Crepe Myrtles--Dead?

woodswalker88(6)April 27, 2014

I am in the SE PA area...Phoenixville. considered "zone 6, or 6.5". I started gardening 2 years ago, planted 3 crepe myrtles. (Zone 7 - 10-0 degrees.) They were doing fine last year, but we had a brutal winter with prolonged temps close to zero, and this spring, as of 4/27, they are showing no signs of life. I know they are late bloomers, with flowers in August/september...but I'm thinking I should have at least seen buds or tiny leaves. All I'm seeing is bare branches with the little dry nubs where a bud should be. I'm wondering how much longer I should wait before declaring them 'dead' and planting something a Cleveland Select pear tree. In other words, a kind of tree that I've already got in my yard, which has survived the winter just fine.

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blueheron(z6 PA)

Crape Myrtles are famous for late leafing out. I am in zone 6, Lancaster, and my crape myrtle is also dead looking.

I'm hoping that it will soon leaf out, but with the brutal winter we had, it might have died. They are just barely hardy in this zone, I would wait another month or so before giving up on it.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 4:43PM
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I am in zone 6 A, and was wondering about zone 6 success for growing Crepe Myrtles. I was hoping to grow a Crepe Myrtle or 2 in zone 6 Pa. I wanted to grow the 6 ft or taller varieties. From the above posts, there may be no hope to do so, though.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 12:11AM
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Crapes are indeed famous for late budding, and it's too early to start worrying. Scratch the bark. Green underneath means life. Brown brittle twigs mean a pruning is in the future. I'll check mine and edit this post later. York county here.

Edit: Went out to check on the 3 I have. Doesn't look good. I am used to the tips dying after a rough winter, but one is dead to the ground I think. I'm not going to prune just yet, but it looks like the blooms will be few this year.

This post was edited by Dzitmoidonc on Thu, May 8, 14 at 17:34

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 5:53PM
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We're in zone 6A and I'm sure my 4 Tonto Crepe Myrtles are dead. When I scratch the trunks, no green. The leaf buds are dead and flake right off and almost all of the trunks have cracked and the bark is falling off (not exfoliating as they normally do). I think this winter did them in and it's depressing not to mention expensive to replace. :(

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 9:49AM
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geoforce(z7a SE PA)

Although I'm in 7-6 border, I have never been able to keep them over 4-5 years. Comes a harder winter, and they are gone. Even on light years they often freeze back to the roots and have to start over. Still, I have seen them around over closer to the rivers at fair sizes.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 12:04AM
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I am in SW Pa. I haven't planted a Crepe Myrtle yet. I have a Seven sons flower shrub, which is supposed to be the northern version of the Crepe Myrtle. No flowers yet. Maybe they come in summer or fall? It is in leaf, though. I really want to grow a Crepe Myrtle, but am not sure which type, cultivar etc to try. Last winter 2013-2014, my yard went down to -10F. The very zone 6 guideline. Anyone with some idea on a tall growing zone 6 hardy Crepe Myrtle, I will be really happy.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 12:51AM
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after reading this I went and looked it sure does look dead

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:38PM
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Okay, so Crepe Myrtles in zone 6 are not anything to have long term plans for. I will try and make my Seven sons flower shrub look it's best. Or buy zone 5 small Crepes, maybe protect the others (tall ones) in winter. Has anyone in the above posts, used straw, burlap or any protection, and still they died?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:30AM
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Crape Myrtles are southern trees and you may be at their northern-most border. In my area, Cincinnati, the cold will kill all of the top growth although the roots will remain alive. The top growth will not scratch green and all of the buds will be dead along with peeling bark because the top growth has been winter-killed. However, the roots are alive and will sprout.

You will have to practice patience to see if the plants come up from the roots. It hasn't really been warm yet this spring so they may just be slow in growing.


    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:40AM
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The crepes have finally started to get leaves. Mostly on a few branches. Other branches still look dead, or have tiny buds that are just sprouting. Thanks for all of your advice...I was about to cut these down & replace them! This winter has taught me never to plant anything higher than a zone 5 plant.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:02AM
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We planted 5 crepe myrtles about 15 years ago along the side of our backyard. They are either Natchez or Acoma and have grown to 15 feet tall in Louisville, KY. We've never had a problem with them and usually are very slow to start budding in the spring. Every year I wonder if they made it or not. This year they still have no buds. The trunks are green underneath but no other signs of life. Will give them a few more weeks just in case but very sad to say, I think they didn't make it and not sure I want to start them over from the ground up. Will keep hoping!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 2:55PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

FYI...I have a large 10-15 ft Muskogee Crape here on the far south Coast of Mass about 60 miles south of Boston. We had one below zero morning (-7) this winter and it has survived with no die back. So I am thrilled about that. It is growing on the south side of a 2 story building--so it gets protection from north winds--which probably helps. The one thing I noticed this spring is that a few branches leafed out much later than other branches. So patience is a must. Also, Spring Run Farms in Coatesville PA has done a lot of crape hardiness tests in their fields. They have produced the crape hardiness chart I have linked to here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Crape Myrtle Hardiness chart

    Bookmark   May 26, 2014 at 3:49PM
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All these Crape Myrtle may be coming up from the ground. You all should wait to demo e them. You may have already noticed they are coming back.

I gave many of them and they are all coming back now.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:11PM
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