Crepe myrtle; did you know there are around fifty species of this tree? And they were named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström. It’s scientific name being; Lagerstroemia. Glad we can call it crepe myrtle! You can also spell it crape myrtle. However you prefer to spell it, this tree is really one to have in gracing your space. I especially like how the bark of the tree sheds all year-long. It really lends to something interesting going on in the yard. Every summer they pop with beautifully clustered flowers. It looks as if the tree exploded with dozens and dozens of bridal bouquets. I look forward to this every year.
Prune this awesome tree in the winter or early spring. And whatever you do, don’t hack at the tree leaving the thin trunks standing alone! Doing this will only produce spindly branches that shoot straight out instead of producing a nice fluffy top; sorta like the cute trees we drew as kids! I like to remove the cluster of flowers when most of the blossoms are brown or have fallen off. If you get lucky there will be a second bloom of flowers! Remove any thin/tiny branches throughout the umbrella of the tree; the ones that don’t seem to have any or much growth on them. Also cut away the suckers that love to pop up around the base of the tree.
Mine seems to tolerate the heat, humidity, and winter weather with some snow and plenty of single digit temps. They don’t seem to care if I water them or not. I’d say all in all, crepe myrtles are very hardy trees. I do have a mildew problem with two of my trees and I haven’t figured out the reason. They get this white powdery film. The first time I saw it, I carefully cut all the branches that had this mildew. The next year the new growth had it but less. This year, I’ve been spraying it with baking soda and water mixture. (2 tsp of baking soda in a quart of water…I mix it into a gallon pump sprayer) I do believe this is working though, I’d suggest if you do have this problem, to start spraying right when tree’s leaves start to appear. (This is what I will do next year) I think sooner is better to combat this mildew.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please, if you have any suggestions on the care of crepe myrtles, let me know, or just drop a comment on what kind of crepe myrtle you have and color.