These flowering trees make a gorgeous addition to any landscaping project. The dark pink blossoms resemble crepe paper and appear during the summer months. The flowers on some crape myrtles range between white and deep purple, depending on the variety of tree. If you’ve recently acquired one of these beautiful trees, then the following 5 tips on caring for a crape myrtle tree should be very handy.
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Plant in Full Sun to Partial Shade
Crape myrtle trees don’t do well in full shade, due to issues with mildew. Some varieties of crape myrtle are more resistant to mildew than others. While full sunlight is preferable, many crape myrtle trees have been successfully grown in partial shade as well.
While these trees do require an adequate amount of water to grow properly, they are actually rather tolerant to drought. These trees do need to be watered daily for the first few weeks after planting, in order to help them establish a good root system. After this three week period of constant watering, crape myrtle trees can be watered just enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.
Crape myrtle trees are beautiful, flowering trees that come in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. They are also relatively low-maintenance trees that can thrive in many different climates. However, there are certain tips that should be followed when caring for a crape myrtle tree in order to ensure that it grows healthy and strong.
First, crape myrtle trees should be planted in well-draining soil. If the soil is too wet or too dry, the tree will not be able to take in the nutrients it needs to survive. It is also important to make sure that the soil is slightly acidic, as crape myrtles prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Second, crape myrtles should be planted in a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. If the tree is planted in a shaded area, it will not bloom as much or as vibrantly as it would in a sunny spot.
Third, crape myrtles should be pruned regularly. Pruning helps to promote healthy growth and can also help to keep the tree from becoming too large and unruly.
Fertilize during Growing Season Only
Even though crape myrtle trees can tolerate just about any type of soil, they do benefit from fertilizing too. Use a slow release fertilizer for best results. The fertilizer should have an equal amount of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium in it.
Prune Only Occasionally
These trees actually require very little pruning. To allow the larger portions of the tree to grow more quickly, the suckers can be trimmed off around the bottom of the tree. If you don’t wish to have an actual crape myrtle tree, then the suckers can be left and you will have more of a bush instead.
Protect New Growth from Aphids
These little pests love the new growth on a crape myrtle tree. Check for aphids often to keep them from spreading from the crape myrtle to your other plants. Aphids like the sticky substance on the new shoots that pop up around the bottom of the tree. You can effectively get rid of aphids by using a solution of warm water and mild dish soap.
I hope these tips give you enough substantial information for taking care of your crape myrtle tree. These trees are capable of living for many, many years and providing you with numerous blooms each summer. Do you find these care tips helpful?
Top Photo Credit: Mr.Mac2009
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