The Q&A Archives: trunks on Crepe Myrtle dying

Question: We planted a Crepe Myrtle in our backyard about three years ago. It gets full sun pretty much all day. It was doing fine (although has not grown much in height) until last fall when, one by one, all next to each other trunks on it began to die. We have now lost about half of the tree (three of the six trunks). We have no idea what could be causing this. The remaining half of the tree is blooming beautifully this summer, but we are afraid that we will loose the rest of the tree. Could it have been from a freeze? We water it from a hose (on very low) about once a week for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Is it getting enough water? Last summer we had a very wet summer. When it rains heavily water pools nearby and sits for a few hours. Could it have gotten too much water?
My father said maybe we planted it too deep. Any advice would be appreciated. We thought Crepes were very hardy and great for our area (North Texas).

Answer: Jackie,

It is difficult to say exactly what is happening to that crape myrtle. It could be excessive soil moisture causing the problem because those plants don't like to have their roots sitting in soggy wet conditions for extended periods of time. It may also be that it was planted to deep but you should have seen problems than just last year if this was the cause. It also may be viewed to a root rot diseases such as cotton rot. There is no cure for this so you'll just have to wait and see and hope for the best regarding cotton root rot possibilities. In the meantime keep the plant adequately watered but not soggy wet. Your current watery schedule sounds about right but just make sure that it is providing a good soaking and then allowing the soils to dry out moderately watery again.

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