Crape Myrtle Trees

    • Mums are the beauties of the fall garden. Choose plants now in a wide variety of colors.
    • Cool season vegetables should be planted right away to insure good crops this fall.
    • Take house plants outside and wash down dusty leaves. Let them dry in the shade before bringing them back inside.
    • Rose of Sharon, with its hibiscus-like flowers, is a lovely summer bloomer in our climate. It grows 6 to 8 feet tall in full sun or part shade.
    • Sow these vegetable seeds directly in the soil: carrots, chard, lettuce, mustard, peas, radish, spinach and root vegetables. Keep the surface of the soil moist until the seedlings are established.

Crape Myrtle Trees
beautiful in summer and fall

If your looking for a small tree to provide year-round beauty, consider a crape myrtle for your landscape. The tree gets it’s name from the appearance of the flower petals that are crinkled, resembling crepe paper. They can be planted together to make a large hedge or screen, or in a grove or a single tree can act as a specimen to create a distinctive focal point.

The trees leaf out rather late in the spring. Then about midsummer, large 6 inch flower clusters form on the ends of the branches, and bloom through the summer and fall. The flowers are truly outstanding, and come in vibrant pink, purple, watermelon red, lavender and white.

In the fall after the leaves turn yellow, orange and red and then drop, the attractive trunk and branches are revealed. The bark of the crape myrtle is mottled and smooth. With age, the grey bark peels away to reveal a reddish-brown color underneath that is attractive all winter.

Crape myrtle is actually a shrub but tree forms, which have been pruned to create one strong central trunk, are very popular. The tree form of crape myrtle will grow to a maximum height of 15 to 20 feet tall and spread about 10 feet wide.

They flower best in full-sun locations, but will tolerate light shade or morning shade. Deep shade locations are not recommended, because the tree will not flower well and will be prone to developing powdery mildew disease.

Newly planted crape myrtles should be watered often for the first summer to aid establishment. Watering should then be gradually reduced in frequency. Crape myrtles like moist, well drained soil but are drought tolerant once established. More frequent watering will make them grow faster.

To keep crape myrtles attractive, suckers should be removed on tree forms. Pruning to remove old flower clusters will promote additional blooming, but it is not necessary to prune the tree to make it bloom. Small twiggy growth should be thinned out from underneath and within the canopy.

Never cut main branches and leave stubs. These trees should be allowed to develop their natural style without whacking off their tops, which ruins the natural graceful effect of the plant.

If you like trees with lots of color and character, check out the crape myrtle. It may be just the tree your looking for to add to your home landscape.

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