How to Prune Crepe Myrtle and When To Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle

The Crepe Myrtle Tree is easy to care for, although a series of factors should be taken into account to ensure that it looks strong and with a leafy crown, which is one of its main attractions. If you want to know When to Prune Crepe Myrtle and How to Prune Crepe Myrtle Trees continue reading this article. Also, we will review How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle.

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle. If your Crepe Myrtle looks like it is dying, it is most likely affected by powdery mildew. Crepe Myrtles are particularly sensitive to excess moisture and are prone to fungal problems, especially powdery mildew. In this article, we will discuss how to treat powdery mildew with neem oil after proper pruning to eliminate the recurring pests that often affect and kill dying crepe myrtles.

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The Crepe Myrtle Tree, also known as Crapemyrtle, crape myrtle tree, the lilac of the Indies or Lagerstroemia, is an original tree of China and Japan, although at the moment it can be found in a wild state in all the Asian continent and Europe, as well as cultivated in the whole world. The Crepe Myrtle’s scientific name is Lagerstroemia indica and belongs to the Lythraceae family.

The Crepe Myrtle Tree is used as an ornamental tree thanks to its small size and the pink color tones of its abundant flowers, very popular.

crepe myrtle How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle
Crepe Myrtle’s scientific name is Lagerstroemia indica
Let’s review together How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle

When to Prune Crepe Myrtle?

A very common question when pruning a Crepe Myrtle tree is to understand When to Prune Crepe Myrtle tree. When it is appropriate to prune the tree? The Crepe Myrtle Tree should be pruned at the end of winter.

It is advisable to shorten the one-year shoots and remove the weaker ones because they do not produce flowering buds.

How to Prune Crepe Myrtle?

How to Prune Crepe Myrtle? Pruning at the end of winter is necessary to get rid of last year’s flowering branches. This will allow that, with the arrival of spring, the new flowering will be stronger and the tree will grow with more strength and vigor.

So now we know When to Prune Crepe Myrtle. Let’s now review How to Prune Crepe Myrtle tree properly to give it the correct shape that will allow it to grow healthy and flower properly. You will be able to enjoy the Crepe Myrtle pink, white, mauve, purple or crimson flowers with curly petals. It is also important to fertilize it from time to time, preferably in early spring. It is best to use an organic fertilizer that penetrates well into the substrate.

The Crepe Myrtle Tree resists pruning well. Control its size by pruning and letting it grow into a shrub or a small tree. In the latter case, the flower clusters will be equally abundant, although smaller in size.  

How to Prune Crepe Myrtle - When To Prune and  How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle.
How to Prune Crepe Myrtle – When To Prune and How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle.

To prevent needing to make huge cuts later that will be difficult to seal, it is critical to prune young trees properly.

Let’s continue reviewing How to Prune Crepe Myrtle in the following paragraphs.

According to the stem and structure formation pruning procedures utilized, two big groups of trees can be distinguished: on the one hand, the group of trees with a single dominant or guiding stem; and on the other hand, the group of trees with a cross crown (with the main trunk and at a certain height across, from which the main branches start).

Each winter the Crepe Myrtle should be trimmed to guarantee that they blossom the following season. Because they have too many branches to feed, trees that are not trimmed become less productive.

when to prune crepe myrtle how to prune crepe myrtle How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle.
How to Prune Crepe Myrtle – When To Prune and How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle.

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle. Annual pruning strongly lowers the branches so that the Crepe Myrtle tree produces flowering alternatives at the ends. It should be noted that flowering appears only on last year’s branches.  

The appearance of offshoots (stems growing up from the roots) is common and they should be removed if single trunk growth is desired. If you want a bush with a clear trunk, remove any that are too close to the base. You can cut all branches from the base.

Pruning is simple, to create an open canopy form from five main branches. Pruning should be done while the tree is dormant, throughout the winter, and a few weeks before spring. It will vary greatly depending on the geographical location of the trees. Make use of high-quality, clean-cutting instruments.

Applying a disinfectant to the cutting blades beforehand isn’t a bad idea. Begin by eliminating any branches that are crossed, weak, sick, or dead. Keep the tree’s center open; if multiple heavy branches need to be pruned, we’ll space them out over time. So that the tree does not suffer significantly throughout two or three winters.

When in a colder climate zone, it is recommended to thin the leaves by pruning to allow light to penetrate well. In young specimens, pick the flowers when they fade to prevent them from turning into fruit, which wastes energy in the plant.

Removing faded flowers can further prolong flowering time. Cut upward-growing branches close to a lower branch with a diameter of at least one-third that of the one being removed.

Although it is a pest and disease-resistant plant, it can be attacked by aphids.

Powdery mildew is a common fungus that often causes problems and should be treated with fungicides regularly affecting the Crepe Myrtle tree. It appears as a dry whitish powder, covering the surface of leaves, buds, and open flowers in spring and summer.

Other fungi that produce spots on the Crepe Myrtle tree: Cercospora, foliar fungus. In autumn, collect leaves and burn them. In spring and summer, use copper, zinc, manganese, mancozeb as the main fungicide.

When any kind of pest is present, spray some fungicides evenly on leaves, stems, and branches to avoid spray irrigation, otherwise, it will result in ineffective treatment and also conducive to the spread of the disease.

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle

Location, Light, and Watering to Care for a Crepe Myrtle

The Crepe Myrtle is a deciduous tree that, even in winter, has a great aesthetic value, due in part to its bark of such a characteristic pinkish-brown hue.

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle. Crepe Myrtle tree requires sunny sites. It needs fertile but well-drained soils, as its watering should be moderate.

Actually, it is not recommended to water the Crepe Myrtle tree until the soil is completely dry. This means that one watering a week in winter and two in summer will suffice.

Crepe Myrtle Tree: Pests and Diseases

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle. Because it is a tree that does not tolerate excess humidity, it is prone to fungal problems, especially powdery mildew.

This pest usually appears when the tree is in very humid and poorly drained soils and when it does not have enough direct sunlight. As soon as any pests are detected, apply a fungicide such as a neem oil. Learn How to Mix Neem Oil.

The Crepe Myrtle tree can be very affected by the fungal disease if it is not treated fast, and may even die.

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Pruning, Flowering and Fertilizing a Crepe Myrtle Tree

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle

How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle. The 3 things to keep in mind to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle is:

  • Eliminate the fungus with neem oil,
  • Prune properly at the right time and lastly,
  • Fertilize. Other tips such as checking soil type, drainage, and proper irrigation amount.

Some fertilizers such as Carl Pool Crepe Myrtle Food are scientifically formulated for optimal growth of Crepe Myrtle trees to allow for proper, lush blooms while the branches develop healthily and prevent disease.

Particularly this is the fertilizer that we have tested with very good results and that we recommend for its micronutrients and balanced release of nutrients.

Unlike other fertilizers, Carl Pool Crepe Myrtle Food allows for a 2-stage nutrient release, immediate feeding, and slow feeding.

The Crepe Myrtle tree requires an extremely high phosphoric acid fertilizer to promote flowering.

How to Grow Crepe Myrtle in a Pot

How to Grow Crepe Myrtle in a Pot. If you want to have the Crepe Myrtle growing in a pot it will be preferable to use an unpainted clay pot. This allows the humidity not only to escape through the surface and the drainage below, but also facilitates its evaporation through the clay of the pot, which helps to avoid the appearance of fungus. On the other hand, it is also very important to make sure that excess water is not retained in the potting dish after watering, as this can be a source of fungal pests as well as cause the roots to rot.

When planting a potted Crepe Myrtle tree, we should also bear in mind that it will need at least eight hours of direct sunlight a day, especially in winter, when ultraviolet radiation is lower. Therefore, it is very important to place the pot in a sunny spot, either outdoors or near a window where it has access to direct light.

Crepe Myrtle Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care - How to Grow Crepe Myrtle in a Pot How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle
Crape Myrtle Bonsai CareHow to Grow Crepe Myrtle in a Pot

Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care

Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care. In addition to potting the Crape Myrtle, there is also the possibility of using cuttings from the tree itself to grow a bonsai of this distinctive tree.

Planting a Lagerstroemia indica Bonsai Tree

When planting a Lagerstroemia indica Crape Myrtle Bonsai Tree is best to take a woody, rooted cutting. Although it is possible to grow the Crepe Myrtle tree by putting it in water to root and then transplanting it, this option is a complicated task, and the cutting will likely end up dying.

Instead, we should take a stem with roots that we can use as the start of the bonsai and plant it directly in a pot with a special substrate for bonsai.

How to Take Care of a Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care

How to Take Care of a Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care. When caring for a Crepe Myrtle bonsai tree, one thing to remember is that the bonsai pot should be slightly larger than usual. In the case of this tree, very flat and tray-like pots (typical of many bonsais) are not recommended, since its roots need a bigger space to be able to develop the minimum that this tree needs to be well, and using pots with very little depth will affect it negatively.

As it happens with the care of the Crepe Myrtle tree in soil or pot, the Lagerstroemia indica bonsai tree will need abundant sunlight and watering that allows that the substrate does not become waterlogged, since it could produce a fungus plague.

One of the advantages of the Crape Myrtle Bonsai is that, as it has a woody trunk, the new branches grow in a very aesthetic way as they grow horizontally to the ground. In this way, the appearance of a small tree is achieved where the initial cutting is the trunk of the tree and the new stems are the branches.

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crepe myrtle tree How to Save a Dying Crepe Myrtle Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care
Crape Myrtle Bonsai Care
About Julia Morgan

We are the Morgan family, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for TheGardenStyle.com as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website. We hope that all our advice will be useful to you and that you will become an expert gardener.