Besides Southern Magnolias, Crape Myrtles are the iconic tree of the Southeastern United States. Known for its crepe-like flowers, this tree can withstand the scorching summer temperatures and even our drought-like conditions. While the crape myrtle is a reasonably resilient tree, there are still some basic TLC tasks that can help your crape myrtle thrive and bloom longer during the summer. Continue reading to learn how to make your crape myrtle bloom all summer long!
Remove Old Blooms
Since crape myrtles can continue to bloom from June through early to mid-September, it is important to remove the old blooms. Like most flowers, the blooms turn to seed once the flowers have finished. For crape myrtles, the flowers turn into seed pods. By removing the seed pods, one can promote new blooms all summer long. Removing the old seed pots is simple, as long as you can reach them! To remove, cut below the pod along the stem.
Don’t Knick the Trunk While Mowing
Crape Myrtles are also known for their colorful and thin bark that sheds, much like a snake! The bark peels away from the tree and can resemble cinnamon sticks once separated! The newly exposed bark will have a more vibrant color.
Since the bark is thin and known to shed, it is important to be cautious while mowing around your crape myrtles. A small knick on the tree can expose the tree to disease and pests since the bark is so thin.
Suckers are independent growths that emerge from the root system of the tree. Usually, suckers are undesirable to the homeowner and gardener, as most people prefer a single stem tree and a cleaner appearance.
Removing suckers allows your tree to direct all of its energy and nutrients to the central part of the tree. Additionally, removing suckers can keep pests and diseases at bay, promoting a healthier tree! Remove the suckers right at the soil line.
Crape Myrtle Pests
While crape myrtles are relatively resilient trees, they are still prone to Japanese beetles and aphids. The Japanese beetles eat the leaves, leaving behind a lacy-looking leaf. While Japanese beetles will damage the leaves of a tree, they only feed for a short while and then move along.
Aphids are sap-sucking insects that can suck the life from your plant. They leave behind a sugary excretion that turns into sooty mold. Sooty mold indicates aphids, scale, and other leaf-sucking insects. While the sooty mold can be easily wiped off, it is important to treat the root of the problem — the insects!