Razzle Dazzle Crape Myrtles - Introduction / Landscape Performance in 2007 and 2008

Allen D. Owings  |  1/14/2008 5:07:57 AM

Background/Introduction:

The Razzle Dazzle dwarf crape myrtles are an exciting new series of crape myrtles developed by world-renowned horticulturist and breeder Dr. Michael A. Dirr. As the first series within the Gardener’s Confidence Collection, Razzle Dazzle dwarf crape myrtles have been developed with the trustworthy attributes of easy care and mildew resistance, as well as exceptional color and compact habit. Mature height is 4 feet. Plants are being evaluated for flowering, cold hardiness and disease resistance at Burden Center in Baton Rouge. They are available at some wholesale nurseries in Louisiana. Plants were available starting in 2006 and have been available at retail garden centers in Louisiana since 2007.

Varieties in the series include: Ruby Dazzle (pink blooms with bronze-red foliage), Cherry Dazzle (cherry-red flowers), Snow Dazzle (white blooms), Dazzle Me Pink (pink blooms) and Raspberry Dazzle (raspberry-red blooms).

More information on these plants is available by clicking here.

Materials and Methods:

Three-gallon containers of the Razzle Dazzle series crape myrtles, Chickasaw crape myrtles and Pocomoke crape myrtles were planted in late summer 2006 in full sun landscape trials at Burden Center, an LSU AgCenter research station in Baton Rouge, La. (USDA hardiness zone 8B, AHS heat zone 8). Plants were placed in raised rows of Oliver silt loam soil (normal pH 6.2) approximately 5 feet apart in a randomized complete block design with each cultivar replicated three times. Supplemental irrigation was provided as needed via a drip system. Plants were fertilized in March 2007 and March 2008 with Sta-Green Nursery Special 12-6-6. Pine straw mulch is maintained on the planting at a depth of 2 inches and refreshed two times annually. Hand weeding, glyphosate and Amaze pre-emergent granular herbicide (at the recommended rate) were used for weed control. Plants have not been pruned, pinched or deadhead from the initial planting time through 2008. In addition, fungicides and insecticides have not been applied.

Data:

Visual quality ratings based on a scale from 1 to 5 (1=dead, 2=below-average landscape performance, 3=average landscape performance, 4=above-average landscape performance, 5=superior landscape performance) were taken monthly from April - November 2007 and from April - November 2008. Included in this rating were plant foliage color and appeal, uniformity, flowering and overall growth habit. Cercospora leaf spot ratings were taken in October 2007 and based on a scale from 1 to 6 where 1=no leaf spot, 2=1-10% foliage with leaf spots, 3=11-25% foliage with leaf spots, 4=26-50% foliage with leaf spot, 5=51-75% foliage with leaf spot and 6=76-100% foliage with leaf spot. Height measurements were taken in October 2007 and October 2008.

See the attached file for 2007 and 2008 data.

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