All of the above-ground growth on our crepe myrtles seems to have died. How...

Asked May 17, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

All of the above-ground growth on our crepe myrtles seems to have died. How can we tell if they are still salvageable? 2 are 3 years old and 1 is 1 year old. The growth on the two older plants is about 8 feet tall, the other about 2 feet. They have bloomed in the past. Now, all we have is a little growth at the bottom of the trees. All are n full sun, although one of the bigger ones gets some shade in the late afternoon. There is o evidence of animal damage - or for that matter, any damage. they are simply not leafing out. If they are dead, should we try to plant new ones in the fall or is it just too cold here to try again?

Howard County Maryland shrubs crape myrtles winter damage

1 Response

This has been a pretty harsh winter and many plants suffered winter damage especially in windy areas with no protection. Crape myrtle is putting out new growth now. You can scratch the branches with your fingernail and look for green tissue. If you see it, the branches are still viable. Otherwise you can prune dead wood. Let the growth at the base of the shrub/tree grow. In the future you will have to select several of the larger stems and nurture them. Prune out small twiggy stems.
If you decide to replace them, crape myrtles are best planted during the growing season and you will also have the best stock selection in nurseries. They flower best in full sun.