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Ask Burton: Q: I have a ‘Dynamite’ crape myrtle in my back yard and I love the bright red blooms on it. I’d like to have one near my front door too. How easy would it be to keep ‘Dynamite’ trimmed down to three to four feet tall?

Posted on June, 10

A: It’s not a good idea to do this. This variety of crape myrtle will grow to about 15-20 feet tall. If you prune or “top” it, or any other taller variety of crape myrtle, so severely to keep it under four feet, the plant will show great masses of scar tissue where the repeated cuts would have to be made. The plant would be disfigured and very prone to insect and disease infestation for being pruned back so much. We all know someone who prunes crape myrtles viciously back each winter, but it’s not a good example to emulate…in fact the folks at the renowned Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney call this “Crape Murder!”

A better solution would be to choose a crape myrtle variety that has the flower and foliage color you like and grows to the mature size you want. Crape myrtles bloom in a wide selection of colors, have leaf colors ranging from green, to bronze to black, and there are selections in almost any height range you could ask for. ‘Cherry Dazzle’ will hit right around your 3-4 foot preferred height, as would ‘Princess Holly Ann’, two newer varieties with beautiful red blooms. When you select a plant whose mature height is around your desired maximum plant height, you’ll have a healthier and better looking plant and a lot less work to maintain it. See our Crape Myrtle Guide for an overview of the crape myrtles we generally have, then come and pick yours now while selection is best.

There’s a crape myrtle for almost any size, color, and shape necessary for your sunny landscape – use the right type in the right space for years of beautiful summer color. We have hundreds in stock! See our Inventory for varieties and prices.

Burton specializes in diagnosing and solving plant problems. If you have a question for Burton, please email him at burton@covingtonnursery.com and include photos showing the problem.