Crape Myrtle Problem

Daniel Gill  |  6/25/2015 11:16:39 PM

Dan,

We have a problem with a crape myrtle in our front yard in Hickory Ridge here in Baton Rouge. It is not blooming. It had a very light bloom last year but is not blooming at all now. Its leaves are drying up rapidly with spots on the leaves.

Do we need to fertilize with a particular brand? Perhaps thin out the tree? We would like to save it, but do not know what to do.

What would you recommend? We deeply appreciate your advice.

- Randy V.

While lots of crape myrtles are blooming now, plenty of trees have not begun to bloom yet. So, this may be in the nature of your tree.

Cercospora leaf spot may also be a factor. While this disease is not life threatening and trees tolerate the disease and recover well, early outbreaks – like the one currently happening – can delay or reduce flowering. The current outbreak is due to all of the rain in May.

There is nothing wrong with the tree that requires saving. Fertilizer can be applied in March each year to help stimulate the vigorous new growth needed for flowering. Use any general purpose fertilizer or one labeled for trees following package directions.

If you see some good reasons to prune, feel free to do so. But, pruning is not related to the current condition of the tree.

While lack of flowers is disappointing, the tree is likely going to be fine. The flowering season runs to September. You may yet see some flowers.

Dan Gill
Consumer Horticulture Specialist

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