Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Top Ten Crape Myrtle No-No's


Crape myrtles are popular in our region of the mid to lower South and rightfully so. Unlike the in vogue nature of plants such as Bradford pear and Leyland cypress, crape myrtles actually have positive ornamental characteristics that far outweigh any negatives associated with this Southern horticultural heavyweight. Among the characteristics that have many wanting at least one crape myrtle in their yard are the distinctively showy blooms, the exfoliating bark that ultimately reveal an often colorful muscular trunk, and the superb fall foliage that can range from delicate yellows to intense reds. When it comes to negatives, the crepe myrtle itself can usually be held without blame. Many times, it is the owner of the crape myrtle that has committed the no-no, and so, without delay, here is my list of the Top Ten Crape Myrtle No-No's:

PHOTO: Nachez crape myrtle - possibly the most used and well-known of all crape myrtle varieties.














10. Selecting a plant that requires massive pruning to fit into it's space - Today's crape myrtle is much different than those that our parents enjoyed. We have a multitude of varieties available to us with enhanced cold tolerance, improved insect and disease resistance, and most importantly, we have crape myrtle varieties that, at maturity, grow as small as one foot tall, to giants that can reach 40' tall. With all these choices, it is upon the designer/installer to chose the appropriate plant. For instance, if you have a space where you want a white crape myrtle that grows to about 10' tall, then you should be looking for a semi-dwarf variety. Named crape myrtles usually are tagged with information that tells you how large they are going to grow or you can do a little research online and find out what varieties fit the parameters you've set up. When looking for a white crape myrtle that grows 10' tall at maturity, you don't want to buy a Nachez, for instance. Nachez crape myrtles will grow over 30' tall and will quickly become too large for your space. The better choice would be one of the white semi-dwarf crape myrtles, like Acoma.
9. Buying a plant labeled red or white or pink or purple - I've seen this from time to time. A crape myrtle simply tagged, "pink". This is a sure sign that you are probably not purchasing an improved variety and it is your guess as well as anyone else's as to how large it's going to grow. Your best bet is to steer clear and seek out a named variety.

8. Not buying a plant that is insect or disease resistant - Insect and disease has, in the past, been quite the bugaboo for crape myrtles. Aphids and powdery mildew were among the most bothersome agents of doom when it came to crape myrtle decline. Now, with improved varieties available to the public, you can pretty much purchase crape myrtles secure in the thought that they will grow well and you won't be treating them every growing season. Of course, the disclaimer is: nothing is absolute and sure as I talk about improved insect and disease resistance, there are isolated cases. Crape myrtle lists are out there that will signify certain varieties as being more hardy than others if you really want to cover all your bases.

PHOTO: Tuscarora crape myrtle - Here it is used as a street tree. Tuscarora crape myrtles will grow to 20' tall by 15' wide and have huge flower panicles (12" by 8") that are dark coral pink for about 70 days during the summer. Nachez, Tuscarora, Tonto, Souix and a score of other crape myrtles are from what is referred to as the Indian series. This series of crape myrtles is readily available at reputable nurseries and are highly recommended.







7. Improper spacing - When planting a grouping of crape myrtles, attention should be paid to spacing. One characteristic of crape myrtle that can be enjoyed is the graceful branching habit. A way to diminish this characteristic is to plant too closely together and planting too closely together inhibits air circulation (which is helpful in fending off disease) and makes the landscape appear cluttered. As I've mentioned, every crape myrtle has a mature height it will grow to, but they also have a range that they will grow to in width. For example, Acoma crape myrtles are usually listed as growing to about 8' - 10' high and to about 10' - 12' wide. So, if you are planting a grouping of three Acoma crape myrtles, you probably don't want to plant them closer than 10' or 12' apart.
6. Planting in too much shade - I've seen crepe myrtles growing in too much shade and they always look unhappy (yes, I occasionally think of plants as having human emotions :-)). Now, a crape myrtle will grow nicely in just a little shade, but know that the more shade it is subjected to, the fewer number of blooms you will have, the less foliage you will have during the growing season, and the more the crape myrtle will grow leaning toward the sunlight.
5. Not keeping your crape myrtles pruned up - As you will see when you get to rule No. 1, I am not a big fan of pruning crape myrtles. I do, however, encourage limbing up and the removal of dead and intersecting branches. The limbing up process does not apply so much to the more dwarf and shrub varieties of crape myrtle and much as they do to crape myrtles that you want to look like multi-trunk or single trunk trees. The limbing up procedure is where you take smaller limbs growing out from a main trunk and prune them off flush with the main trunk. These limbs are typically going to be located on the bottom 1/3 of the plant and, when removed, give the crape myrtle more of a tree-form appearance. Also, removing dead limbs and branches that intersect, rubbing against each other, is a way to improve the overall health and attractiveness of the crape myrtle.
4. Underplanting with too much plant - I most definitely encourage underplanting crape myrtles, especially when they are planted in natural areas or as part of a foundation planting. What you want to avoid, though, is underplanting with material that overwhelms the crepe myrtle. For example, large hollies or conifers don't look good under crape myrtles. Try using low growing plant material to plant under a crape myrtle. Ground covers and other low growing plants are great to plant under crape myrtles (Asiatic jasmine, English ivy, Autumn fern, dwarf azalea, etc.).
3. Clashing colors - When it comes to crape myrtles, too much of a good thing isn't necessarily good. Typically, in my landscape designs, I may have a singular crape myrtle plant or perhaps a grouping of several crape myrtles of one variety, but rarely do I incorporate multiple crape myrtle plantings of different varieties. If you have a grouping of red crape myrtles in your yard, for instance, and you insist on going with another grouping of a different color crepe myrtle, you might avoid using purple. More importantly, I would keep in mind the colors in your landscape in relation to when and where your crape myrtle is blooming. For instance, you may not want to plant summer blooming yellow hypericum under your Souix crape myrtle unless you enjoy the interplay between a medium pink and yellow. Opinions about colors in the landscape are of a subjective nature and all I can do is offer my opinion. I lean toward what I'd call "kinder combinations" with white being the great equalizer. I prefer using different shades of pink together or white with just about any other color. I'm OK with magenta combined with pink while I try to stay away from purples with red, lavenders and pinks with yellow, etc.

PHOTO: Chickasaw crape myrtle - a dwarf variety. This established plant from an Auburn University research center in about 2' tall.


2. Having a rogue crape myrtle - Seeing a planting of 4 pink crape myrtles and 1 purple one is more of a pet peeve for me than anything and it is often beyond the buyer's control. Sometimes plants simply get tagged incorrectly. With crape myrtles, when you are buying a group of one variety, take the time to examine each plant, even if they are tagged the same. You can sometimes spot a rogue plant by noticing that its habit of growth is different from the others or the leaves seem to be of different size or, if it is fall, that the fall color of one plant is different from the others. Still, if you realize that you've got a wrong colored crape myrtle....please! Replace it!!! (How's that for drama?).
1. Crape Murder - Who ever came up with that saying has given landscape professionals a catch phrase for the ages. And why not? When you top a crape myrtle, you are acknowledging that your crape myrtle was not properly selected or that you are a status quoer! (I just invented a word!!!). If you are a crape murderer, I still love you. I just don't want you within a mile of my yard if you have pruners on your body. :)

182 comments:

Christina said...

read your Crepe Myrtle No No's and have a question for you - I have 2 natchez crepe myrtles that were purchased last year (10 gallon, about 8 ft tall) and the blooms were white. This spring, they are now blooming light pink! They were white last year. Any idea of what could have happeneD?
confused crepe myrtle grower....

themanfromearth said...

Hi Christina,
My first reaction would be, "are you sure?". I've never heard of crape myrtles changing colors. French hydrangea is an example of a plant that can change colors depending on the soil ph, but I've never heard of that on a crape myrtle. I know the soil needs to be alkaline to turn a hydrangea pink, so you might start by adding acidity to the soil in case that is what is going on. I'd add aluminum sulfate, if you want to see if that's the situation. Or, you could take a soil sample and send it off to your nearest agricultural institution for a test. Another explanation might be that more than one variety of crape myrtle got stuck in the pot by the grower, but then you'd have a multi-colored plant. One other explanation is that blooms sometimes change or fade from color to color during the blooming process. Perhaps you remember the crepe myrtle as it bloomed in one phase and now you are seeing it in another. I believe you saw what you saw, but it would be very unusual and I'm sorry I can't be of more help.

Kathryne said...

greetings,
I love your websiteBTW.
I have 2 Tuscarora and would like to know how to trim and plant the trimmings in order to make more trees without damaging my existing trees.
Thank You in Advance for any help you can offer.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Kathryne,
I apologize for not giving my comments on your crape myrtle issues any earlier. Assuming you have your Tuscarora crape myrtles in a spot where they can grow to their full size without topping (Tuscarora will get to over 20' tall, easily, with nearly a similar spread), the only pruning I'd do would be limbing up (to reveal the beautiful older wood) and/or removal of crossing branches and branched that are growing in an awkward direction. Crape myrle cuttings typically root fairly easily. Take a 5 to 6 inch cutting from the tip of a branch, strip all but 1 or 2 of the leaves at the skinniest end of the stem, take your fingernail and gently scrape a little bark from about a half inch of the big end of the stem with your fingernail (this is called wounding and it promotes root growth), buy a small packet of rooting hormone and dip the stem (big end) into the the hormone then into a pot of sand or dirt, keeping the soil/sand moist. With any luck, you should have a seedling with roots in just a couple or three weeks. I would encourage you to think hard about adding more Tuscaroras to your landscape unless you have plenty of room to let them grow with out having to do the kind of heavy pruning that I think detracts so much from the beauty of a fully grown crape myrtle.

Anonymous said...

would you think it's ok to espalier a crepe myrtle?

themanfromearth said...

Hello anonymous!
Yes, I do think it would be alright, but I would take a few things into consideration. Does the area or wall that you want to train the crape myrtle onto have plenty of sunlight? Also, have you determined how tall you'd like the plant to grow? I've not espaliered a crape myrtle before, but I'd bet that the dwarfs and semi-dwarfs would look better over the long haul. Good luck! Send pictures in a couple of years!

Anonymous said...

I want to plant 4 or 5 Crepe Myrtles in my empty front yard. I would like to mix several colors. One white, one light pink, one dark pink, one lavender, and one purple. I live in a plantation style home with a double porch. How do you think this will look? I'm uncertain. I love color but don't want it to look like an easter egg. I will be planting flowers at the base of each tree.

Anonymous said...

I bought a house that has 4 Natchez crape myrtles that are planted about 6 foot apart. They were planted to screen a 70yo neighbor who skinny dips and runs naked in his back yard. They each have 3-4 trunks that are about 3 inches around. They are about 15 feet tall. They are too close together and I do not know what to do with them. How hard would it be to dig 2 of them up and transplant them? Thanks

themanfromearth said...

In regards to screening the skinny dipper...If he is a fair-weather skinny dipper, then the fact that the crepe myrtles are deciduous may not matter. That was one of my first thoughts. Crepe myrtles that grow large like Nachez don't want to be bushy. They want to grow into a tree. However! If you cut them back regularly, keeping the largest branches to around a 1.5" diameter, you could have a dense spring and summer screen that could be maintained to about 10 feet. This would require regular pruning. Still, there are better choices, depending on your specific situation, for a screening plant. As to whether or not these Nachez plants can be moved. Well, with severeal branches measuring 3 inches in diameter, they sound pretty large and digging a nice root ball seems unlikely, not to mention back-breaking work, without a machine, but it you waited until they were really dormant (Dec thru March) and cut them back to 2 or 3 feet, these plant would come back and you could prune them into the shape you desire (that being how many trunks you'd like each plant to have). This is how I would do it, anyway. If you can get a machine, you might be able to dig a nice root ball and not have to cut the plants back in order to compensate for root loss. Crepe myrtles are generally easy to transplant, so I might be a little over cautious with my reccommendations, especially without know your exact variables. Hope this helps and thanks for visiting!
PS....one other thought, depending on how high your screening plant needs to be, you might be able to keep the crepe myrtles and plant another plant in the same space. Check out Illicium parviflorum..just one example.

West Tx Girl said...

We just purchased property with no trees and I bought 38 Pink Souix Crape Myrtles about 8 inches tall to help give us privacy from the street. I know it will take a while for them to mature, but how far apart should I plant them to help with the privacy issue. Thank you very much.

themanfromearth said...

Souix is one of my favorite semi-dwarf crepe myrtles. Although some sources report that it will only grow to 6' to 8' wide, I have seen it grow wider. Still, it is more of an upright grower. I would space them at around 7' to 8' apart if your goal is screening. I suppose you could get away with 5.5' to 6', but in a few short years, you'll have plants really growing into each other and it might look awkward. One way to use more generous spacing (for the plants sake) while achieving the screening effect is to use a staggered row rather than a straight line of plants. Good luck with your planting.

Shannon from Florida said...

I have 2 single stock crepe myrtles and would like to plant together to make a bigger tree....they are about 4 feet tall. Is this ok to do?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Shannon,
I don't see why not. Growers often stick multiple cuttings in a pot and end up selling them as multi-trunk plants. Good luck to you and enjoy the summer blooms!

Anonymous said...

I would like to buy two single stem natchez crape myrtles to plant in front of my house. How far from the house do you think I would need to plant the root ball. Also, I have read various thoughts about hardiness zones for the natchez variety and have recently moved to Louisville, KY. In your opinion will they be OK in this area?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Louisville,
I better not make emphatic predictions on how well Nachez Crape Myrtle will do in zone 6b. Some literature says it is rated zone 6-10 while others show 7-9. I would defer to a local, full service nursery to get their opinion. I would say that Nachez is one of the more hardy varieties of crape myrtle. Selecting single trunk trees, however, requires a bit of faith. With multitrunks, if you were to get some winter damage, it's not as big a deal. The plant recovers by sending up new growth from the ground and you just chunk the dead wood and wait for the new growth to develop into new trunks. With a single trunk, if you get winter damage that extends down into the main trunk and then the tree recovers by sending out new growth from below, well, then you've pretty much lost that single trunk look. So, I don't know if you can anticipate winter damage very often in Louisville with Nachez. I'd look around and see if your neighborhood homes have them. They're very distinctive and in Central Alabama, practically every other house has one. I hope I didn't muddy up the water too much. Thanks for visiting!

Force said...

How close to a house can you plant a Natchez Crape Myrtle? Is 8 Feet too close? I want to have it grow and cover over the top of my porch and walkway.

themanfromearth said...

If you don't have intentions on topping (murdering, as it is known in the industry) your crape myrtle, then 8 feet might be a little close. I'd probably feel a little better with 10' to 12' spacing, with 15' being even better. You might get away with planting 8 feet from your home if you select a Nachez that doesn't have a wide branching habit. Different growers train their plants in different ways. I would look for a multi-trunk plant with 3 to 5 main trunks that are more vertical than spreading. If your home is a one story, that would help, also. You can prune your crape myrtle up (the main type of pruning I suggest for crape myrtles) so that lower, secondary branches easily clear any structures. Remember, Nachez is a fast grower. If planted in good sunlight and planted properly, it will hurry up and become the shade tree you are looking for. I hope this helps. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

is it o.k. to plant a nachez myrtle less than 6 feet from the wall of my house? will it eventually do some damage with its roots to its foundations since it grows to a biggish tree?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Anonymous!
I have one client that has a Nachez planted about 6' from their home. I'd guess the plant is about 8 to 10 years old and it needs regular pruning to keep it from growing up against the exterior walls and windows. I'd estimate the size of the tree to be 13' to 15' tall by 8' to 10' wide (it would be wider, but the plant was trained by the growing to be more upright). In another 10 years, this crape myrtle will probably require major, "crape murder" style pruning. I hate that because topping a crape myrtle, in my opinion, robs it of showing off one of it's main ornamental characteristics, its beautiful exfoliating bark. Nothing worse than seeing an awesome, colorful, muscular crape myrtle trunk and then....WHACK!!!...it's been butchered.
Sorry if I'm being a little dramatic!
Anyway, back to your question. If it were me, I'd probably look at Acoma Crape Myrtle. It is a white, but it grows to about 15' tall. It does have more of a spreading habit than Nachez, but because it is a semi-dwarf, I still think it would be a more suitable plant to use in the space you are considering. It's hard to say if a crape myrtle growing to a large size could damage your foundation. I've not seen it, but a Nachez growing to a full size and planted within 6' of your home ???..well, it would be hard to imagine it not causing some damage (I've seen the base of a Nachez at easily over 2' in diameter; and over 35' tall). Yes, you might be talking 20 years from now, but it is possible. There are other trees to consider, also. What about a Japanese maple, like Bloodgood, Oshio-Beni, Sangokaku, etc.? These, along with the Acoma, would probably be better choices for the confined space you are working with. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I have 3 different varieties of crapes planted in my front yard- a pink, a dwarf red, and one that I have been looking up over and over and have finally decided it is a japanese crape myrtle (it has another name, but I'd probably spell it wrong!) anyway, the one I believe to be a japanese crape was purchased last year at a discounted price (12.00!) b/c the seller was clearing out what they thought was looking bad so I bought it (I'm a sucker for all things needing help) and planted it by our house with the steps on the side and smaller plants pretty close around it. When I planted it it was only about 2-3 ft tall and very thin and scraggly looking maybe a foot or 2 wide- everyone thought I'd planted a weed! Now this year its grown huge it is still a little scraggly- meaning thin branches that blow in the breeze- but is around 7 feet tall with a canopy type thing going on and has even bloomed some beautiful white flowers. It sort of hugs the walls of my house laying its ends against the walls. My question is - will it get to large to be only about 2-3 ft. from our house in a sort of cubby with a wall on 2 sides of it? Our house is very tall with a lot of points and peaks so right now it looks beautiful! But we have a full basement and I do not need foundation problems - like roots coming thru the walls or anything! Okay, now I'm being dramatic! I also don't want to kill it if I move it and did I mention it looks beautiful in its cubby type spot! Please help! Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

themanfromearth said...

Thanks for stopping by!

I'm curious if the crape myrtle you planted grew from a 2-3 ft shrub into a 7 footer within the space of one or two years. If so, that is an indication that you have a large growing crape myrtle; one that could easily grow to be 20'+. Large crape myrtles like that probably shouldn't be planted within 5 or 6 feet of your home. You'd be better off with your crape myrtle planed at least 8-10 feet from your home. Crape myrtles are fairly easy to move, but only if you wait until their leaves have fallen off in the fall. I'd even consider pruning the plant back to 2 to 3 feet at moving time to help insure it makes the move with ease. Please, let me know if you have any follow up questions.

KristeeD said...

Some of my crepe myrtles have a large trunk and some have a small trunk, can anyone tell me the difference? And I planted this row of them about 10 years ago and some are not even 3-4 ft tall. So I don't know why they are not really growing fast. Can anyone help, please!!! Thanks

themanfromearth said...

Hi Kristee,
I feel your pain! I know how frustrating it can be to plant something expecting certain results only to find out, through no fault of your own, that you didn't get what you though you were getting. There are two plausible explanations for your quandry. The more unlikely explanation is that there is a big difference in soil quality along this row of crape myrtles. Even crape myrtles, as easy to grow as they are, will grow slower in poor soil conditions. Sometimes, it can just be the difference in planting techniques between two people that will show up in how well a plant does. Is it possible the stunted plants were planted by one person and the larger ones by a different person? But, here is what I believe the more likely explanation is. Some of your crape myrtles were tagged incorrectly or didn't have tags on them, at all. Some nurseries do a very poor job of keeping there crape myrtle varieties separated from one another and they often don't have every plant tagged. I know of some nurseries that double tag their crape myrtles just to avoid such a problem. Without a tag, it can be nearly impossible to know what variety you have as trying to identify a crape myrtle by leaf is nearly impossible. There are varieties of crape myrtle that only grow to 3 or 4 feet tall...some even smaller, and then there are crape myrtles that can get over 30 feet tall. I'm going to assume that all of your plants have bloomed. Are they all the same color? How tall are the tallest ones? Answers to these questions might help me better answer your question. Let me know!

KristeeD said...

Thank you so much. No they have not all bloomed. There are 7 of them planted in a straight row, 4 have just started to bloom. Of the ones that have started to bloom 2 are light pink and 2 are hot pink. They are planted pretty close together about 4-5 ft apart. We live in north Mississippi and have has an extremely hot summer this year I dont know if that has anything to do with it or not. Thank you so much for responding, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

themanfromearth said...

Kristee, If your intention was to have all the same variety of crape myrtle in your row, then that won't be possible unless you start over. If you are okay with the mixed colors and sizes, then you really are okay, as well. For those of you who are reading this and will purchase crape myrtles in the future, you should feel like the nursery you are purchasing from has done their due diligence in identifying correctly their many different varieties of crape myrtle. A tag that says "red", "pink", etc...is not a plant you want to purchase. A row of untagged crape myrtles behind a sign saying "Nachez", "Souix", etc...is not good enough. Crape myrtle plants need to be individually tagged in a nursery. I will even look at the shapes of the plants and the leaf color and size. Sometimes you can tell that one variety has a different habit of growth or leaf shape or leaf color than another variety. Noticing these things can help you avoid selecting a plant that has been incorrectly identified. If you are planting in the Fall or early Spring, as I often do, then you have a several month wait until the crape myrtles you've planted bloom, so it pays to be as sure as you can to plant what you think you are planting rather than finding out months or even years later that you were a victim of "CRAPE WHO?" (ha...I just made that up!)

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I am hoping you can solve my mystery! Last summer we planted a Natches crepe myrtle in our front yard. It seems like it is growing nicely but it is not blooming! (and every other crepe myrtle in the county is blooming which is driving me crazy!). We live outside washington DC in Arlington VA. We went with the Nachez as the landscaper (who only works in Arlington) suggested it as the Naches seems to do very well in this area based on his experience. Any clue why mine is not blooming? I did do one spray with water miracle grow application on it months ago and was fairly minimal some can't imagine in "over fertilized" it. I regularly watered it last summer when we had it planted and periodically water it this summer. (maybe every couple of weeks). Thanks!!! Dasha

themanfromearth said...

I can think of a few reasons: Was there any pruning done during the Spring, after the leaves came out? That could cause a delay in the blooms. Is the plant really young and small? I'd approximate a Nachez would need to be a few years old before reliably blooming? Are you sure it's a Nachez...this is a long shot, but there are later blooming CM's out there. Doesn't sound like you've over fertilized, but that can be a factor is some instances. Another longshot....is the soil super duper fertile? Extremely fertile soil can produce lots of leaves but not blooms, necessarily. Here's another one; if the Nachez was just planted this Spring, but it was grown in a climate zone cooler than yours prior to its arrival at the nursery it was purchased at, assuming it made it to the nursery within months, then the blooms could be in sync with its original home. But take solice, that would only last for this one year...anyway, if that longshot is the case, then I think you'll still have blooms this year.

Anonymous said...

Centineal spirit and tuscarora side by side? Trying to do landscaping with a pink mixture but just realized centineal spirit reads red! Yikes, looked dark pink to me. Ps, excuse the spelling-on my mobile

themanfromearth said...

I see. Wow, what an oppurtunity to add an Acoma (white) and a Muskogee (purple)! Or,,,look for some of these other pinks - Hopi, Pecos, Miami, Pink Velour, Potomac, Sioux.

Anonymous said...

Hi,live in Long Island, New York and I have a beautiful crape myrtle in my front yard that I got a couple of years ago. I believe it is a Tuscorora and it doesn't start blooming in August. I'd like to get another crape for my backyard but I'm looking for something that blooms earlier and is a preferably red and can also handle our NY winters - I'm zone 7. Any suggests? Thanks, Dave

themanfromearth said...

Hi Dave,
You should look into Dynamite. It is a newly introduced crape myrtle that has true red color, an extra long bloom cycle, and it's Zone 6! It should be available at some of the nurseries in your area. Let me know if you need any more help.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading the info and answers to questions about crape myrtles on your site. I could use some help. We are purchasing about 3 acres of land in south Louisiana with many trees on it including at least 2 live oaks, 2 pecan trees, a few cedar trees, and several pin (water) oaks. We will have a very long driveway. At our current home, we have a large crape myrtle (full grown and approx 19 feet wide by 20 ft high) which I think may be a "Choctaw" . It has pink blooms. It constantly produces soft wood growths. I would like to take cuttings from the soft wood and start about 60 crape myrtle trees to line the driveway on our new property. This would be a very cost effective way for me to have my driveway beautifully lined. I am concerned about the amount of shade they may get. Do you think they would possibly do okay?

Anonymous said...

when is the best time of the year to plant a Crepe Myrtle? I live in Louisville, Ky. I am thinking of planting a Tuscarora in my front yard.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Louisiana,
Crape myrtles prefer full sunlight, but they will grow in part shade and still bloom, although the amount of flowering will not be as much as in full light and the plants growing in the most shade might appear slightly stunted. Another thing to consider is that crape myrtles growing in part shade tend to "bend" toward the light. In a scenario where you have a tree lined drive you likely to have some trees doing better than others and perhaps some trees being less symetrical in shape than others. It's sort of a subjective call on your part. I hope that helps. Feel free to ask a follow up and thanks for the kind comments. :-)

themanfromearth said...

Hello Kentucky, I would typically encourage folks to plant in the Fall over the Spring. Maybe I'm nitpicking a bit, but with a crape myrtle and you being in Zone 6, maybe I'd consider waiting for early Spring. Get the plant in the ground after the risk of damaging cold for the first year. Let the roots take hold and then it will stand a better chance should you get a Winter freeze that could perhaps give your plant a little trouble. It's probably a close call and you might just be fine planting in October, but if you don't mind waiting, then perhaps a March planting would give you a little bit of an advantage. I'm not familiar with the landscaping scene in Louisville, so if I'm off base with my comments and there are plenty of Tuscarora's (which, btw, is one of the more cold hardy crape myrtles) growing well there, then feel good about planting in the Fall.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I have two white natchez that are about 4 years old...one is planted 2' from my driveway & 6' from the house. The thick roots have already cracked my driveway. The other is in the back 5' from house and 4' from pipes. Instead of digging the roots, can I just cut it with a chain saw & cover the stump with soil? Will it continue to grow? Should I leave the one in the back alone, or should I do the same by cutting it? I just want to avoid any problems in the future. Please advise...thank you.

themanfromearth said...

Hey there,
When you cut a crape myrtle to the ground because you no longer want it in your landscape, it will almost always send out new shoots, and it can be relentless. Putting dirt over it, unless you are talking about a couple of feet, will not help. Some folks will try covering the roots and stump with landscape fabric. Another option is to spray the shoots with Round-Up. Of course, you will have to spray multiple times over the course of years in some cases. I know one person that has been simply cutting the new shoots back when they appear. This method of "starving" the tree will eventually work, but it takes a long time.
Nachez is one those crape myrtle varieties that grow into a very large size. A four year old Nachez is just a babe. If it were me, I'd remove both plants.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the response on the two Natchez. If I dig around the base of the tree, cut the surrounding roots, remove the base as much as I can, and spray the remaining cut roots with Round UP, will this prevent the roots from new shoots? Or do I have to pull every cut root out of the ground?

themanfromearth said...

Crape myrtles are very good at adapting to attempts to kill them. They often will come up from a stray root that was left behind, even when the big main trunk has been removed. I don't think Round-up is as effective on cut roots. It's is meant to work through leaves. That being said, I'd probably give it a shot since you'll have good access to the roots after you've dug out the trunk. Then, you can spray any shoots that may (will, haha) come up from the surrounding left-behind roots. Your time spent completely eliminating your crape myrtles won't be nearly as daunting as if you had simply cut the plants to the ground.

Anonymous said...

Could you recommend a crepe myrtle variety that would provide privacy along a newly installed flagstone patio? The outline of our patio is approx. 12'x16'. I'd like privacy along the 12' length. If two were planted, one would be close to our garden shed and deck (above shed). We live in SE PA which I think we are either zone 6 or 7. Thanks!

themanfromearth said...

Hi SE PA!
Big Buccos fan here!!
Your choice of a crape myrtle variety will depend on several factors. The main one being: At what height do you need the most foliage? If you are trying to create privacy at eye level, for instance, then planting a large growing crape myrtle will not be of much help as they want to grow tall and getting a reliable canopy of foliage at the 5' mark can be tough to do with a Nachez, for instance. In this example of needing eye level privacy, I'd be suggesting some semi-dwarf varieties, such as Acoma (white, 6-10 feet high at maturity), Hopi (pink, 8-10 ft.), and Tonto (red, 8-12 ft.). All three of these crape myrtle varieties are Zone 6. If you need screening that will be effective at, say 15' tall, then your choices will be different. Also, keep in mind that, especially with the larger growing varieties, the roots of crape myrtles can get pretty intense and possibly damage a flagstone patio at some point. Some other factors to consider are habit (crape myrtles can be weeping, narrow upright, spreading, etc.), bloom color, exfoliation, and so on. Feel free to follow up with additional info if you think it will help.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info! Either of the 3 semi-dwarf mentioned should be provide some level of privacy. Thanks for the note about root invasiveness and possible patio stone damage. Don't need that! Now to decide which variety to plant. I'm leaning toward narrow upright direction with some spreading. Any suggestion to soil amendment? I read that adding Plant Sure Plus then Bio-tone Starter Plus is helpful.

Laurie

themanfromearth said...

Hi Laurie,
Any of the three semi-dwarf varieties I mentioned are great, although, I might steer away from Acoma, the white, because it has a spreading/weeping habit. Since I don't know what you have in the way of soil type in your area, I'd be reluctant to make a specific suggestion as to ammendments. I would say that you want to provide good drainage. That can be done by adding suitable ammendments, but also in how you plant your plants. Remember to loosen (or tease) the roots when you take them out of the container (if they are container plants) and also remember to set the plant in the hole so that the top of the root ball is higher than the surrounding, existing soil level. I usually shoot for around 2 to 3 inches above the existing soil level, and then I grade the excavated soil up to and even with (but not over) the top of the root ball so as to not leave that root ball partially exposed. And, of course, mulch! Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I live in northern NJ, zone 6...I was thinking of planting a few Natchez for privacy from my next door neighbors second floor windows looking down on my backyard. I wanted to know how tall and how fast the Natchez will grow in my area? Also, how far apart should I plant them so they will provide privacy? Thanks, Risa :)

themanfromearth said...

Hi Risa,
I'm not familiar with the North New Jersey landscape scene, but I can shed this much light. Here in Central Alabama (zone 7) our Nachez can ge to 25'+. In Southern Alabama (zone 8), I get the feeling that their Nachez crape myrtles grow larger. I'm guessing (just a guess) that your Nachez will grow smaller in zone 6 than it would in zones 7 or 8, but you can still count on it to get pretty big and certainly be among the faster growing crape myrtles in your area. I'd look around and notice some of the larger crape myrtles in your neighborhood. That's what you should expect out of a Nachez. Also, you could call a reputable nursery in your area for some input. Good luck to you!

longrivers said...

Hi all,
I just bought 4 Pink Velour crape myrtles. I planted them 5 feet apart and was wondering if could plant some knock-out roses in between?
thanks, Michael

themanfromearth said...

Hi Michael,
Your Pink Velour crape mytles grow to about 8-10 feet tall by about the same in width. Your spacing seems to be designed for screening rather than a grouping of stand alone plants. You'll have no room for other plantings between those four plants inside of 3 to 4 years. You could get away with it between now and then. Even with dedicated pruning on the Pink Valours (which I wouldn't normally recommend, anyway), I think you'll have limited potential for long-term success with interplantings of a sun-loving flowering shrub like Knock Out rose. You might consider an underplanting of something like Autumn Chiffon Encore Azalea. It is low growing (so its height won't compete with the crape myrtles) and blooms at a different time of the year (strectching out the bloom season).

Ericm said...

I have been searching out crape myrtles for my rather small yard, and I have really tried to find the right size for the space. However, finding what size one grows to is really challenging sometimes. For example, a local nursery had some 1 gallon sized containers with purple crape myrtles tagged as "Royalty" crape myrtles that will grow to 8-12 feet with a 6 foot spread. I wanted to research them before purchasing for disease resistance. I noticed that the height listings varied wildly, with the Texas A&M listings saying it will grow to 4-8 feet tall and another large online nursery saying it will grow 10-15 feet tall. Same size issues with the Centennial Spirit, listed as reaching 8-12 feet on some websites, 12-15 on the tag, and 15-20 feet on other websites (including a local tree farm).

So while I am trying to find somthing that will fit the small spaces I have, I cannot be held 100% responsible if I end up with a monster in a spot where I needed to plant a dwarf since apparently even the nurseries that grow them and sell them can't agree on the mature height. I tried to get sizes that wouldn't be too large if they grew to the biggest size I could find listed for that variety, so I may end up with midgets where I needed medium sized plants. Kind of frustrating, but at least in 10 years I will know how big the varieties I purchased grow.

themanfromearth said...

Hi,
The Aggie web site you mentioned is descibing a 'Dwarf Royalty' crape myrtle. Other websites I visited seemed to be talking about 'Royalty' crape myrtle. Yes, there is some discrepancy between nurseries regarding how large plants will grow. I'd veer to the more generous predictions. Unfortunately, many nurseries realize that smaller growering crape myrtles are in vogue and I think they may fudge a bit on the low side when issuing descriptions. Remember to also keep in mind the form of a particular crape myrtle (upright vase, spreading, etc.) as that can have as much or more impact on how well a crape myrtle variety fits into your space. Good luck!

longrivers said...

(Even with dedicated pruning on the Pink Valours (which I wouldn't normally recommend, anyway))

you are not recommending dedicated pruning or pink valours?

thanks for your advice
Michael

themanfromearth said...

That is more of a personal preference, Michael, but one that is widely held and even has a euphemism to describe the act of pruning crape myrtles: "crape murder". I value the muscular, colorful nature of the trunks of crape myrtles as much as I do the blooms. Regular topping of crape myrtles detracts from that ornamental benefit. Pink Velour grows large enough to have the trunk(s) exposed with a typical canopy of foliage on the upper 1/2 to 1/3rd of the plant. Now, I'll be my own devil's advocate. Pruning a Pink Velour would be totally acceptable, in my opinion, if your goal is to have a dense, shrubby plant with foliage to the ground.

Anonymous said...

The previous owner of my house planted 3 cm's next to my neighbors driveway. They are 2-3 feet below that driveway which is slupming down from erosion. I need to build up the height of my lawn to avoid a total colapse, but will it kill the cm if the soil covers the bottoms of the trees? At least 1 foot up I guess, maybe more.

themanfromearth said...

Hi anonymous,
Adding 1' of soil over the original soil level around your crape myrtles could kill them. Is the soil going to cover the roots on all sides on the trees? If it were only on one side, that might make a difference. Covering the ground with a foot of soil is essentially depriving the roots of oxygen, and oxygen is a necessary ingredient in soil for trees to live. It's hard to predict if your trees would survive this and it could be a slow decline, perhaps taking a few years, before the trees might succumb to the depleted oxygen levels. You could always dig the crape myrtles up and replant them at the corrected soil level. Also, you could build tree wells around each tree. That might actually be quite attractive and could be done using stack stone. Tree wells, however, don't always solve the problem as the roots you are trying to protect are going to be located two thirds out from the trunk to just underneath the drip line of the tree. With a large crape myrtle, that might be an awfully large tree well. Good luck to you!

Tony Wilson said...

Hey,

I have one right in front of the house. It's beautiful and the crust is my favorite part though, is in the wrong place and much too large for its location. Bees love flowers and you can hear the hum from the other side of the garden, that strong!

Thanks
Lavander Crepe Myrtle

Anonymous said...

Hi! we just got new landscaping lining our street and they are mature Muskogee. AT first I was shocked because they are completely bare, but after some research I see that this will look amazing in the summer months. However, how does the tree look in other seasons? Will we have bare bark for 9 months to pay for the beauty of summer blooms? any images you can share showing the tree in other seasons? thanks from Miami Beach!

themanfromearth said...

Hello Miami,
Not to worry, you're Muscogee crape myrtles will leaf out in late March to early April. The leaves will start out light green and soon each tree will have a nice green canopy of foliage which will serve as a backdrop for the lavender blooms that will follow around June or July. The blooming should last 6 to 8 weeks and then you can look forward to the leaves turning purple/plum/pink in the fall. Finally, as each year comes to an end, your trees will lose their leaves for the Winter. As the trees become older, the trunks will begin to exfoliate and become "muscular". In my opinion, the Winter time is when that particular ornamental characteristic is best revealed. For many, crape myrtles have something to offer all year round. Sorry, I don't have any photos to show, but you can find many on line by Googling it and using the image tool. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tessa said...

Hey Rob, Tessa from Tennessee here. I am looking to plant Crepe Myrtle's along a fence for more privacy. Trying to find a white Crepe Myrtle that grows about 15 to 20ft high. Afraid the Natchez will get too big, essentially outgrowing the desired space. Can you please point me in the right direction or give me another option? Best -

themanfromearth said...

Hi Tessa,
Look for a crape myrtle called Acoma. I like this one very much. It will grow to the size you are looking for.

Anonymous said...

It's crape myrtle.

themanfromearth said...

Thanks for catching that, anonymous! It was beyond glaring...lol. As you can see from the comments section, I do know how to spell crape myrtle. Perhaps I had a craving for French cuisine on that day back in 2009 :-)

Gabriela Philippon said...

Hopefully you can help us. We have an existing Crape Myrtle in our yard. It is about 13' from our exterior wall. We want to build a trellis off this back wall and where our designer put a column to support the roof, it lands approximately 36" from the trunk. Will the foundation of this column become a hazard to the health of the Crape Myrtle. Unfortunately, I do not know which type it is; but the tree is tall (about 30' tall). I have not yet seen it bloom since I just moved in. Will it be OK for the 24"x24" foundation to be dug that close to the tree? Concerned.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Gabriela,
This is a very interesting question. At three feet from the main trunk, there is no doubt that some key roots will be severed. I'm envisioning a pie chart and thinking that a two foot wide hole three feet away from the main trunk probably constitutes about 15 to 20 percent of the roots being affected. My guess is there is a pretty good chance your tree will survive this. Let me add this, though. Some of the tree's ability to survive may be dependent on: (1) how large a hole is actually dug for the post (2) how close to the trunk the machine (I'm assuming a machine; a real person with a shovel would perhaps be better) gets to the crape myrtle...ie..if the center of the post is actually 3' from the crape myrtle, will the digging of the hole start closer to the crape myrtle? (3) will the people digging the hole use caution and common sense when digging by not injuring or scarring the trunk of the tree or pulling unnecessarily on the surrounding roots?

This is my subjective opinion. I wouldn't be shocked beyond belief if the tree didn't survive this, but I would allow it is it were at my home, knowing there is some risk involved.

I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Juan Aco said...

How and when would I go about air layering a Tuscarora? It is April 15 and I would like to get a couple of new trees growing this year.

Can that be done? Or would rooting cuttings be the way to go?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Juan,
You can be very successful with air layering. Does your Tuscarora have low branching, so you can bend a stem down amd wound the part of the thin wood that you want to root in contact with your soil? That about all there is to it...I would mulch pretty heavily, as well. Sure, that sounds like a great idea. I'd probably also root a few cuttings into a medium such as sand, light soil, or even water. Crape myrtles are notoriously easy to root. Good luck, my friend!

Anonymous said...

I like in Eugene OR and I have a tonto crape myrtle that I purchased and planted in late summer 2011. I purchased this tree online because I wasn't able to find one locally. The tree was about 2ft tall and is now maybe 3ft but it looks a bit "shabby". Last season it didn't bloom at all and it doesn't get a lot of leaves on it but it is in full sun with nothing planted around it. Is this just a result of the tree being so small or should I be doing "something" with it? How long will it take for the tree to reach the mature height of 12ft?
Thanks

themanfromearth said...

Hi Eugene :-),
It sounds like you got a glorified rooted cutting from your online source, which is often the case. Anyway, I'd be optimistic that your plant will do well. It sounds like you've got it located properly. I would ask, are you sure you planted it at the correct level in the soil? Sometimes, planting too deeply can slow a plants development. Maybe consider "lifting" the plant next fall, if you think that is a concern. I'd also suggest the use of a liquid root stimulator and fertilizing with a good, quality shrub food. Be sure your tree is mulched and the trunk is protected from mower and trimmer damage. Lastly, Tonto is considered a semi-dwarf crape myrtle. They are slower growing than some of the tree types. It could take well over 5 years to get to 12'...possibly 10 years. Every tree is different, though, so it's really not prudent to predict too assuredly. I think your tree will probably turn the corner in the next couple of seasons...maybe even this season, and show some signs of vigor. I'd be surprised if you didn't get a few blooms this year. Good luck with your Tonto!

Jamie said...

Good Morning,

We have a new Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle in our landscape close to the house. It looks to have tiny tiny buds on it but several of the branches seem to be turning black and it looks dead. Any ideas?

Jamie (-:

themanfromearth said...

Hi Jamie,
I'm assuming you mean leaf buds. Anyway, the black twigs could easily be sooty mold (a residue that can be found on twigs when there is an aphid infestation) left from last year. If the mold is bad enough, it can kill parts of the plant. I would trim away the parts of the crape myrtle that look like they aren't leafing out and then treat your plant for insects...specifically, aphid. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm new gardening and am redoing my front yard. I am searching for a nice small tree to put at the corner of my foundation garden and am considering Acoma (my first choice) or Tonto (second choice). I have a few other trees I am considering (crabapple, star magnolia...) and am just trying to figure out what will work best. I do not have a lot of space in terms of width which is why I am looking at the semi dwarf varieties. 8-10 feet is what I have to work with. My only concern with the crape myrtles is my zone. I am in the Niagara region of Ontario so my zone is 6b but its a small warm sport and our region is surrounded by zone 5 which makes me nervous! I have clay but have amended the soil, the location in question is full sun and it would be protected between the two house for the most part. Just looking for some advice as to whether or not I should still be considering these as an option!

themanfromearth said...

Hello Niagara,
You've got a tough situation. I think you should be aware that zone 6 crape myrtles could suffer damage periodically in your area. You could call your local nursery and ask them what they think. I do like the Star magnolia, but the blooms do seem to fall prey to late freezes quite a bit (at least, in Alabama) You may want to consider a named Japanese maple or perhaps a Chinese fringe tree (C. retusis - I love this plant and think some literature overstates how large it will grow).

NewJersyGirl said...

Hi, I am really enjoying your site. Lots of good advice!
Hoping you can give me some as well. I have a home in Brigantine, NJ. We lost all of the plants, shrubs and a beautiful ornamental 10' high evergreen(not sure what it is). I am trying to decide what type of tree I should plant to replace the 10 footer with. The bed itself is approx. 18' x 15'; the plantings only took up about 18' along the fence, and came out 3-4' on the ends, with the 10 footer coming out about 6-7' in the middle.
My goals are to bring color into the yard with low maintenance and not alot of structure to the plantings. I have defided to use knockout roses throughout the yard and will be using ornamental grasses as well. Can u give me advice on colors as well.

Feeling lost in New Jersey,

themanfromearth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
themanfromearth said...

Hello Jersey Girl,
It looks like you are in zone 6. That gives you a lot of plants to consider to replace your evergreen with. Not seeing your space, I'd take my recommendations with some reservation. It does, however, sound like that space might fit an upright Japanese maple quite nicely. Seiryu is a variety I like very much and is widely sold at reputable nurseries. Another small tree that would be a nice addition is Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus). This may be a little tougher to find, but I think you might like it. Both of these trees are deciduous, so be sure to consider that. As far as evergreens, are concerned, I do like the fern-leaf cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Filicoides'). Those would be some things I'd consider, and none of these are very structural. As far as color goes, I'd definitely take into consideration the color of the Knock Outs you intend to use. It sounds like they will play a prominent roll in your yard, and since they bloom for so long, you'll want other things to fit in or make a nice contrast. Again, it's pretty subjective...for instance, I don't care for the mix of yellow and pink. Lot's of things also go into a color mix, for me. Is this a front yard or a more private back yard, where you can take more liberties with your landscape? Can I go with a warmer color scheme in the Spring and then some cool colors in the Summer? Can I use foliage to add an element of color to my landscape? This is just touching the tip of the iceberg, but they are things you consider when planning your landscape. One good thing, though, is that the bed you described isn't terribly large. I wouldn't try to do too much in that bed. Sometimes simple is a good thing. Good luck and let me know if I can help in any other way.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have 9 crapes, not sure what kind, multi trunk, at least 20', and bloom magenta. They are very close to the fence, abt 2 ft, and abt 4 to 6 ft apart. I would like to plant some english ivy along the fence for privacy from the rowdy neighbors, but im concerned the ivy might harm the trees. Any thoughts on the best way to go about this? Clueless in Alabama

Nedlnut said...

Thanks for the no-nos. We have taken out several maple trees & roots. Will a crape myrtle grow in the same area where we took out the maple?

Thanks for any info. I'm very new at this.

themanfromearth said...

Hello, my Alabama neighbor! I think ivy should grow under those crape myrtles and up the fence, providing your screening. You'll just need to check once a year or so and keep the ivy from growing up into the crape myrtles. I'd dig a few "test holes" to see just how difficult it is going to be to plant your ivy. You'll need to decide whether to plant cups of ivy or one gallon plants. Be patient,,the old saying is that in the first year ivy sleeps, and in the second year, it creeps,,,and in the third year, it leaps. You may not be able to find it, but I have a type of ivy growing in my landscape called "Colchica". Its a large leaf variety that is very hardy and vigorous.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Nedlnut,
I don't see why crape myrtles wouldn't grow in the same spot,,,except for one thing. Did you have the stumps ground out? If so, I would remove as much of the ground up roots as possible. It often comes as a surprise just how much of that stuff can be left behind and since it is not a desirable media for plants to grow in it needs to be removed. Sometimes you'll hear some folks call the ground up stumps or the wood chips that are created when tree companies shred their trees "green manure". When you add this to the soil or as a mulch, you get a certain amount of decomposition, which uses up nitrogen that would have otherwise been utilized by your plant(s).

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all your help, ill let you know how it goes -clueless in alabama

Lauren Connell said...

I have a crape mertyle that is about 10'-12' and blooms pink. I also have 2 more, same hight one white and one purple. The white and purple one are blooming wonderful, but the pink one the leaves arent as bushy as the other 2 and no blooming of the flowers. What should I do if you know what Im talking about lol. Im allll new to this. Also Im in Houston TX!!!

themanfromearth said...

Hi Lauren,
I was born in Houston!!!
Anyway, it seems very likely that your pink crape myrtle is a variety that blooms later in the summer. There are easily hundreds of crape myrtle varieties and some bloom in June, while others can begin blooming as late at late July/early August in the Houston area. Another possibility, though, is that the pink bloomer was pruned, which might have delayed the flowering process. For now,I'd sit back and wait for your tree to start a new set of leaves (these ofter have a bronze or reddish tint to them) which will be followed by the flower buds/blossoms. It shouldn't be long. I hope this helps. Go Texans!

Tony said...

Planting a group of five Tuscororas on a large bed on a side of a hill. Might it be appropriate to stagger them ie 3 on first level and two on second level about 15 feet apart with two levels of companion plants lower on the hill?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Tony,
That sounds about right to me. 15' spacing should work fine, keeping in mind that in time (and if you don't intend on topping, which I don't recommend) you'll have the canopies of these trees touching. You'll eventually have some pretty good shade on that hillside. Not a bad thing, especially if weeding is a potential issue. Depending on how closely the lower set of Tuscarora's are distanced from your companion plants, you may want to consider how much sun exposure you'll be getting down the road. For instance, if your new trees are located 5' from where your companion plants will be, you might re-think planting something that likes full sun, like Knock Out Rose. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Just bought 2 Natchez CMs for our back yard. The idea is to add privacy on top of the 6ft privacy fence seperating our 2 properties. How far away from the fence can/should we plant them? If we plant too close, could they damage the fence? The idea is to get the trunks as tall as the privacy fence with the branches going over them. We live in Central Mississippi, so they're advertised as capable of growing to 21x21. And lastly, after reading your comments, I'm thinking about planting them 15 ft apart to give them plenty of room. How long do you think it will take for the branches to begin to touch?

Thank you for your advice.

themanfromearth said...

hello Mississippi... my laptop screen just died on me so this post is done from my phone... please pardon any irregularities... how far you space your trees from your fence kind of depends on what form your multi trucks are on your crape myrtles. sometimes the multi trunks are spread out so you can tell that the canopy is going to have a widespread...... sometimes they are very narrow which makes the tree appear more upright... in the long run you know and that it is going to have a widespread though .... personally I'd feel comfortable planting those plants about five to six feet from the fence.... you can always trim back branches that are growing close to the fence... with a 15 foot spacing in assuming these plants are in the five to six foot range you can expect the branches to be touching probably within about three years.... remember to tease the roots plant shallow and give them plenty of water through the summer.... good luck

Carol said...

I have 2 crape myrtles planted against my house by the previous owner. They have large deep pink blooms, are as tall as the 2nd story roofline and the base of the trunk is 26 inches around. There is 11 inches of space between the foundation and the trunk. The tree bends outward and is not in danger of scraping paint or trim as the guttering keeps it pushed away. There appears to be no signs of foundation damage but there is also a gas meter on that wall approximately 2 feet from the crape myrtle. I hate to remove them as they are both very healthy but am worried that if I don't have it now I will eventually have foundation damage and/or a broken gas main. Should I remove them just to be on the safe side. I know they transplant easily and would move them farther out from the house but think they're probably too old to transplant well so probably should just remove.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Carol,
It's too bad those large growing crape myrtles were planted so close to your home and also your gas meter. I'd be worried about it. I've seen the roots of a two story crape myrtle dug up and while they aren't as imposing as some other trees at that size, it would still give me cause for concern. Me? I'd probably not like how they look and out of caution, I'd probably remove them. But that's just my personal opinion. At that size, I'm guessing these plants have more growing to do so their likely to become less manageable with age, anyway. I would recommend, if you are going to dig them up, to expose and trace the gas line so you'll know where you can and can't dig. This is just one man's opinion. Please feel free to get back in touch if you have a follow up. Thanks and good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

We live in the Houston area and are putting in an in-ground pool. I've got several questions. One of our 6' multi-trunk dark pink (I think Nachez) crepe myrtles in the back yard was moved by the pool builder, and another one will also need to be moved in the coming weeks to accomodate the decking around the pool. How far minimum should they be transplanted away from the pool? Also, the one that was already temporarily moved has completely wilted. I was not home when it was moved so don't know what size root ball they moved. It is July and extremely hot and dry this year. I have been watering at the base of the wilted tree several times a day. What else can I do for this wounded CM? Is it better to gently prune it back (I'm not talking murder) or just leave the wilted leaves in place? When we do the final move on both of the CM's in a few weeks, how do we minimize damage? Thanks for any information you can give!

themanfromearth said...

Hello Houston,
The variety you have is not Nachez (white)...possibly Tuscarora. Anyway, moving a 6' tall, multi-trunk crape myrtle in July requires some extra attention. One, the rootball needs to be solid and probably around 18"-24" wide and deep. If these plants have been in the ground for more than a year prior to transplanting, the likelihood of surviving the move diminishes somewhat. One precaution to take when transplanting is to prune so that you are removing as much as 90% of the foliage. Yes, this might amount to "crape murder", but under these circumstances, I think it is warranted. You should scratch the wood on your wilting tree, starting up high on the plant, to see if there is green under the bark, then pruned back into the green wood. I'd probably water this plant every other day until you see new growth, assuming the area it is planted in has adequate drainage. How far from the pool to plant really would depend on the variety of the crape myrtle. Tuscarora crape myrtles can have a spread of nearly 20', while there are other dark pink varieties that would have lesser spreads. Also, the little seed pods on crape myrtles will fall off the plant and onto your deck and into your pool. Crape myrtle is a plant I don't recommend for poolside plantings. That being said, and if you aren't sure about the variety, I'd plant these guys at least 15' from the pool (because of the pods) and if you are concerned with the pods on the pool deck, I'd consider planting that far it, as well. You could probably get away with 7'-10' from the pool if the roots are your only worry, but I would get a second opinion on that (perhaps from your county extension agent)Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I have a Hopi Crepe Myrtle tree that is approximately 12 years old. I trim off the new branches each year. I was considering letting the top grow and just keeping it trimmed around the bottom. Do you think that would be advisable? I have beautiful blooms every year and wonder if I do this how it would effect the flowers and form.

themanfromearth said...

Hi. Hopi crape myrtle is considered a compact, semi-dwarf plant, so I'm not sure you've gained much by topping it each year. Not topping this tree next Spring shouldn't have much effect on its form, other than it might grow a little taller than your used to. Pruning or not pruning crape myrtles will not improve the size or numbers of Summer blooms you will get, in my opinion. Hopi crape myrtles have especially nice trunks, so limbing up is a great way to showcase that ornamental characteristic.

birdbrainideas said...

Your site is so helpful. We moved from Il. to Al. a few years ago. I decided I wanted Crape Myrtle. It started last summer around July forth. Not a good time to plant anything when it is 90 degrees plus for weeks. Thanks to your site, I was able to keep them alive through the hot summer and they have thrived. After planting 11 last summer and five this spring, my husband has refused to dig another hole. Thank you so much on all of your information and care and species.

birdbrainideas said...

First time posting as you can see. I am not deleting another post to correct "about care and species". lol Thank You

themanfromearth said...

Well, thank you BBI. You've made my day! :-)

Texas girl said...

I am planning on planting 2 or 3 Natchez CM's on the extremely sunny side of our house for some shade. I plan to plant about 15-20 ft from the house. I am in south Texas. Do you reccomend waiting till October or so to plant? Also, are all Natchez the same?? Height and width??

themanfromearth said...

Hi Texas Girl,
All things being equal, I'd wait until October. You can plant, now, but you'll need to be very faithful with watering and you still may have some leaf drop from transplant shock. I'd wait if I could. All Natchez are supposed to be the same. In other words, way back when when the Natchez was developed, all the plants tagged as such should have eventually originated from on single Natchez crape myrtle. My experience with Natchez is that they are true to the original. Now, the way the grower trains the plant can impact it's spread, especially. Some growers train single trunks. Others train multi-trunks, but with little spread. And, more than not, you see Natchez with 3 to 6 multi-trunks with a more traditional spread. In the short term (the first 5 years or so), the first two examples would result in a tree with a little less spread.
I like the spacing you are using. You are planting a fast growing, easy to care for crape myrtle, that should do great for you. Good luck.

Terri said...

Hey there!

My house is like a fish bowl. I have my neighbors who look down on us. I want to plant some Myrtle's that grow tall and wide for privacy. Would love red and white ones. Can you recommend what kind and how far to plant them from each other please? I live in the inland part of San Diego County. Thank you!

themanfromearth said...

Hi Terri,
The White crape myrtle to chose is Natchez. It is super fast growing and should do awesome for you. I'd consider Dynamite or Arapaho for a large growing red.

Anonymous said...

Hi
I have a tonto crape that I just noticed that two of her branches are laying on each other making a bad place on each limb what sure I do ? the tree does not how hardly any blooms this year. my other crape has lots of blooms.
Thanks Tonya

Kim said...

Hi!

I planted a pink velour crape last fall and it is doing fabulously-about 5 feet tall and just got its first blooms this week. We live in NYC so there are buildings and other trees around, but it gets full sun all morning and most of the afternoon. The only problem now is that it is growing a bit too much toward the sun and has some leaning. Is it okay to stake it and train it to grow straighter? Right now I have one of those flexible green stakes and some green tape to straighten it some, but want to make sure this is okay to do. It is also becoming a very strong tree, so this is almost not enough to keep it straight. Any suggestions? Or do I just leave it be?

LS said...

Hi - I ordered a Tonto Crepe Myrtle to replace a tree that fell with our last storm. I wanted to replace the old tree (large tree) with a small tree near the house, hence I choose the Tonto. However, when we went to remove the old root ball, we found the old tree was planted near our gas and electric lines coming into our house. Is it ok to plant the tonto in its place need these lines?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Anonymous,
Your crossing branches should be taken care of with some pruning. I usually find the one branch that is going in the wrong direction and prune it back flush to another branch. As far as your Tonto not blooming well...there are a number of reasons to account for that. It could be that it will still bloom. Some varieties of crape myrtle bloom later than others. Other factors could be lack of sunlight, untimely pruning, insect damage or disease, or even the use of fertilizer that doesn't help to promote flowering. If your Tonto is in good sunlight and you generally are not pruning on it, I would think you'd have great blooms. Feel free to get back to me if you have more info. Thanks!

themanfromearth said...

Hi Kim,
At 5 feet tall, you should be able to pull the tree back so that at least the main trunks appear straight. You might consider purchasing a piece or two of 1/2" x 4' or 5' rebar from your hardware store and drive it into the ground, then using wire or rope to pull the crape myrtle back. Just be careful not to allow the wire or rope to dig into the bark. Some folks use old water hose for this purpose. An alternative would be to wait until the leaves are falling off the plant this fall and replant it so that the main trunks are straight up and down. I would do it if it were me, but realizing that the top of your plant will continue to lean toward light. Still, I'd prefer the bottom half of the tree be straight. Good luck!!

themanfromearth said...

Hi LS,
I might be concerned if the plant was within a couple or three feet of the gas lines. The roots could pull up on a gas line and kink it or pull it from a meter. Tonto is a semi-dwarf crape myrtle, so you have that in your favor. Those roots aren't as imposing as say, a Natchez crape myrtle. The more distance you can provide, the better you'll be. If it were me, I think four or five feet wouldn't worry me too much, personally. Of course, this is your home and your gas line, so I'm not offering advice or telling you what is actually safe. I'm less concerned with the electrical line, especially if you are talking about the main service line going to your home. In general, though, you never know...weird things can happen. Please be safe...call line location!!! Happy planting!
Good luck :-)

Scott said...

Would like to grow a fast growing red or pink "upright" crape myrtle..Would like it to grow in a tree shaped form. Will be about 20 to 25 ft away from house in front. The taller the better! Any suggestions thanks, Scott

Kim said...

Hi again,

Thanks for the advice about my leaning Pink Velour. It's now blooming and beautiful ~ BUT I have noticed that there is some new powdery mildew on some of the buds that haven't opened and also on the leaves! I thought Pink Velours were resistant to mildew. Could it be that I have been overwatering? I have been watering every couple days as it was newly planting last October and thought this was the right thing to do. Will my beautiful tree be okay? I read about neem oil, that spraying it will kill it. Your thoughts kind sir?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Scott,
You should try Tuscarora, Centennial Spirit, Red Rocket, or Dynamite. These are fast growers that can be limbed up to look like a tree or even possibly found as a single trunk specimen. Nice colors, too. Good luck!

themanfromearth said...

Hey Kim,
Pink Velour is considered resistant to mildew, but they can still get it if conditions are favorable. A few things can help you with this. When you water, don't get water on the leaves, just down on the roots. You can also thin out some of the branches. You do this by taking some of the inner branches and cutting them flush with an intersecting larger branch. This will thin the plant out, allowing more light and better air circulation. Pruning in the middle of a stem would promote new growth, which would be counter-productive so you need to cut flush with an intersecting branch. You can spray, but I don't think neem oil is the way to go. Look for a fungicide that combats mildew and be sure it says it is safe to spray on crape myrtle. Kim, I would think you don't have to water every day....maybe every third day or so. It is doubtful that watering every day is causing the mildew, unless of course you are spraying the leaves. Finally, lots of rain can surely encourage mildew...it could be as simple as that. Good luck!!

T Jordan said...

Hello Scott,

I live in North Texas just west of Ft. Worth.

I planted a couple of Cawtawba Crape Myrtles about 2 years ago, and they haven't grown an inch! They are covered in leaves of course, and have beautiful purple flowers, but they just won't get any bigger.

Any recommendations on how to make them grow?

Thanks,

Terry Jordan

Anonymous said...

Hello: I purchased a Natchez crape myrtle from an on line nursery a few months ago. When I rec'd it my landscaper and I thought it was dead.
It looked like a broomstick (one 2 inch trunk with 2 others cut off at the base),no branches and they cut the top off on the diagonal. Needless to say I purchased another one and planted it thinking the original was a goner.
However, my landscaper scraped the bark of the one 6' tall trunk and it was green so he planted it in the ground to see what happened.
Much to our surprise, it has sprung branches from the top and the 2/3 of the trunk. It had also sprouted a few new branches at the base which I snipped. My questions are: I am now not sure what to expect from this tree. Since the top was cut off and it only has one trunk, will it grow normally and reach its normal height of 25 or so feet? New shoots (branches) are growing from the top (from the sides of where it was cut). Should I allow a few shoots to continue to grow from the base of the tree so it will eventually have 3 trunks? Will it look like a mushroom top if I don't allow a few shoots to keep growing from the base? Will this tree now be susceptible to disease? I have no idea why a nursery would "murder" this beautiful specimen but I am left to try and rehabilitate it back to normal now. Help! Any advice will be appreciated. I have other crape myrtles but never saw anything like this done to these beautiful specimens.
Thank you so much for any advice/facts you can supply.

Arlington, VA said...

Very helpful advice -- I've enjoyed reading your blog. I'm a relatively new homeowner, and trying to figure out how to improve my landscaping. We've had issues with lace beetles in cotoneaster shrubs, and are looking for some new crape myrtles to replace them. The planting area is a raised garden bed (sort of a small hill). We have neighbors above us, so we would like some privacy. However, the width of the "hill" is only 6-8 feet, and our house is another 10 feet away. We're in Zone 7. I am looking at Tonto, Sioux, Dynamite, Arapaho, and Apalachee. I prefer a "tree" look rather than dense shrubs, so I was leaning towards to Sioux or Apalachee. Love the colors of Dynamite, but I think it might grow too large for our space. I don't hear must about the Apalachee, so I'm leaning toward Sioux. Any advice?

themanfromearth said...

Terry Jordan
Hi Terry and thank you for visiting my blog. I would try applying some liquid root stimulator to your crape myrtles this Fall (the big boxes and most full service nurseries would have this). There are lots of reasons for the roots of plants not to do well. It could be improper planting depth or that the plants were root bound or that the plants simply are suffering from transplant shock. The root stimulator may encourage a more vigorous root growth, which may very well translate to better and faster growth of your plant. Also, I would fertilize using a full spectrum tree and shrub fertilizer in early Spring (March/April), before your plants leaf out. This fertilizer would have some slow release nitrogen as part of the analysis, as well as some micro-nutrients such as iron, magnesium, boron, etc. A full service nursery is more likely to carry such a fertilizer. Other reasons for your crape myrtles not to grow well would be lack of adequate sunlight, poor soil conditions, underwatering, etc. Finally, sometimes crape myrtles can fool you. You think they are not growing, but they are. I'd put a tape measure on them this Summer and then check them again next Summer. Typically, you'll get the bulk of your growth with the first flush of growth in mid-Spring. Hey, I hope the best for you and your crape myrtles!
Rob

themanfromearth said...

Hello anonymous,
Many deciduous plants from online sources spend time in cold storage. The plants are essentially dormant when they get to your home, even if it isn't the dormant season where you live. This isn't the only way these nurseries send plants, but it sounds like it might have been for your particular situation. As long as the plant develops a healthy root system, it should grow as large as any Natchez crape myrtle would. Some folks like their crape myrtles to have one main trunk and then a nice canopy of foliage for the upper part of the plant (I guess I'm describing a typical tree shape). It is sounding like you may have several feet of straight trunk, so you could let it be a single trunk specimen tree, even if the main straight trunk is only a few feet tall. I do think, for a Natchez, it would be nice if you have at least 5 or 6 feet of straight trunk before it started branching off and having leaves. Natchez crape myrtles should be limbed up so the lower, exfoliating trunk is exposed. On the other extreme, if you want a multi-trunk specimen, you could cut the plant back to about six to ten inches and let it sprout out multiple branches. This would be done in late Winter. Then you would select 3 to 5 of those branches based on spacing and direction of growth and cut away the rest. Either way, you should eventually get a nice 25'+ ...Good luck

themanfromearth said...

Hello Arlington! Thanks for the kind words.
I like all of the crape myrtles you have listed. Each have characteristics that make them great choices for landscaping. All the plants you've listed are more-or-less upright varieties, but given the limited space you have, I think I would give more consideration to Tonto. It may be the variety that would be least likely to outgrow your space. Shop around and try to get a nice size plant, if you can. I recently planted some Tonto crape myrtles that were in 7 gallon containers and they were already 6'+ tall and well branched. You may find a wide variety of opinions on how large different varieties of crape myrtle grow to. I can tell you that while varieties like Sioux and Dynamite don't grow as large as a Natchez or Muskogee, they quickly can get to a size that seems to defy the description of them being semi-dwarf. I do like both of those varieties, as well as the others you've listed, though. I hope this helps. rob

Arlington, VA said...

Thank you so much! I was a little worried that the trees might grow too high. I've seen such a wide variety of photos. Some look reasonably compact, while others are massive. Do you think that the Apalachee would be a good choice? I do like the Tonto, but I still prefer a tree-like form.

Thank you again for all of your advice!

themanfromearth said...

I don't have any experience with Apalachee. From what I read, I believe it may grow a little larger than Tonto. Any of the varieties you've listed are easily "tree formed". You simply need to limb them up while not necessarily cutting the tops at all. Some of the varieties you've listed (Apalachee and Arapaho, especially) can be difficult to find in my area. If you can find them and you especially like them, I wouldn't discourage you from giving them a try. I have an Arapaho in my yard and like it very much. Good luck to you!!!

Anonymous said...

Hello again: I'm "anonymous" who you responded to on Sept 8 at 11:40PM. I have the Natchez crape myrtle from the on line nursery which looked dead when I rec'd it. Thank you so much for responding and answering my questions. I'm so happy that this tree should survive and grow to its natural, mature height.
The "tree" is now approx 5 feet tall.
After reading your response assuring me that it should grow to its normal maturity height of 20-30 feet despite the top being cut off, I plan on leaving it a single trunk tree. I live on Long Island in NY. It will need to be transplanted and I will need to limb up a few new branches that have sprouted from about 2 feet off the ground. It's been in the ground at my home since June but it will need to be moved because we just stuck it in a tight spot thinking it was probably dead. Should we transplant it this fall (October) and trim the new limbs in late winter 2014 when I fertilize? Also, will this tree now be susceptible to disease and/or aphids. If so, any suggestions for how to deal with these possible issues or preventative measures?
Thank you again so much for your time and expertise. Long Island,NY

themanfromearth said...

Hi again, Long Island.
I would do the transplanting and pruning when your crape myrtle is dormant (no leaves on the plant and cool temperatures). Maybe wait until Nov/Dec for that. I don't think your plant will be more susceptible to insect or disease because of the way it was handled by the grower. There is a greater likelihood for a plant to develop problems if they are under stress, though. It is important that you do all you can to help in this regard (get a nice rootball when moving your plant, try not to plant deeply-a slightly shallow planting is best, plant in proper sunlight and follow a good watering schedule, etc.). Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have a 3 year old Natchez that is about 10-12 feet tall and doing quite well. However, it's as wide as it is tall (fan shaped), and this summer the heavy blooms on the outer and lower branches sagged with the weight so much that they nearly touched the ground. How do I prune it to get it to grow more upright, or will this happen naturally as it matures?

themanfromearth said...

Hello "sagging branches"!
You can correct this problem, but it may be a little difficult to explain in this non-visual way. I'll give it a go. First of all, do your best to not make any cuts in the middle of a stem or branch. This kind of pruning will result in "witches brooms". Witches brooms are clusters of new growth that emerge from pruning. It is my opinion that that isn't a good look for a large growing crape myrtle. We must allow our crape myrtles to flow!!! :-) Anyway, your approach should be to prune off stems or branches that seem most likely to be creating downward pressure on your plants. These will especially be branches that "Y" off a larger branch but are growing toward the ground. You can trace those branches back to an intersecting branch, making your cut so that there is no "stub" left when you are done. Using this approach should help you regain the more upright form you desire. Gosh, I hope this helped. Let me know and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi again: I've written twice about my on line purchase of a Natchez Crape Myrtle. I'm from LI/New York.
Thank you for your advice. Since I last wrote I had a wind storm which cracked the main trunk of one of my gorgeous Tonto Crape Myrtles. It is a bad crack and seems to go all the way down to the ground. My landscaper tied it up for me but there is still about 1/2 inch of space between the two pieces/sides. It's been a few days since it happened and, so far, the leaves are not falling off. Can it survive such a bad crack? There are a few other smaller "trunks" but I don't want to cut the main trunk if you think it can survive (winter coming also). It's on one side of my driveway on my front lawn and there is another on the other side which was planted at the same time and is the same size. If we cut this cracked trunk off it will be cutting off half of the tree and will look terribly unbalanced. Do you think this trunk can survive or does it need to be cut down to the base to preserve the rest of the tree? If I can leave it, should I spray that black sealer stuff where it's cracked? Any advice is appreciated.
Thank you. Donna

themanfromearth said...

Hello Donna in New York,
The crack you've described will likely compromise the tree's well being in the long run. You could cut the branch back to the ground and then dig up and re-orientate the plant so that it isn't off balance. This all depends on how large your Tonto is, though. The task will be easier the smaller the tree is (branches under 1" in circumference?...that should not be too challenging a move). PS...I don't advocate the use of sealing paint. Mostly, it is important to make clean cuts with the proper tool.

Rahaidi said...

Great site for this wonderful tree. I'm from Perth Western Australia and last season we decided to plant the Tuscarora crape myrtle. In winter it shed its leaves and right now as the weather is heating up its still bare boned, no leaves ?

The woody parts are still green after surface scratching as a test. I wonder if its dying or still waiting for the onset of summer days in order to get the first leaf flush ? Nothing thus far for spring....

themanfromearth said...

Hi Rahaidi,
Crape myrtles are notorious for leafing out late in the Spring. I'd give the plant some more time. I suppose it is possible it sustained damage if you had a cold Winter. Still, be sure before you resort to cutting back the plant, which would be one way to encourage new growth from a plant that is weakened due to cold weather or some other ailment. Good luck! Let me know how it goes. :-)

Anonymous said...

I have a pergola that I want to add some shade to. Think of using 2 large Natchez crepe mrytles that I will purchase as ball and burlap trees from a local grower 10'to 12' tall. How close can I plant to each other and the pergola?
Back (yard) Pain

themanfromearth said...

Hi Anonymous,
Natchez crape myrtle grows fast and large (eventually reaching 30' tall and nearly as wide). When I plant one, I am doing so with the realization that I will not be topping it. My preference is to not destroy the beautiful form of the tree. With that mindset, my spacing would be no less than 10' to 12' apart. Even with that minimal spacing, you will likely have your trees growing together within 3 to 4 years. A spacing of 18' apart could have the branches of the two trees touching within 7 to 8 years. Planting two Natchez crape myrtles very closely together (for example 8' apart) would leave your plantings looking crowded or requiring the heavy pruning within just a few years, something that I try to avoid on crape myrtles. In the final analysis, my preferred spacing for two Natchez crape myrtles would probably be between 16' and 20', but as you can see, there is some wiggle room, and you certainly could entertain spacing of more than 20'. I hope this helps you out. Good luck!

Maggie J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maggie J said...

I want to plant a crepe myrtle at each of the two front corners of my home. While I really like the growth habit of Acoma, I would prefer that same growth habit with a more colorful bloom. Does such a crepe exist? And how far should I plant the Acoma (or maybe the one you can recommend) from the corners of my home? Maggie J

themanfromearth said...

Hi Maggie,
Acoma has a rather distinct growth habit, it being more of a spreading, almost weeping form. Many of the other semi-dwarf crape myrtle varieties are upright, but here are a few that are somewhat globose or rounded:
1. Hopi (pink)
2. Pecos (pink)
3. Tonto (red)
4. Zuni (purple)
Good luck...I hope you can find some of these varieties.

Anonymous said...

I bought a Natchez CM to plant and it has long branches that hang down about four feet. Should I just stake them or will they straighten up eventually?
Thanks. SW Louisiana.

themanfromearth said...

Hello Louisiana,
Selecting a plant that has the form you are looking for is an important part of the process of working on your landscape, especially when it comes to trees like crape myrtle. Natchez crape myrtles have a specific habit of growth. You'll often see them described as being rounded. I see mature Natchez crape myrtles that are 30' tall and just as wide and others that are 35' tall, but only 25' wide. So, will what a crape myrtle looks like at a young age influence what it will look like in 5 to 10 years? I think so. Growers influence the shape by how they prune or don't prune the plants in the field or in the container. There are single trunk trees that won't get as wide or multi-trunk trees where there are only a 3 or 4 main branches that are tied closely together to make the plant not spread as much. If you leave the branches as is, I suspect you'll have a plant that is wider and appears more arching. Should you decide to tie the branches so they are more upright, then as the plant gets older, the branches will more likely remain upright and your plant, at maturity, will reflect that as much as it can given some of the natural born growth habits that are characteristic of all Natchez crape myrtles. I wish you success with your plant!

Anonymous said...

Thank You, this is a very informative site. I've decided to plant a Natchez crape myrtle and plant it about 12-15' from the house. I want the tree to shade a deck with a southwestern exposure. I'll need the canopy to start at about 10' to clear the walking, seating area of the deck. You suggested purchasing a tree that was trained to be vertical…. How do you find that? If I order from a local nursery, I'm not sure what I'll get. I'm in Savannah, GA. Any suggestions?
Thanks again for the informative site.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Savannah,
I once had a dog named Savannah! So, I think your spacing from the house is appropriate. You shouldn't have to have a nursery order a Natchez unless it is going to be extremely large. I would think most nurseries would have those in various sizes and in good quantity. Look for a plant with 4 or 5 well proportioned main trunks and if you find a tree where those trunks are not spreading out a lot, then I think you've found your tree. It might be worth visiting more than one nursery to find that tree that best suits your needs. You can even hold those trunks together by gathering them in with some hose. Anyway, you are looking for trunks that are more vertical, if you can find that. You know, you can always do a little pruning on some of the side branches as the tree grows so people don't bump their heads, as well. When you do that pruning, try to cut those side branch back flush with the initial 4 or 5 main trunks. Check your tree every year or two for those kinds of branches and get them removed before they get too large to take off with a small pruning saw or loppers. Good luck with your Natchez!

Anonymous said...

Thanks again.
Savannah

Carmen said...

I will be planting the Natchez crepe myrtles this spring. Is it ok to plant 1 gallon plants or is that too small? I'm doing lots of work this spring and am trying to save money. How much do they grow in a year?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Carmen,
Absolutely you should feel comfortable planting a 1 gallon Natchez crape myrtle. 2014 prices should get you finding a 1 gallon Natchez in the 7 to 12 dollar price range. That plant would likely be in the 2'-3' height range. A three gallon plant would probably cost between 15 to 25 dollars and be around 4'-5' tall. A 7 gallon plant might cost around 40 to 50 dollars and be around 5.5'-7' tall. Your 1 gallon plant, if planted properly (not deep, tease the roots, full sunlight), will be larger than the 3 gallon plant after one year and larger than the 7 gallon plant after 2 years. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The time you have put into responding is amazing! Thank you for sharing your expertise! I want to plant a Natchez about 10.5 feet from the front of my single story home and about 4 feet in front of the middle of the walkway. With proper pruning, will I be able to maintain a clear pathway and avoid harmful and/or unsightly contact between the house and shrub?

Thanks!
Bryan in Oklahoma

themanfromearth said...

Hi Bryan,
Thanks for the kind words. The spacing you are describing sounds more suitable for a semi-dwarf crape myrtle rather than a tree type like Natchez. I think you can get away with that spacing, though, especially if you "limb up" your Natchez as it gets large. This will give you clearance for walking under the canopy that your tree will provide. It may take several years but eventually you will have to prune branches away from your home. I would advise you to start anticipating which branches are likely to grow toward your home, pruning those limbs early reducing the need for pruning down the road. One other thought...be sure a Natchez is the variety you want. There are lots and lots of crape myrtle varieties that grow to different sizes and shapes. Envision a 25' to 30' tall and wide tree and decide if that is going to look good with your home. Burgundy Cotton is a new variety that has white blooms and grows to about 12' tall with an upright habit. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I am looking for a dwarf or semi dwarf CM to plant in inside corner bed with a stairway on one side and a patio at the 2nd floor level on the other side (in other words the bed is at ground level and the house is up one flight. I am concerned about the spread. Other plantings are pink knock outs and yellow day lilys (I know not your favorite color combination)-these are not under so will not be shaded by the CM. It is a one story house so I was thinking 10 ft for height. Can you make any suggestions on CM that would be the right size and how much space to give for the spread so it will not be too crowded by the house?

TropicalnKC said...

What a wonderful site. I live in Kansas City and I am deciding to live vicariously this summer by planting some crape myrtles in my newly redesigned yard. My soil pH is 7.2 so I think it needs to be amended to make it more acidic. My thought is to plant two tree form Tonto's in my mixed bed along with the coral drift and peach drift roses, an ensene banana, and under plant the CM's and banana with sunpatiens. There is a large mix of Boxwoods, Blue arrow juniper, globe blue spruce and a couple of yews in this area along with a Brackens brown beauty magnolia. I am going for a somewhat tropical look for my Midwest garden and want to have some fun with it. I am thinking of planting the coral sunpatiens. Any thoughts on my endevour? I have never seen the Tontos in person so don't know if it would be a major clash of colors.

themanfromearth said...

Hi "don't want to be too crowded",
I just got back from being out of town landscaping on Lake Martin near Alexander City, AL. It's a beautiful lake and really so serene this time of year with very little boat activity on the water during the week. But! No internet, so I'm a bit late responding. Anyway, I get your kind of question quite a bit so I decided it would be a good idea to take a little time and come up with a list that would help people in deciding which crape myrtle best suits their needs. So, I went through the site, monrovia.com, and made a list that is easier to follow than if you were to visit the Monrovia site. Now, this is by no means all the crape myrtles that can be had, but I would certainly have to say not many other nurseries would offer as expansive a selection as Monrovia does. Just a caveat, though...my opinion is that some of the size ranges on the Monrovia site are a bit understated. They will occasionally qualify a height or width projection by saying something like, "will reach 10' in 10 years". I would add 25 to 50 percent to the projections on my list if you want to know the absolute eventual size of each crape myrtle. Also, in regards to habit of growth; you will notice their are not many crape myrtles listed as upright growers. I would afford some of the mid-range, semi-dwarf plants more discretion as they are easier to dictate habit of growth through pruning (but not crape murder!!!)...proper pruning, that is. I plan on posting the entire list over the weekend, but for now I'd would suggest you look at these plants at monrovia.com and see if they will work for your particular situation- Acoma, Cheyenne, Miami, Pecos, Pink Velour, Siren Red, Tonto, Velma's Royal Delight, White Chocolate, Zuni. Btw, many of these varieties may be hard to find. I would call several nurseries as you try to locate what you like. Lastly, Monrovia started a campaign, last year, to make it possible for customers to order specific plants from Monrovia through their local nursery. I'm checking into this and will offer up more details along with the list, in coming days. Good luck to you!

themanfromearth said...

Hello TropicalnKC,
I love it! Let your garden reflect your personality. You definitely have a lot going on and I feel as if the colors you are using reflect a tropical scheme. I really like how you're mixing flowering with conifers. There are some very interesting conifers that grow in all sorts of shapes and sizes, often with interesting colors, and it sounds like you've done a great job of selecting some special ones. Maybe you could dabble in some perennials to add in here and there. One fun one is Red Hot Poker. The Tonto blossom is described on monrovia.com as being fuschia red, while I would describe it as being more of a deep pink (plenty of pictures on the web). Good luck with your garden

Anonymous said...

Dear "ManoftheEarth",

I have a warm, nice, yellow home that looks best with deep burgundy, orange and fall tones near it. The house used to be white with lots of holly shrubs in front, but when we painted it the holly made the yellow take on an odd greenish tone. We yanked everything out and relandscaped the front yard.

Now we pulled down a large and messy birch which is on an island in front of the home and off to the side and we want to replace it with a large variety crape myrtle. We have two in mind, "Natchez" or "Basham Party Girl".

Question: As a designer would the Basham create a lipsticky effect against the yellow or do you think it is a soft enough blush pink to mix with the warm yellow and some of the more burgundy and orange plant tones we have?

I want a fast grower and a large variety. Natchez would be conservative, but I'm wanting to try the Basham.

Any good advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks in Advance!

themanfromearth said...

Hello yellow home,
Basham's Party Pink blossoms are not very bold but still could present a bit of a conflict with the yellow on your home. Most sites, including Michael Dirr (Manual of Woody Landscape Plants) describe the color as being a soft lavender/pink. I think Basham's is more pink than lavender, but the lavender is still present. I have a yellow home, as well, and I've found shades of softer lavenders not to work as well as other color choices with yellow, but that may just be me. Some of this is certainly subjective. The awesome exfoliating bark and fall color of the Natchez will offer some interesting contrasts with your home, as well, should you decide to go that way. Natchez is definitely superior to Basham's in that regard. Both trees are very large growers and whichever plant you go with will be a big factor in your landscape for years to come. I hope it goes will for you.

Anonymous said...

hi, I am currently taking a propagation class and I was wondering what your thoughts on grafting multiple shoots for the purpose of multiple colored bloomings. we are going to be doing a lab over grafting soon and I want to give it a try. Do you think the experiment would work or is it just a fantasy?

Thanks Michelle

themanfromearth said...

Hello "Michelle the Grafter",
There is a short article on crape myrtle grafting at http://www.ehow.com/how_8246124_graft-crepe-myrtle-tree.html
A couple of additional notes to add to the article: Crape myrtles are easy to root. You could simply stick three different rooted cuttings in a pot or the ground and achieve similar results, but I get that this is an experiment with grafting. I would add that with grafting, it is probably wise to use a root stock that will grow as large or slightly larger than the selections you are choosing to graft onto the root stock. This is an educated guess I'm offering up, but I admit I don't do a lot of propagating. Also, when selecting the crape myrtle varieties you are grafting, keep in mind how large each grows and try to imagine how that will look 5+ years down the road. Good luck with your project! Send me a picture in a few years, please. I'd love to see how it went. :-)

Anonymous said...

I read the article and spoke with my professor and we are trying two different species of crape myrtle. We are using Country Red and Natchez White with scions from Black diamond and maybe a few of the crapes in the greenhouse. We should see positive results in the next few weeks. I will send pictures of the process for you. thanks, Michelle

KP said...

Greetings to the man from earth!

We are new home owners in central Oklahoma. We are looking to place crape myrtles on the south side of our house. We live on a corner, and currently have two Bradford pear trees on the south side of the house, on the east end. There is 40 feet of space between the second Bradford pear tree and our 6 foot fence (south side of house on the west end).

We love white crape myrtles, as well as light lavender crape myrtles. We are definite fans of the lovely "Natchez." We'd like to place a row of "Natchez" between the Bradford pear and the fence.

First, do you think crape myrtles would do well on the south side in a row? If so, how many feet apart would you suggest planting them? Also, would "Natchez" have too large of a spread to place a row (3 or more)? Last, when would you suggest planting (I always thought fall, but see many people plant in spring)?

Thank you very much for your time. Your experience and knowledge are greatly appreciated! :)

-KP

themanfromearth said...

Hi KP,
You didn't mention how large the Bradford pears are. They get quite large, so that may be one of the biggest hindrances facing some of your proposed Natchez plantings. A spacing of 12' to 15' feet would, for me, a minimum in the situation you are describing. I suppose you could get three Natchez in that space, but remember that that last crape myrtle next to the pear should have extra spacing between it and the pear. Natchez are cold hardiness rated zones 6-9. You'll want to check a USDA cold hardiness map to see what your area is rated. One last thought...Acoma crape myrtle is a white variety that is considered semi-dwarf. You could plant five of those with 8 - 10 foot spacing. Zuni is a semi dwarf lavender and both of those are rated for zone 6. I'm a huge fan of fall planting, but I'm sure you'd do fine planting now as long as you don't let your new plants dry out this Summer. Here's my article on when to plant shrubs: http://themanfromearth.blogspot.com/2008/11/when-is-it-good-time-to-plant-shrubs.html
Thanks for stopping by and good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Hi GFE,
I have a red Dynamite crape myrtle in my front yard. I planted it 2 years ago, and it's doing well, in spite of coming from Lowe's. My question is this: why does my crape have only 1 trunk? I pictured a handful of stalks reaching out of the ground, -- but have just one lonely stalk; tree-like. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help.
Jenny

themanfromearth said...

Hello Jenny,
Single trunk crape myrtles are actually popular and growers will take specific measures to attain that look. Landscape designers will sometimes specify that a single trunk crape myrtle be used in their plans. So, embrace your single trunk! It was probably meant to be that way :).
There is always a possibility that a new shoot or shoots could form at the base of your Dynamite, and with that you might could have a multi-trunk in time, but if the single trunk is nice and straight then I'm not really sure that it would look good as a anything but a single trunk. I hope this helps. Thanks for visiting the site!

Cristina Galvez said...

Hello,

I recently moved into a house that was unoccupied for at least 2 years. I was told that the trees in front are Crepe Mertyls but they don't look anything like the various varieties I've googled. Is there a way I can send you a picture so you can help me identify them? I want to be able to prune them properly since they haven't been maintained for so long.

Thanks for your help!
Tina

Lauren Carey said...

I have a Tuscarora Crape Myrtle that was planted too close to the house to be able to grow and blossom (may also be due to the shading from the Bradford Pear trees in the same area), what is the best way to remove the tree without damaging it or the house, or the gas meter it is planted next to?

themanfromearth said...

Hi Lauren,
There are several ways to go about this. First of all, I would call your local "Line Location" company if you are going to do any digging. Digging might entail going about it the old fashion way with a shovel and pick. I find cutting the tree down to around 5' tall gives you a nice piece to pull and tug on while digging. You could also rent a mini-excavator and remove the tree with that. I specifically mention a mini-excavator because you can be careful with it and more selective about what your digging. I always think of other things I can use that machine for if I'm going to rent one (like digging some nice holes for trees or removing other unwanted shrubs or small trees). These rent for around 200.00 a day in my area. Finally, you can simply cut the crape myrtle down to the ground and then be relentless about spraying the new shoots that will emerge from time to time until they finally relent. Good luck to you!

themanfromearth said...

Hi Tina,
I'd be glad to look at a picture. It would help to see the plant in bloom to better narrow down what variety you have. I would probably be able to assist you in deciding where to prune, though, without necessarily knowing the variety. My email is harmonylandscapes@yahoo.com
Thanks!

John Mac said...

Hello MFE
I was looking for some advice from you on the right crape myrtle for my yard. i need a privacy screen against a 6'wooden fence that seperates my property from my neighbours who just added a second story. I would like to trim it to be more like a tree than a bush and i would like to plant it as close as possible to the fence because my yard narrow at that point. @15'to 20' mature would be perfect.
Thanks, John

John Mac said...

im in zone 7 on long island, NY
Thanks again, John

John Mac said...

im in zone 7 on long island, NY
Thanks again, John

themanfromearth said...

Hi John,
Some of the larger growing varieties (Natchez-white, Tuscarora-Coral Pink, Muskogee-lavender pink) might fit the bill, although mature height could get to 25'+. You might also look at Arapaho or Dynamite (both reds) for something that might (said with some apprehension) not grow quite as fast as Natchez, Tuscarora, etc. I'm afraid you will not get the coverage you want if you went with semi-dwarf varieties such as Acoma (white) or Tonto (red). By the way, all the varieties I've mentioned are rated zone 6-9. When selecting your plants look for branching that isn't fanning out too much for the first 5 feet or so. That should allow your plant's branches to clear the fence and then the canopy will spread with time giving you the screening you desire. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

HELP! NO LEAVES, BUT GREEN UNDER BARK...

Dear manfromearth,

We purchased a Natchez crape two months ago. We live in North Georgia and the timing should have been good, but the tree looks DEAD. I did the scratch test and under the bark it is green all the way up. We even cut back the tips until we hit the green. Now it sits in my front yard looking dead while all other flowers are going to town.
I need some help...is this dead? This is our first crape myrtle ever because we are northerners. I'm afraid my neighbors are getting nervous.

Any encouragement...I'll take. :o)

Natchez Blues

themanfromearth said...

Dear North Georgia Natchez Blues,
It is possible that your crape myrtle is suffering from cold damage or transplant shock (especially if the plant you purchased was ball and burlap)or several other possible ailments. You are on the right track pruning back to encourage new growth. It's tough to know how extensive the damage is or if your plant will finally leaf out. I don't know how far you have cut back, but I think I'd probably bite the bullet and cut off a third of the plant height. Once you've made a substantial cut like that, give your Natchez about 6 weeks to at least some sign of growth emerging. Finally, as a last resort you might even consider cutting the plant back to within inches of the ground to see if anything happens. I've seen people severely prune perfectly healthy crape myrtles and the resulting plant can eventually look very nice...so, this is a possible option. You might also consider drenching the soil with a liquid root stimulator. Your local nursery or even a big box store should have this. I hope that was encouraging. Now for the bad news....it doesn't sound good....but you should still give it the ol' college try. I would. Good luck!

victhpooh1 said...

Hi. I live on Long Island. My gardener planted a crepe myrtle last Fall. As of now, mid May, it has no leaves and looks naked. Is this normal? At what point should I have some leaves? Thanks in advance.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Long Island,
While crape myrtles are notorious for being late to arrive in the Spring, I would say it is really too late to not be leafing out at this point. It could be transplant shock or some other sort of damage that occurred during the dormant season that is causing this. My advice would be to cut the crape myrtle back into where the wood is green when you scratch it (I'd cut back at least several inches) to try and spur on some new growth. Give your crape myrtle a month or so to see if cutting back does indeed encourage some growth. If so, you may have saved your plant. Good luck!

Henry Kaspar said...

I planted three crape myrtles last year in May. None of the bloomed in the first year, I hope they just focused on building roots and/or came underfed from the nursery. They get 5-6 hours of full sun, some say it's not enough, others say its plenty.

My question is the following: the crape myrtles started forming leaves some 3 weeks ago and are by now well advanced - but on one plant, one trunk hasn't formed any leaves yet (although there is some leafing around the root). Another long branch has very few leaves.

I suspect this may relate to the heavy frost this winter (the non-flowering trunk seems to have bark split).

Should I just cut the non-flowering stuff off, or give the plant more time?

Many thanks in advance,
Henry Kaspar

Henry Kaspar said...

.... I shoudl add I live in Washington DC.

themanfromearth said...

Hello Henry,
Sounds like the cold damaged your crape myrtle. Washington DC is zone 6 so your are going to experience some problems with die back every now and then. I'm not familiar with the landscape scene in DC, but I'm going to say that it might not be a good idea to rely on crape myrtle as a specimen tree in your landscape. I've even heard of some folks simply cutting back their crape myrtles to the ground every year and treating them like they would a perennial. This is because the roots will typically survive enough to push out new growth from below even though some of the top branches have died back. So, yes, I would cut them back to where you have growth and cut the branches that are not showing signs of life to within a few inches of the ground. As always, be sure to research your crape myrtle purchases in regards to what hardiness zone they are rated. Good luck!

Henry Kaspar said...

Thank you, Rob. Much appreciated. Actually where we live is zone 7, and crape myrtles are grown succesfully all over DC and its suburbs. But this was an unusually severe winter, with temperatures repeatedly dropping to as low as 5F, and of course these are young and tender plants. I will do as you advise.

Anonymous said...

I live in the northwest corner of Arkansas. We planted a single trunk crepe myrtle last summer and all looked to be ok. This year it has no blooms or leaves , but it is sprouting growth at the ground. Do I have any other option other than cutting it down to the base and turning it into more of a crepe shrub? Thx. Laura

themanfromearth said...

Hi Laura,
I'm afraid there is not much else you can do, except that once you get some taller growth on your "new" crape myrtle, you can do some selective pruning to determine how many trunks you want and even, perhaps, develop a new single trunk plant. You didn't mention what variety of crape myrtle you have. Each variety has its own hardiness rating, mostly ranging from zones 6 thru 8. Northwest Arkansas seems to have a zone 6 rating so in the future, I'd look for crape myrtle varieties that are rated for zone 6. Your crape myrtle may well have been rated zone 6 and that is not always a full proof protection, but looking for hardiness ratings is always a good idea. Good luck to you!

Marcia said...

We purchased a home in central Florida in 2011 and the previous owner had planted a pink crape myrtle as part of a landscape upgrade. It is a single trunk with healthy foliage, a beautiful shape, and gets fertilized regularly through our automatic sprinkling system. But except for 2 random blooms last summer (which at least told us what color it was), it won't bloom. It gets full sun and is not crowded by any other plants or structures. Any ideas? I have enjoyed reading your blog and hope you have the perfect solution for us.

themanfromearth said...

Hello Marcia,
I'm not sure how much help I'll be here, but I will be happy to give my two cents.
A few things come to mind....did you prune your plant late in the Spring after growth had already emerged? I'm not a fan of topping crape myrtles, but if you did do it and you did it late, that could potentially delay or even diminish blooming.
You mentioned regular fertilizing. Sometimes plants that get too much nitrogen will not bloom well. A crape myrtle's nutrient needs are different than a lawn, for instance. You might be able to compensate by giving your crape myrtle supplemental fertilizer that has an analysis more likely to encourage blooming while trying to avoid high nitrogen fertilizer in the vicinity of your tree (this may mean creating a larger mulch ring around your crape myrtle). Check with your local nursery to see if they can recommend a granular fertilizer for flowering woody shrubs that will promote blooming.
Crape myrtle variety could also have something to do with your lack of flowering. It's possible you have an unnamed variety that simply doesn't bloom well.
Beyond that, there are some, in a desperate attempt to get blooms, that would root prune their plant to force blooming...plants in stress will bloom more readily; it's an internal instinct plants have that tells them they must reproduce to continue the species. I hope this might help. Let me know!

Celeste Project said...

We bought a house that came with several large established crepe myrtles. We are in a small town outside Greenville, Tx called Celeste. One of our favorites is a large white crepe myrtle that has a distinctive cinnamon note to its blooms. I was hoping you might know what kind it is.

themanfromearth said...

Hello Celeste Texas,
It would help to have a little more information. How tall is this mature plant? Does it appear to have been pruned? What appearance do the trunks have....exfoliating? gray trunks or more brown? Natchez and Acoma are the most common white crape myrtles planted and there could be some that would say those blooms appear to have a tinge of cinnamon in them, but that may simply be the flowers fading and taking on that characteristic. There are other white crape myrtles such as Byer's White and White Chocolate...really, many more. White Chocolate could fit your description, but it is considered a semi-dwarf crape myrtle, which is why I ask what size it is. Interestingly, I was visiting a friend for whom I planted an Acoma crape myrtle about 25 years ago. Many sources will state that Acoma grows to around 12' tall. Well, this Acoma is easily 20' tall,,,probably closer to 25'. Check out White Chocolate on the web. It could be your plant. I'll be glad to look into it further...just let me know. Thanks for visiting!

Toni said...

Greetings!
We just installed 3 Muskogee Crepe Myrtles in our backyard (about 4-5 ft from the inside of a 6ft fence). We did a lot of research and I always referred back to your blog for info, so thank you for providing so much detailed info- it helped me a lot!
Now, here is my dilemma... these crepes are about 10ft high. They were planted on a slight slant but the man who planted them said that didn't matter because the holes would be dug so that they would still be upright... Well, they are now leaning. I am wondering if it is safe to stake them in an upright direction. If so, how do I go about it and what kind of 'string' do I use? I ask because I have never seen Crepe Myrtles staked but I am worried they will continue to grow in the leaning position distributing it's mature weight all to one side (or towards the fence!) Any help you could give me would be much appreciated :)
Oh, if it helps, these three trees were transplanted from a tree farm to our house at this height last week :)
Toni
Apex, NC

Toni said...

One more note... If I do stake them, should I concerned if the branches toward the bulk of the tree are rubbing? The man who installed them cut one branch off because it was naturally rubbing another. Just wondering...
Toni
Apex, NC

themanfromearth said...

Hello Toni in Apex,
Thanks for visiting!
You say the crape myrtles "are now leaning". That sounds like the dirt in the hole has settled some and caused the trees to shift so much so that they are leaning. I'm assuming these plants were delivered to your home balled in burlap. At that size, the burlap may have been wrapped in a wire cage, as well. I'm mentioning this because it sounds like the plants need to be pushed back into the correct position. You want to be careful, though, about just pushing the plants back into place. It's something I've done if I felt like I wasn't compromising the integrity of the root ball. Some landscapers will cut the rope that was used to wrap the root ball and actually pull the burlap down below the soil level so it doesn't act as a wick. Pulling on the trees could damage them, in particular, if this is the case. The trees are more likely to endure the tugging if the burlap root balls were also placed in a wire cage. Another technique for uprighting your trees would be to dig out from behind the root balls so you can more easily push then into a upright position without forcing them against the resistance a backfill provides. You can then tie the trees once they are in the correct position unsing stakes, nylon rope and trunk protectors (or cut up water hose).
Rubbing branches are best avoided, but it is sometimes hard if the branches in question are main ones. You may be able to create a little separation between limbs or trunks by strategically positioning your staking ropes or staking wires. You may want to use more than three stakes since it sounds like these are multi-trunk crape myrtles. I'd consider using as many as 5 per tree and no less than 3.
I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to follow up. Good luck!

Toni said...

Hi again!
Thank you so much for the response. I don't know if this changes anything and I should have stated it earlier- the plants were delivered to us in 25gallon containers. They were taken out of the container, placed in the hole and filled back up with soil w/ fertilizer and original soil mixture.

Toni
Apex, NC

themanfromearth said...

Hi Toni,
This is actually good news. It means you can put a little more pressure on the plants to return them to their original upright position without damaging the rootball. I'd do this before new roots start growing into the surrounding backfill. And, of course, staking the trees should give you real peace of mind.

Toni said...

Toni here.... again! Thanks for your suggestion. I followed your suggestions and we staked them upright. Hopefully this will be successful in keeping them straight :)
So... I do have another question. We loved our Muskogee crepes so much and needed a smaller version for the opposite side of the fence, we bought 3 Yumas. After we planted it seems they are only getting about 5-6 hours of sun a day. Is this okay or should I relocate them for full sun exposure?
We also bought a single stem Lipan. Thinking about planting it close to the house but unsure of how big it will get. Are you familiar with these?
I know what you're thinking, "What's with all the purple?" (I would go crazy seeing mixed colors every day!)
Thanks for your help!
Toni
Apex, NC

Anonymous said...

Great website. I hope you can help us. We moved into a new house (new build) this past march. In the front of our house we have 3 Natchez Crape Myrtles at each end of the house.

In March the trees had small buds that quickly went away. Now it's August and the trees have gotten a little taller but are a brown color on the leaves, looks very skimpy (almost dead looking due to some limbs without leaves and haven't seen a single flower this year. Are these dead? Not getting enough water? They look pitiful. Wondering if we did something wrong.

themanfromearth said...

Hi Toni,
Both the Yuma and Lipan are considered semi-dwarf. I've planted both and would say don't be surprised if you got 15' of height out of either one. Lipan is considered an upright so it would be a good choice for planting closer to your home but it may require some limb removal over time to keep it from scraping against the structure.
5 to 6 hours is a little less than a half day. That is probably about the bare minimum for a crape myrtle to do reasonably well. You may want to consider relocating them, especially if the shade is going to get worse as surrounding trees grow. Crape myrtles growing in too little sunlight tend to lean toward the sun and the often have many fewer blooms. Good luck to you!

themanfromearth said...

Hi Anonymous,
Gosh, your situation could be dry weather but it could be so many other things, as well. For instance, your plants could be showing signs of cold damage from the previous Winter. Or, it is possible they are experiencing transplant shock. I would scratch the bark toward the ends of the branches to see if the underlying tissue is green. If so, that is encouraging and you may want to treat your plants with liquid root stimulator this fall (the big boxes and local nurseries should have this). You might also consider fertilizing your plants with a good slow release fertilizer that has some of the micro nutrients in it (like Manganese, Magnesium, Boron, Iron, etc.) as well as N, K, and Ph. You can do that now, and be sure to water thoroughly afterward.
One other thing would be to thin out some of the smaller inner branches (we aren't talking about tipping or topping) so that the trees can devote its resources toward a lesser number of leaves. Good luck to you!