Dead crepe myrtle bushes?

livvyliv10March 11, 2008

I planted several crepe myrtle bushes last year, but I'm not sure if they made it through the drought. We sacrificed most of our rainbarrel water to keep them hydrated, but they look exactly like dead branches sticking out of the ground. Does anyone know if there is a way to tell if they are truly dead?

Thanks a bunch.

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Tammy Kennedy

try scratching the bark a little with a knife, working from the tip of a branch on down. where it's green, from that point down, it's alive. If it doesn't have any growth up top that's alive, wait- it may come back from suckers. Also, please remember they tend to leaf a bit late in spring, so don't give up too soon. I'd wait til you notice other folk's leafing out before i trimmed anything, even if it fails the scratch test.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Crepe myrtles can easily fool you into thinking they're dead when they're not. My husband thought one of ours was dead one year and pulled it up and threw it in the woods. A few weeks later I noticed it leafing out. I replanted it and it is still thriving some 8 or 9 years later. I wouldn't give them up for dead until well into spring.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 8:13PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

They are mostly likely not dead. They don't even sprout here until much later than most other trees. I would definitely wait a while. Have you seen any Crepe Myrtles in the area even close to sprouting? They are all over NC. As for checking to see if they are dead, I think he old scratch test may work, but since they pretty tan barked and smooth, i'd recommend snapping a small (and i do mean small) branch and seeing if you see any green. Towards the tips where the seeds etc are may not be a good idea, but you can always try if it is bothering you.

Best practice is to wait until later in the spring when most of the crepes sprout leaves. Take a picture as well...and post it here!.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:35AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Even if the top is dead, the roots and crown may still be alive underground. Further north, crepe myrtle bushes die to the ground each winter so don't give up on it until well into the summer.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 1:38AM
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irislover_nc(z7 nc)

I looked just yesterday and I don't even have buds swelling yet...I think it is just early.

And please just say no to crepe-murder; I went by the Apex Target and they should draw chalk lines around those poor babies! :::weeps:::

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 9:35AM
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Crape myrtles always look dead in the winter and early spring lol. Even more so than rugosas.

They often don't even leaf out until May.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 10:20AM
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WAY too early for swelling buds, Iris. They don't show much signs of life until April/even May. And I am with you about crape muder; better to not prune at ALL than hack them up like they do. And while I'm on the soapbox...NO MEATBALL FORSYTHIAS!! If I see one more person cut these into balls, I will throttle them!! whew...I'm ok now. :-D

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 4:18PM
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Is my bush dead? I just planted along with another one on Friday July 11. The other has bloomed but this one. Looks like it's dying my coworker says it may be in shock!! Pls help ?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 8:49PM
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You probably should have created a new thread. If that is a regular crape myrtle, you have planted it WAY too close to your house. Generally, these plants are very hardy and will send up new shoots that will turn into trees. However, they probably need to get slightly established first. I haven't had one look so poor so fast. I think I would move it in September if it lasts that long.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:32AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

chas is absolutely right. Crape myrtle , even the miniature versions is not a foundation planting.
In the right location, crapes are graceful, multi-trunked, 360 degree bloomers.
Before this crape dies , get it out and temp. re-pot it for planting where it can grow undisturbed and well away from disturbing other plants this October.
If you have a second one (you mentioned) in a similar, tight
location take it out at the same time.
Right plant, right place takes thought and planning for the mature growth size.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:57PM
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