Is Our Crape Myrtle Tree Healthy?

Asked August 10, 2017, 4:56 PM EDT

We have two young crape myrtle trees, both planted last fall. They both seem to be doing OK, but one of them (Tree #1 in attached photos) has some yellow and discolored leaves. The other, tree #2, has only green leaves. Should we be concerned about Tree #1, and if so, what should we do? An associated question--these trees have not bloomed this year. Is that expected, and if so, when would they be likely to start blooming? Thank you so much.

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

The third photo looks great.
The 1st and 2nd photos show discoloring, which could indicate a problem. Also the suckers at the base of photo 2 could indicate that water is not getting up to the top of the plant. We see no disease or insect damage, so altogether that suggests a cultural problem.

Be sure to keep them well watered spring to fall for at least the first two years. We have had generally good rainfall this summer, but we had a long dry spell. Be sure they get watered during droughts. Plants like about 1" of water a week (once the soil is thoroughly moist through the entire soil profile down to the bottom of the roots.) Get a rain gauge so that you know what is happening at your property--thunderstorms are very spotty.

Also, keep mulch back 2-3" from the trunks--this goes for all plants. Mulch up against plants encourages disease and insect problems.

We cannot see the base of the trunks clearly, but check to be sure the trees were not planted too deeply. You should be able to see the slight flaring out at the bottom of the trunk. You can usually plant at the same depth the plant was in its pot--but not always (sometimes they were transplanted too deeply in their pot.)

Read through the following fact sheet for other possibilities:

It would not be too unusual for the shrub to not bloom the first year while it is getting its roots established.