crepe mytrle branches are bending and falling off of the tree.

Asked June 16, 2015, 4:15 PM EDT

The leaves on my crepe myrtle tree shrub branches out with leaves and appear to be growing well. at some point when the branch steams are about 2 feet, they start to bend toward the ground and ultimately fall off. The leaves are not discolored in any way. I pruned the tree heavy this February. The tree shrub is 10 years old and this is the first time this has occurred. Any help you can give would appreciated.

Howard County Maryland trees and shrubs pruning crape myrtles

3 Responses

Have you been fertilizing or watering the tree? Send us photos so we can see what you may be referring to. Send photos of the whole tree, around the base, and affected branches.

I have not been watering the tree on a daily basis but I did fertilize the tree. I have attached some photos. Thanks for your help.

The tree was pruned severely. Many would call this 'crape murder'. Crape myrtles require little to no pruning. The type and amount of pruning depends on the desired shape and size of the plant. There are many types of crape myrtles which include low shrubs to 30 foot tall tree types. They should be pruned to remove unhealthy branches, to remove suckers, and to allow more air movement in the tree canopy. The time frame to prune is early spring as they bloom on the current season’s growth.

The best way to maintain a crape myrtle at a particular size is to plant a known cultivar that will mature at the desired height and spread. For more information on pruning see the link from Clemson Cooperative Extension

At this point, stop fertilizing. They do not demand a lot of fertilzer and can promote weak growth. The mulch around the base of the tree should be no more than several inches and keep it away from the trunk. You should be able to see the flare of the trunk. You will have to see what survives this year and access the situation next year. If this tree is in a prominent location in your landscape, you may decide to replace.