Clear Cut Instructions To Plant And Care For Your Crepe Myrtle Tree

As a homeowner, you most likely understand the importance of landscaping for your home's value and curb appeal. While a beautiful lawn, colorful flowers, and lush shrubs are appealing options for your home's exterior, trees offer some surprising benefits, as well. From purifying air and preventing storm water runoff, to providing shade that can cool your home, it is easy to see the importance of landscaping with trees. Of course, choosing the best trees for your yard can be challenging. However, considering the crepe myrtle tree is a smart option for colorful blooms through the spring and summer.

If your landscaping contains one or more crepe myrtle, you may need some clear cut instructions to maintain the look and value of these trees. Using this guide, you can enjoy all the benefits of the crepe myrtle tree.

Landscape Design with Crepe Myrtles

Crepe myrtles are versatile trees that can grow and thrive in different manners, so consider your design before installing the tree.

To create a privacy hedge or screen in your yard, plant multiple trees together, but allow a few feet between each root ball. The trees also make great accent pieces for your landscape. To create a focal point in your yard, plant a medium-sized crepe myrtle that will grow 12 to 15 feet.

Installing Your Crepe Myrtle

Since temperatures are on the cooler side, spring and fall are the best times to install your crepe myrtle. However, successful installation in the summer is possible with constant watering.

Choose an area of your landscaping that receives full sun. Dig a hole that is approximately 3 times the size of your new tree's root ball. The roots need adequate space to grow, so make sure the top of the root ball is even with the soil. Fill the hole with the soil you dug up and pack it securely using your hands and feet. Spread a few inches of mulch around the tree. The mulch adds appeal to your landscape, but also holds in moisture that your crepe myrtle will need.

Watering Your Tree

Water is essential for your landscape, but adequate moisture is imperative for your new crepe myrtle. As soon as you install your new tree, soak the root ball and surrounding soil with your garden hose.

If planting in cooler weather, water the base of the tree and surrounding soil thoroughly each week. In the summer months, water the tree daily.

Pruning Your Crepe Myrtle

Once established, you will need to trim off dead limbs and flowers using pruning shears. Unfortunately, many owners prune excessively, which prevents the yearly spring and summer blooms. For lush, colorful blooms each year, use the following pruning tips:

  • Prune in the Winter – Prune your tree in the last weeks of winter, before new growth develops.
  • Prune to Size – The finished look of your tree will depend on your specific taste, so use caution when pruning your tree in the beginning. To create a desirable crepe myrtle shape, cut a few limbs off the bottom part of the tree. Make angled cuts with your pruning shears.

Pest Control

Due to the sugary, sweet bark of the crepe myrtle, the tree can become home to some problematic pests. Since aphids are common problems for crepe myrtles, it is important to understand the signs of their presence.

After attempting to digest the sugary substance from the tree, aphids will excrete honeydew onto leaves and stems. This honeydew eventually leads to the development of mold on the tree. Without treatment, the aphids and presence of mold will damage or possibly kill the tree.

To treat an extreme infestation of aphids, consider a specialized insecticide applied directly into the crepe myrtle's surrounding soil.  This soil injection prevents any buildup of honeydew and mold, but also repels aphids from the tree to prevent future problems. For minor pest control, apply an insecticide spray to the bark and leaves of your tree.

Caring for the crepe myrtle is not as difficult as many owners believe. With these clear cut instructions, you will enjoy a healthy, colorful growth of these beautiful trees. For more information, contact a local landscaping company like Schulhoff Tree & Lawn Care, Inc.