Is this crape myrtle okay?

Asked August 20, 2018, 9:13 AM EDT

I planted this crape myrtle about a year ago. It was doing okay, but contracted powdery mildew before the end of the 2017 season. I treated it, and it seemed okay for the fall of 2017. This year, it never grew much and it stayed bare in the middle of the trunk - foliage at the bottom, foliage at the top, bare in between. I transplanted it to a new hole, kept it watered well all summer, and the foliage at top and bottom look a little better - but nothing new in between. Shouldn't it be showing more progress in a year? Thanks.

Baltimore County Maryland shrubs plant care crape myrtle crape myrtle struggling crape myrtle with scattered growth

3 Responses

It's struggling. Pull away mulch at the base. Mulch should never touch a trunk. We can't see the trunk, but it's possible it is planted too deeply. Trunks should not be coming straight out of the soil. They should widen at their "flare" at the bottom, which should be above soil.

We can't say for sure why it is so unhappy. Watch this video to see if you can catch any errors in this plant's planting: http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/trees-and-shrubs/planting-process
Always be sure roots are teased out from the original container potting soil so that roots quickly contact and grow into surrounding soil.

If it leafs out well at the bottom next year, cut the old wood trunks down to the ground and let the new stems take over. Otherwise, you may want to replace it.

ECN

Excellent advice, thanks. Video was helpfu.
I've got some massaging to do on those roots, I think.