Crepe Myrtle Trees
Crepe myrtle trees, genus Lagerstroemia, offer the gardener a variety of size and color options, along with a generous summer blooming cycle. Because these beautiful additions to any garden offer a range of height options, this gorgeous plant can be used as a 3-foot privacy hedge, or trees can be planted separately, growing to heights from 10-feet to 30-feet depending upon the species (Van Mallcom, K, n.d.). Before purchasing a crepe myrtle, take into account the specie’s unique characteristics and use a variety that best suits your specific needs. There is no sense in planting a 30-foot variety if you want to maintain a 3-foot hedge.
A Few Varieties of Interest
The Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle, lagerstroemia indica “Pink Velour”, offers clusters of delicate pink blossoms and grows to a mature height of 8-10 feet with a 10-foot spread, growing well in zones 7-10. This variety is drought tolerant and blooms all summer long. The deep, vibrant pink blossoms make excellent cut flower arrangements, providing both beauty and fragrance for any room they grace.
For a taller tree, the majestic, fast growing Dynamite™ Red Rocket Crepe Myrtle, lagerstroemia indica ‘Dynamite’, reaches a mature height of 20-30 feet and is one of the few crepe myrtles with true red blossoms. This variety is mildew, disease, and pest resistant and grows in zones 7-9, with a long bloom cycle lasting from spring to autumn.
For gardeners with a love of lavender, the Muskogee Crape Myrtle, lagerstroemia Muskogee, offers clusters of beautiful lavender flowers that bloom up to 120 days during the summer months. This variety is suitable for zones 7-11, and is mildew resistant. This fast-growing variety (up to five feet per year) will reach a mature height between 15-25 feet (Fast Growing Trees Nursery).
All crape myrtle trees offer beautiful clusters of blossoms and can add brilliant color to any garden. The blossoms can be a bit messy as they fall, so it is best to avoid planting them too close to swimming pools or koi ponds. If a neat driveway is a must, then do not plant crepe myrtles too close to the edges, or the fallen blossoms may prove annoying.
Most crapemyrtles prefer partial to full sun, and moist, slightly acidic soil. Dig a hole deep enough to plant the root ball, so that the top of the root ball is at or about 1-inch above ground level. Spread the roots slightly and include a good mulch in the backfill material to foster root growth. Fill a small circle at the tree’s base full of native soil, then mulch generously out from that point for about two to three feet. Remember acidic soil is rich in nitrogen, which if vital to root growth.If you want to know more about planting you can contact with tree surgeon such as kilcasey tree services LTD
Pruning is another concern because much of the crepe myrtle’s beauty comes from its natural growth habits, so avoid lopping off the tops, otherwise, the trees may develop unnatural, aesthetically displeasing shapes. Additionally, excessive pruning can trigger the growth of suckers from the base of the tree. Suckers make the garden look unsightly, while providing hiding places for unwanted pests (Burkey, 2006).
Although pruning is necessary to avoid spindly growth and to encourage blooming, remember to pick a variety with a mature height that suits your needs. Then, try pruning to maintain that size. For example, if you plant Pink Velour, let it grow to its mature height in stages. After the first year or two, prune it back a foot or so from its attained height, then let it grow again. Alternate the amount pruned each year to encourage a more natural shape.
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