canton MI
April 24, 2010 - I have planted one center glow ninebark in a triangular area in between my front walk and driveway. It looks a little odd just having one plant, but I originally did this b/c of the mature plant heig...
view the full question and answer

Taking down a Century Plant blooming stalk from Fair Oaks Branch TX
August 09, 2013 - Our century cactus looks like it's in the final stages of blooming and I read on your site that the original plant dies. Can we go ahead and cut down the tall blooms?
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Grape Kool Aid Plant in California
August 03, 2008 - I have a Grape Kool Aid plant and was told it would grow to 6 or 7 feet tall, but it is well over that and I need to know if I can prune it and if so how?
view the full question and answer

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