Dwarf Crape Myrtle

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Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#1
I picked this tree up today from a nursery in celebration of earth day. I have a few questions for the experts here on BNUT. First i think its to late in the season here in FL for any dramatic chops, am i correct? Second if you look at the pic of the trunk you can see it is two trees and one is overlapping the others roots. So next year when and if i decide to repot should i try to separate them? If not what should i do? Does anyone have any experience or words of wisdom for the dwarf CM?

Thanks in advance,
Dominic
 

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Mobile, Alabama-The Heart of Dixie
USDA Zone
8-9
#2
I have a few of these, don't think you'll be able to separate them easily. Maybe prune the large upright trunk and use the remaining three to make a three trunk clump style. Nice material, they are hard to find with a nice size trunk. Just my two cents.

John Lee
 
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#3
yeah i figured easier said than done, which trunk are you referring to? the far right? Next year i may just chop all of them, though my head starts to hurt when it comes to decision time. thanks for the reply
 
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#5
In the last picture, the second trunk from the right, the large one with little taper. If i am looking at the picture correctly that would leave three. Mine bloom fairly well if I don't prune them till after they bloom. The blooms form on the end of this years growth, so if you prune for shape too early, no blooms. I usually wait until they bloom take a few pictures and then prune. There are some pictures of the blooms on my website.
 
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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#7
noted....thank for the help guys. i think instead of trying to separate i may just layer b4 i chop. This way i at least i'll have a good base if the air-layers don't work
 

jk_lewis

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Western NC
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#8
noted....thank for the help guys. i think instead of trying to separate i may just layer b4 i chop. This way i at least i'll have a good base if the air-layers don't work
It looks to me as if those might separate fairly easily. The root o the smaller one seems just to be passing over the larger root and doesn't seem to have melded cambium layers. And even if they have, these survive drastic root pruning easily. You will, I think, have to separate them eventually, anyway because thet crossing root is always going to look bad if you don't.

For the larger tree (not sure the smaller one will make much of a bonsai and would suggest a few years in the ground for it), I think drastic pruning of he top -- maybe 2/3 of it -- will be called for.

These bud back amazingly well, and you will have an abundance of buds to select for new branches. You will have several dozen nice cuttings out of th choppped top. Use rooting hormone and you should get almost 100%.

Your bonsai is somewhere in here. That left hand branch (almost a 3rd trunk) probably should also go).
 

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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#9
JKL thank you for the suggestions, i went out and tried to pull lightly on them and it seems like they will separate fairly easy (i'm hoping). As far as the chop do you think i should wait until fall after it has flowered? my only worry is that if i chop it now it will send new growth to late in the season
 

jk_lewis

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#10
If you need it to flower this year, you may not want to cut it. But that will set its bonsai career way back. Generally, while you are developing a bonsai of a flowering species, flowering should be the last thing on your mind.

With crape myrtle you that bloom so late in the summer (usually) you have to allow the tree to get leggy and unsightly because they bloom on older new growth. The normal bonai pinching and pruning over the growing season generallyy precludes flowering.

To get flowers, your last pruning of branch ends should be in late June. By the August bloom time, your tree will be a leggy mess. But it will have flowers.

I tend to grow these for bark color and fall color, but I don't know what kind of fall color you get on crape myrtle in Tampa.
 
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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#11
well i did some chopping today and repotted it. i was also able to remove the other tree pretty easy. i didn't chop it to far back yet because i wanted to leave some foliage in case it doesn't back bud as quick as i want it. i also planted the other tree in the yard to let it thicken up for a few years.
 

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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#12
Quick question, since the chop and repot should i move the tree to partial sun or full shade?
 
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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#14
Thanks jkl i put it undersome shade of one of my palms hopefull its enough shade till it recovers
 
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Location
Tampa, FL
USDA Zone
9b
#16
so im guessing i probably would have been ok chopping all the way down? i was just nervous because i took so much off the top and the roots.....fingers crossed
 

jk_lewis

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#17
In bonsai, there never is any hurry -- or at least there shouldn't be. It's always wise to take it slowly when developng a tree.

We see all these one-hour demos that take a tree from nursery pot to bonsai pot, and get the impression that that is the way top do bonsai.

It really isn't.
 

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