The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Crape Myrtle

Question: I have two crape myrtles in my yard that I would like to move to another location. They are not full grown yet; maybe 10' tall. When is a good time of the year to move them and what is the best method as to not damage the trees?

Answer: Summer is a really risky time to try to transplant your crape myrtle. The loss of roots on the plant is very stressful. Combine this with the heat of summer and your chances of success are very low. November would be a better time, as it would allow the crape myrtle some time to settle in and begin root growth before the onset of warm weather.

When you dig the plant this fall, get as much of the roots as possible. The more the better. It may be easiest to dig around the plant, staying as far out from the base as you can (considering the heavy weight of the soil and plant), then lean the plant to one side and slip a tarp or very heavy plastic sheet under it. Then lean it the other way and pulling on the plant and tarp (get some help!) slide it to its new location. This will prevent alot of straining and a trip to the chiropractor!

Experts debate the advantage of cutting back the top, but I think reducing it by about 1/3 is a good idea. Dig the new hole only as deep as the plant's root system, wider is fine.

I wouldn't amend the soil in the planting hole with anything. Your native soil is fine and that is where is will be growing anyway. If you are moving it to a raised bed in which the soil in the entire bed area has been amended with compost that is fine. Also, don't put fertilizer in the planting hole. The plant will be trying to establish a new root system, and additional nutrients are not neeeded until new roots are established.

Good luck with your crape myrtles!

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