I have a question about two of the trees in my yard. I have the same issue and question about crepe myrtles and pink magnolias. I have two of each in my yard and they all have multiple trunks coming up out of the ground. The biggest trunks are smaller than the diameter of a broom handle.

I've seen older crepe myrtles with thicker trunks and it looks to me like these smaller trunks are either fused together under ground and the main trunk rises out of the ground over time, or the bases fuse together like trees that grew up too close together. I don't know whether to cut all but one main "trunk" away or to leave them alone. My thought is to leave them along, but I don't want to put a lot of energy into growing them to find out that the rest need to go.

I have the same issue with my Pink Magnolias (sorry, that's all the tag said when we bought them from home depot). They are 3-4 years old and grow extremely vigorously. They also have multiple trunks. I cut off the new ones coming up out of the ground every years and do heavy pruning to keep the air flow and light open. I have the same thought about them, though. Are they supposed to be multiple trunks, will they merge over time, or should I just cut out enough of them to keep them from rubbing. I don't even know how thick they get in the end, so I don't know how many to cut out. Thanks for the help.

1 Answer 1


Many magnolia species and crepe myrtles naturally branch from ground level, growing as large shrubs/small trees. If that's their natural growth habit, resistance is futile, the plants will continue trying to put out growth from the ground level indefinitely. If that's worth the effort for you, go ahead. For a more natural look, allow several trunks to form. Note that they will grow a lot in diameter as they age, so although it's okay for the bases to fuse, you don't want any trunks that look like they will start rubbing if they were 6" in diameter, from 1' and higher. Choose a balanced number and stick with it. As they grow, train then out and away from the center. Try to stick with between 5 and 10 main branches usually.

It's good to hear that you've been keeping them open. That's great.

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    That's great. I appreciate the help. I tend to focus on good pruning practices regardless of the plant. I start with dead wood, then anything that is crossing or looks like it will in the future. I just wanted to make sure that it was find to leave several trunks. It's cool if they fuse, I just don't want to find out that they don't and I have to trim out a lot, wasting all that growing time.
    – Dalton
    Apr 20, 2015 at 17:51

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