Crape Mytle Emergency

Asked December 6, 2014, 7:57 PM EST

I had a crape myrtle I raised from a tiny plant to an over 6'tree. I foolishly gave it to my niece to plant

in her yard. I told her to plant it just before frost or leave it alone until spring. She pruned it to about

3feet and brought it in the house where I found it on Thanksgiving. It has a few tiny green leaves on

one branch. The others are leafless but appear to still be green. My question is should the tree be

put out in the yard now in the cold weather or stay inside until spring with water and light from the

window. This was quite a beautiful watermelon red tree. I very much want to know what is the

right thing to do. Thank you.

Durham County North Carolina crape myrtles

6 Responses

This tree wants to be outside in the ground. It is not an indoor plant. It is not too late to take it outside and plant it. The pruning will cause it to become multi-stemmed which is what crape myrtles want to do. It should recover, discourage her from heavy pruning in the future to allow the tree to reach its full height and potential. Pruning should be limited to removing suckers at the base of the tree. Crape myrtles look good when 3 or 5 suckers are allowed to develop and mature. More generally looks weedy.

Good luck,

Michelle Wallace
Horticulture Agent - Durham

Thank you so much for your rely. I have a new question. Can my niece put the plant in a semi-protected

spot and leave it there in the pot it has been in for 6 years until spring and it still have a good chance of

survival.?

She wans to plant the tree where an old tree was taken down but the stump has to be removed first.

I really appreciate your response

Laura.

Thank you so much for your rely. I have a new question. Can my niece put the plant in a semi-protected

spot and leave it there in the pot it has been in for 6 years until spring and it still have a good chance of

survival.?

She wans to plant the tree where an old tree was taken down but the stump has to be removed first.

I really appreciate your response

Laura.

Laura,

It depends on how they are removing the stump. If they are grinding the stump up, I would not recommend replanting that spot for another 3 years. The carbon from the ground up tree stump will take a long time to decompose and while that is happening it is not a good environment to grow a plant. If they are digging up the roots of the tree, then it would probably be fine.

When this tree is planted - it will need to be root pruned. If you plant it in the spring - earlier is better. Aim to plant by March at the latest. After that it is starting to get too hot.

Michelle Wallace, Horticulture Agent

Thanks again. Happy holidays and best New Year.

Laura