crape myrtle dies back every winter

Asked October 31, 2015, 6:18 AM EDT

Hello, we have a crape myrtle that is probably around 15 yrs old & every winter it dies back. The soil is mostly clay but the last few years I have amended it with mulch. It is beautiful right now. One year we covered it to see if that would help & it did a little. Question: should we cut it way back since it dies anyway or more importantly, why does it die back? All the other crape myrtles I see in our neighborhood do not go through the same process. Thank you, Maria Dobbs

Washington County Maryland

1 Response

Most crape myrtle types are not going to be cold hardy in Washington County, and unfortunately you seem to have one of the non-hardy ones. In order to grow crape myrtles in an environment as cold as yours, you need to pick a species and/or variety that is listed as hardy in your region. You are in zone 6a or 6b.

Also, be sure it is not in a cold pocket, where cold air sits, such as a level area at the base of hills. Look for the warmest part of your yard (notice where the snow melts first) and plant it there.