LSU Backyard garden Information: Do not dedicate ‘crape murder’ on your crape myrtles | Dwelling/Backyard

Crape myrtles are 1 of the most controversial and generally-talked over decorative vegetation among gardeners, landscapers, conservationists, naturalists, growers, researchers and educators.

How did the crape myrtle come to be this kind of a incredibly hot subject for dialogue?

It is really the pruning.

You have possibly viewed a crape myrtle hacked back again to just a trunk or with its branches buzz cut throughout the prime in landscapes across the South. Those people in the enterprise contact it crape murder.

There are plenty of bad gardening techniques out there, and this is just just one of them. It comes from misinformation or copying what we see. Luckily, trees take this abuse and typically appear back just about every spring.

Even so, this extreme pruning is just simple incorrect. It can lead to structurally weak wooden. It stresses the trees and would make them far more inclined to each insects and disease. Steady pruning like this can also cause unattractive knobbing at the lower web-site, offering the trees a gnarly appear.

Crape myrtles basically involve tiny if any pruning, in accordance to retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

You may well prune to eliminate lifeless or ruined limbs or small-hanging limbs that toss also substantially shade on lawns and back garden beds or to get branches out of mowing paths. You may also prune to obtain a distinct landscape appear.

If you do want to slash back again branches, winter is the finest time to prune. With out leaves, you can see the form of the tree to establish exactly where cuts need to have to be created. Also disposing the limbs will be less difficult because they are lighter without having foliage.

One particular difficulty with crape myrtles is bark scale, which has become a genuine trouble below in the Gulf South. Launched by an insect pest from Asia, bark scale has a excellent affinity for crape myrtle trees. The challenge ordinarily goes unnoticed till crops start out turning black with a fungus identified as sooty mildew when it begins to increase on insect droppings.

The disorder has unfold from the early 2000s all through the South, influencing far more and a lot more trees. To take care of it, substances can be applied, but, if not utilized adequately, these chemical compounds can be unsafe to the setting and ecosystems.

Native to China and other Asian nations, crape myrtles designed their way to England and then the U.S. by way of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1786. Because then, they have become a staple in the Southern landscape.

However, like a lot of nonnative species, crape myrtles very easily reseed on their own and can be thought of invasive. If remaining unchecked, these crops can crowd out native species, reducing the biodiversity and the stability that is so important to our atmosphere and fragile ecosystems.

Crape myrtles are, botanically speaking, a tall-expanding deciduous shrub that can be trained to appear like a tree with a person or two key trunks. Trees can access heights of up to 30 ft, relying on the cultivar.

Crape myrtles prosper in our warmth and humidity, tolerate drought and grow immediately. For these explanations, crape myrtles are rated as just one of the South’s most well-known ornamental trees.

And they are gorgeous crops that occur in numerous kinds with a wide range of bloom shades, swish arching branches and various levels of peeling bark. They are also among some of the greatest vegetation for tumble foliage shade.

Lively leaves of red and orange coupled with peeling bark that presents way to smooth tan and cinnamon-colored trunk provides winter season interest to your property. The hybrid cultivars are what give us such good colour this yr — especially the Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei versions, these types of as Acoma, Muskogee and Natchez.