Crepe myrtles woken up yet?

ladychroe(z6 NJ)May 5, 2014

Hi, it's good to be back on GW. We were between houses for over a year, and last fall we finally moved in to an amazing house with a yard all ready for planting!

We inherited a crepe myrtle tree. I haven't had one before. I know they are supposedly borderline hardy in Zone 6, and they are slow to wake up in spring. But this late? The tips of the branches snap off like dead wood, and I tried to scratch the bark a bit on a thicker piece. I did not see any green under there, but the branch was bendy and didn't snap when I bent it a bit.

Normally I wouldn't worry, but last winter was just so bad and cold, I'm not sure what to expect from this tree. When is it typical for crepe myrtles to show signs of life in the spring in NJ?

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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

I'm wondering the same thing. They are always late to wake up but I am very worried about mine after the harsh winter. No sign of life yet. We'll just have to wait a while longer and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:42AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I'm not in New Jersey, but I happened to see your question and thought I'd share my experiences in a Midwest Zone 6. Most years here, Crepe Myrtle doesn't start putting out signs of life until mid-May. Many a time I've lamented that it is getting too late --so my Crepe Myrtle must be dead--only to have it start making little red/green buds a couple weeks later.

But like you, the one thing I worry about this year is the effect of that brutal winter we had. As usual, my Crepe Myrtles are showing no signs of life yet--but will they ever?

The good news it that I remember years ago being in a yard here in Zone 6 in which the Crepe Myrtles had died/frozen to the ground--and there was lots of red new growth starting from the roots! It was like getting a brand-new bush--except this one had a really good root system already.

That's a good image for all Zone 6 owners of Crepe Myrtle to keep in mind--don't you think? : )


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:59AM
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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

Thanks for the encouragement, dublinbay. I have a very old butterfly bush that I thought bit the dust over this winter but there is new growth coming from the roots. I do not see similar growth from crepe myrtle yet but there is still hope.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:00AM
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ladychroe(z6 NJ)

Okay, that's heartening. Hopefully they're just still sleeping! I hope they don't die back to the ground, because they are actually trees with a good 5" trunk. I'd need a chainsaw if they started up from the ground! Anyway, thanks!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:31PM
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My Zunis are budding. Hope my Dynamites are okay...afraid to look! Yep, the Dynamites (pics below) are just budding.

Be a bit more patient. The season is delayed. Hopefully, at worst you will have to cut out some dead wood. But I did lose several this year, almost sure. Not sure why the difference.

This post was edited by njoasis on Fri, May 9, 14 at 17:38

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:28PM
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weedwoman(z6 NJ)

Funny, I came on here looking for the answer to exactly this question. There are some big Crepe Myrtles along the West Side Highway in Manhattan, and one down the street from me here in Bergen County, and they look dead (May 13). At least it sounds like they might come back to some extent.

Odd the things this winter affected. I have a couple Pennisetums and they seem to be dead. I thought grasses were almost immune to that sort of thing.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 11:41AM
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jerseygirl07603 z6NJ

Yay! I'm seeing a few leaves on CM. Too early to tell how much is dead wood, but at least part of it is alive.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 7:42AM
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I was very worried that my 20 foot natchez crape myrtle trees were going to be damaged and my dynamite crape myrtle would die to the ground,but all turned out normal with plenty of new growth and no dieback. I had many mornings in the single digits, and think one morning may have been as low as 4f. 14 foot windmill palm 17 years in the ground had the most damage ever, lost all foliage but surprisingly it is slowly putting out 2 new fronds.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 7:47AM
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