Spring planting of "dormant" crape myrtle

Asked July 2, 2015, 4:07 PM EDT

For Arbor Day I received a "dormant" crape myrtle that was planted just shy of two months ago. In spite of all of the rainfall and following all of the instructions that came with the tree I am not seeing any signs that this tree is alive. All of the crape myrtles that I planted several years ago as live saplings are all leafed out and have buds. This was my first attempt at planting a dormant crape myrtle. Please advise me on whether this tree is in fact alive or if it will be dormant until next spring. I don't understand why the National Arbor Foundation sends dormant trees instead of live ones. What is the benefit of planting a dormant tree and why would it be dormant in the month of May in the first place?

District of Columbia County District of Columbia shrubs crapemyrtle dieback

1 Response

If it were alive it should be showing some leaves by now, or if the roots were healthy, sending up some new shoots.
Crapemyrtles are marginally hardy in our area, meaning that when our winters are harsh, we sometimes have them get killed back to the ground, or even killed outright.
The National Arboretum has introduced some new varieties (all with Native American names) which have improved winter hardiness. If you really want a crape myrtle, we'd suggest buying locally and looking for one of those varieties.
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