Crepe Myrtle Question

Asked August 23, 2017, 8:29 AM EDT

I have a three crepe myrtles (white flowering) that are about twenty feet high each. They each have three trunks and their branches touch. On one of the trees ,one of its three trunks died, and I'm wondering if I have to do anything to prevent the rest of the tree from dying, or whether its problem will spread to the other trees. I didn't see any indication of fungus on the leaves of the trees, and there was no obvious evidence of insects. Attached is a close up of the dead trunk. Thanks!

Montgomery County Maryland crape myrtle shrub crape myrtle scar crape myrtle trunk died

4 Responses

This looks like an old scar from an old wound. Damaging fungi may have moved in, but we cannot say for certain.

At any rate, the solution is to prune off the dead trunk and dispose of it off-site. It should not be a problem on the other trunks.

ECN

Thanks so much for the quick response. To be clear, you think there was a wound of some kind on one trunk that became infected with fungus (perhaps) and that the healthy parts of the tree should be ok because they have no wounds.

The fungus may have had nothing to do with the trunk dying. All dead wood eventually has fungi that move in because that's their job--to decompose dead organic matter.

Best bet is to avoid wounding trees--whether from weed wackers or anything else. Because, yes, once there is a wound, it is possible that the tree cannot heal it well and it can lead to problems.

Yes, the other crape myrtle trunks should be fine.

ECN

Great--good advice and much appreciated. Thanks!