I have a number of Crepe Myrtles in my yard. They took a long time to leaf...

Asked July 21, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT

I have a number of Crepe Myrtles in my yard. They took a long time to leaf this season and some of them have what appears to be dead wood in them or have not leafed at all. Was there a problem with the growing season and should I leave them to do whatever or should they be pruned back. Most are about 8' tall. My second question is I have 2 x 5-way apple trees that were planted this spring. In the last week ALL the leaves have disappeared. It appears that they were eaten. They still have the center vein from the leaf, but nothing else. First what would defoliate the trees that quickly? Second will they survive without leaves with the grow time they have gotten this season?

Frederick County Maryland trees and shrubs fruit shrubs

1 Response

Last winter was difficult for crape myrtles, with many dying back to their root systems.
The standing leafless branches are dead and can be pruned out. Many will have young shoots coming up from the root area which should be allowed to grow at least for this year. In coming years, you may want to thin these out, removing extras and leaving a few with space to grow into the original form.
The apple leaves were likely eaten by japanese beetles. It should survive. Keep it well watered for the next 18 months of establishment.