crepe myrtle tree
I have two crepe myrtle trees spaced about 10 feet apart in my Baltimore City garden. They are about 20' tall and have never really been pruned in the 15 years I have had them. They are planted in a flower bed. My yard is very sunny and dry. Last May I noticed that one of the crepe myrtles had some dead branches which I trimmed. Both crepe myrtles flowered as usual but the one with the dead branches was not as full. This year there are even more dead branches on the ailing crepe myrtle and lots of leaves are growing out of the trunk near the ground. What do you think is happening and what should I do?
Many crape myrtles in our area have suffered similarly to yours as a result of the past two winters. Crape myrtles are just on the edge of their comfort zone in our area and the past two winters have not been typical zone 7 winters.
The suckers at the base of the tree are indicators that the tree is under stress. If there are remaining viable branches on the original tree, prune out the dead wood as well as the suckers. If the suckers are all you have left, you can cut out the dead tree and nurture one or more of the suckers.