Crepe Myrtle Suckers

Asked June 3, 2017, 10:38 AM EDT

We planted a young crepe myrtle last year. The tree itself died, but right in the center of where the tree was are large suckers, now over 12 inches tall. Is it possible this growth will turn into a new tree?

Adams County Illinois

1 Response

It's possible. Crape myrtles often die to the ground if the winter temperatures get too cold. The plants will frequently resprout from the roots, much like butterfly bush does.

You can try to train two or three of the straightest, strongest shoots to take the place of the original tree form. Remove all other suckers and ground-emerging shoots, so that the plant's energy is sent only to these three shoots. Assuming we don't get severely cold winters, the plant can become a tree again.*

* Of course...considering how far north you are, it is highly unlikely that you won't get another killing winter in the next several years. So, your plant will continue to be killed to the ground. But, it should keep coming back. So my advice to you would be to treat this like a multi-stem shrub, and enjoy whatever you get from it.