The Q&A Archives: problem with crape myrtle tree

Question: I live in So. Calif. (inland) and planted a crape myrtle tree last year. It seemed
to brown and go dormant pretty early in the fall last year. This spring it came
back and at this point the leaves are still really a brownish-copper color with a small amount of
green variegating through them. As other crapes in my area are really green and
blooming - mine is not even budding. Is it dying or is there something that I
can do to help it along?

Answer: Coppery leaf color can indicate stress, and it is possible that there is a rooting problem underground causing the plant to begin to be stunted a bit. This could be the result of poor rooting for whatever reason such as poor planting procedure or a rootbound plant or an underground obstruction or so on. Since I have not seen the plant it is difficult to really tell what is happening long distance. If you are unsure, I would suggest you work with your professionally trained and certified nurseryman and/or your county extension. They should be able to tell you if crepe myrtles in general in your area had a rough winter and if this is typical of what they are seeing as a result, or else help you troubleshoot if it might be related to something else. Good luck with your crepe myrtle!

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