Newsletters
Care and Planting of Crape Myrtle9/1/2015


The Crape Myrtle can be a beautiful tree for our landscape and can provide years of enjoyment.  Many people are concerned about the hardiness of the Crape Myrtle since they are more typically seen in the south.  Somerset Nursery only carries Crapes that are hardy for our area, many of which are locally grown.

 

How To Plant Crape Myrtle

The Crape Myrtle can be a beautiful tree for our landscape and can provide years of enjoyment.  Many people are concerned about the hardiness of the Crape Myrtle since they are more typically seen in the south.  Somerset Nursery only carries Crapes that are hardy for our area.  How you plant them is critical to their longevity.  It is best to plant the tree very high out of the ground.  This means at least 1/2  the container or root ball should be above ground level, fill soil to the base of the trunk.  If you plant them at gorund level, they will die to the ground in a challenging winter like we had the last two winters.  When this happens, they will sprout back from the base by June, but it will take a while to look like a tree again.  If this is your case, you will be better off raising it 12-18" now. 

Light

 

Full sun is preferred for best flower production.  A sunny, south-facing wall is ideal, as they love the extra heat by the wall.

 

Soil: 

 

The Soil must be well-drained, when planting in heavy clay soil, mounding or planting on a slope is helpful

 

Water:

The first season it is critical that you water thoroughly and regularly during the first season.   After the first season, and once established the Crape Myrtle is drought tolerant.

 

Pruning:

 

Pruning should be done in early spring since they bloom on new wood.  Shrub forms can be hedged to maintain size.  Tree forms should be “limbed up” as they grow.  Select several main branches or trunks and prune away secondary limbs.  This will expose the colorful bark as they age.

 

Fertilizer: 

Feed in early spring with a high phosphorous fertilizer to induce flowering (fertilizers with a high middle number such as 5-10-5).  Do not feed after July 4th, because the resulting new growth will be too soft to make it through the winter.  Newly purchased plants have enough slow-release fertilizer for the first season.

 

Overwintering: 

 

A thick layer of mulch is sufficient (3-6”).  This will prevent frequent freezing and thawing.  Do not wrap the top of the plant, this is unnecessary.