I don't think that pruning has any effect on blooming at all! Yours are
Prune to the tree you want, i.e. cut out whole branches until you have a
single stem, or a multi stem tree, or just leave it alone. Crape myrtles
are just about foolproof!
BTW, don't even think about shaping it by "shearing" or topping. That
indeed will affect blooming--adversely.
Contrary to what everyone else has said, and to which I do agree with,
around in my area (south central Alabama) folks prune crepes any time
of the year and it never sets them back or phases them in the least.
They are a very hardy tree in this area. Seen em get mowed down by
grass cutters cutting the right of ways on the main streets intown,
run over, and a whole host of other things, and they always come right
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Prune during the dormant season (Jan/Feb in the US) before new growth
has begun. However, flowers form on *all* new growth, so pruning
really isn't necessary except to shape the tree/shrub or to remove
crossing interior branches which are rubbing.
It sounds as if you are becomming interested in crape murder. Crape
Myrtles flower on new growth. Normally, each branch puts out new
growth each year, and hence there are plenty of blooms. If you prune,
the cut places may put out more than one new twig, and thus, more
blooms. However, after a few years of this, the places that have been
repeatedly cut will form ugly callouses and look like the very devil.
If you prune, prune for the shape and health of the tree. A happy
Crape Myrtle will be covered in blossoms for months without trying to
'force' more bloom. I just checked some photo files that show trees on
my street in profuse bloom on July 1st. I'll post a pic of a couple
that I just went out and shot in alt.binaries.pictures.gardens. These
are no-prune trees.
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