Should You Get A Crape Myrtle Tree?

Crape Myrtles are one of the most popular trees because they are absolutely beautiful. They can also be quite popular because they grow quite quickly and they provide a bit of shade and color during all the seasons. The larger varieties, in particular, grow quite quickly, which is important for those who are planting trees to raise the value of their home. In general, Crape Myrtles are resilient and can withstand quite a bit of stress (either in the form of dehydration, children, and pests). More cold weather varieties becoming available, making them adaptable to more locations. If you are considering adding a Crape Myrtle to your property, here are a few different things to consider:

Choosing The Right Location

Credit: JE Theriot
  • Part of it is luck
  • Better in hardy zones 7-10
  • Plant in favorable conditions for best results

If you are looking to plant a Crape Myrtle, you have to know one thing: they love the sun. According to Fine Gardening, they need to be planted in cold hardy zone 7-10, though there are a few varieties that will grow in zone 6. The best thing to do is to go to a local nursery and see if they grow them.

When you do plant a Crape Myrtle, you will want to plant them in full sun and keep the soil moist. That isn’t to say you should soak it though – you want to ensure that the soil drains because this tree is susceptible to root expansion, and therefore, root growth. You may want to consider adding a starter fertilizer to get the best results. Of course, you may want to get your soil tested in your chosen location.

When to Prune Crape Myrtles

Credit: Toshihiro Gamo
  • Prune in late winter
  • Avoid pruning in the fall
  • Pay attention to growth patterns

Crape Myrtles, especially in the growing stage, can be a bit touchy when it comes to pruning. The wrong cut could completely destroy the tree. Ensure that you use the right tools or you seek the help of a tree care professional.

According to Today’s Homeowner, “The best time to prune crape myrtles is in late winter before they start growing. Avoid pruning in the fall, since pruning can stimulate the growth of sprouts that may be killed by the coming cold weather. If your crape myrtle blooms before mid-July, deadheading it (cutting off the dead blooms as soon as they fade) can often make it bloom again.”

Of course, the better you are at pruning (or the better the tree care expert is) the better your blooms will be.

Decide On The Look You Like

Credit: Jo Naylor
  • Single trunk Crape Myrtles are easier to tame
  • Multi trunks tend to be stronger
  • Natural look can be the most beautiful

One of the most important things you may want to consider when you decide to plant a Crape Myrtle is what type of tree you want. There are different options, as explained by Your Green Pal. There is the single trunk, which is absolutely gorgeous and streamlined. It is perfect for those that have a specific feeling about their landscaping. However, it does require quite a bit more pruning than other options you have. This is also a look that you choose when the tree is young.

The multi-trunk approach, which is the most popular, allows for a fuller bloom that takes up the most space. It also means that the tree has a better chance of survival if a part of it gets stressed.

Finally, some people choose to go the natural route. This approach requires the least amount of work, though the tree can take over your garden and suck away some nutrients and water from nearby plants. You will have to be careful to ensure your whole garden is still able to get the nourishment it needs.

Be Aware Of Issues Facing Crape Myrtles

Beautiful Crape Myrtle Tree
Credit: JE Theriot
  • Susceptible to some diseases
  • Can attract pests
  • Problems increase with age

One of the main reasons people don’t plant Crape Myrtles is because they can bring pests, especially spiders, into your yard. Southern Living explains: “As soon as crepe myrtle leaves unfurl, look for aphids. Their sugary excretions causes sooty mold. This covers the leaves, making them look black and unattractive; a bad infestation will eventually turn leaves yellow and may hinder blooming.

Control these pests by spraying with insecticides that target aphids (such as malathion, diazinon, or ultra-fine horticultural oil) in the summer as soon as they appear. Spray both sides of the foliage thoroughly, and be sure to get the tips of new shoots and flower buds. Repeat this treatment as necessary.”

You will have to watch them and ensure that they are safe from diseases, especially as they get older. It is a sad trick of nature that the trees are also significantly weakened as they age, so they are more likely to be taken by diseases or pest infestations. However, with routine maintenance, this should not be a problem.

Part of tree growth is sheer luck, but a bigger part of it is ensuring that the tree has what it needs and is given room to grow. With a Crape Myrtle, the rewards are absolutely going to be worth it – there is some work involved, but the beauty of this tree is well worth it.

If you believe that you have a problem with your trees or in your yard, give us a call today at (269) 216-6811 and we can set up a time to visit you and your beautiful trees to see just what the problem is – and how we can help you. There is no job too big or too small – contact our professionals today!

Header photo courtesy of Clay Junell on Flickr!

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