crape myrtle dies back every winter
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
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.