0b8579f0a07580ca5ba11224ab0918da

Crape myrtles are one of the most beautiful flowering trees in the south.

They have a wonderful vase shape, attractive pealing bark and bloom all summer long. It is no wonder that they are popular, in fact people sometimes complain that they are over planted.

crepe1.jpg

With all this popularity, it is surprising that such bad pruning habits have developed with the tree! In essence the tree tops are lopped off in a way that is similar to the way we trim ornamental grasses. This is hideous to look and has never been supported by academia but each February and March, landscape crew run amok and ‘prune’ every tree in sight. The multitude of new growth that sprouts up after this beheading is weak and equally unattractive. Additionally the method creates large, ugly ‘knees’ at the point of reduction.

The problem seems to stem from the fact that the tree produces a lot of small side branches each year, and the blooms form on that new growth. The twiggy growth and remnant blossoms leave the trees looking a little ragged each spring so some tidying up is needed. Trimming the dead flower heads off and the very thin twigs is acceptable, but you should not take branches that are thicker than a thumb. If left to grow in a natural form they will be graceful and trouble free for years to come.  

crepe2.jpg

Myrtles Plant your crape myrtle in full sun to part shade for the best bloom, and keep the soil slightly moist that first year so that the tree can get established. Staking is not required. Some varieties will produce sucker growth around the base of the main trunk, and these should be removed, along with any low growing growth. The attractive bark is smooth to look at, and is best when lower branches are kept to a minimum. Look for varieties with a rich cinnamon color, such as Nanches , and you will have summer color, plus winter interest.  

 

 

 

 

 

crape3.jpg

In humid summers crapes can have a problem with mold and fungal issues, but unless the tree is small, there is nothing really you can do. Smaller trees can be treated with an appropriate spray, but in general, the infestation will not do long term harm. Crapes can be planted in groups, or as a focal point, and they can also be used to line a driveway.  

kateavatar3.jpgKate is a gardener, a garden writer and a garden educator living in Atlanta, Georgia. She has written for national magazines and local newspapers, plus hosts a weekly radio show. You can visit here website at www.katecopsey.com, her blog at www.katesgardenjournal.com , or drop her a message at her profile page www.theMulch.com/my-profile/userprofile/katycopsey.

 

 

 


Featured Plant Care

Mimulus Monthly Plant Care

Monkey Flower (Mimulus spp ) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Shrubs
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Star Jasmine Monthly Plant Care

Jasmine - Star (Trachelospermum jasminoides) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Vines
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!
Collard Greens Plant Care

Collard Greens (Brassica oleracea ssp. Acephala Group) - Monthly Plant Care Calendar

in Edibles
You can have these monthly Plant Care Reminders sent directly to you each month!

Latest Articles

Peach Leaf Curl

Peach Leaf Curl - Information Hub

Peach leaf curl is a common problem found on leaves of Peaches and Nectarines (and their…
Avocado Information Hub

Avocado - Growing and Plant Care Information Hub

in Edibles
We're bringing relevant information about Avocados (Persea americana) to one fantastic…

Popular Articles

Using the Mulch for Home Gardeners

Home Gardener: Using All The Great Features on the Mulch

You Can Use The Great Features on the Mulch For Free!
Baseball Field Maintenance

Baseball Field Maintenance - A General Guide for Fields of All Levels

in Lawn
More great baseball field resources can be found here (including a pdf version of this…
Queen Palm Care & Use

The Queen Palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) Care & Use

in Trees
Jungle Music Palms and Cycads is a family owned and operated business established in 1977
Microgreens

What are Microgreens and How to Grow Them

in Edibles
Microgreens are tiny leafed vegetables that are grown from seed and require very little…

User Guides (Slide)

Popular Recommendations (Slide)