The Q&A Archives: Crepe myrtle care

Question: Two 8 ft crepe myrtle trees, planted last summer, are only showing new growth at the bottom on the trunk. Are they a lost cause? How can I encourage growth up top? We did not prune and need to know how and when to do that too.

Answer: If there is no growth at the top of your trees but growth from the base of the trunk, I'd say the tops of the trees were killed back during the winter months. Try scraping the bark from a few of the branches with your fingernail. Green tissue beneath the bark indicates live tissue and there is still hope. Brown tissue beneath the bark means that part of the branch is dead. Keep scraping until you find green tissue indicating live wood. When you find it, cut the branches back to live wood and they should develop foliage. If you find no live tissue, the tree is a lost cause. Best wishes with your crape myrtles!

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