The Q&A Archives: crepe myrtles

Question: It is early September, I just planted two crepe myrtles. Is this okay this time of year? Second question. I have another white crepe myrtle about 10 feet in height, which leads me to believe there is a very large root system, (worked at a tree farm in years past), what would be the best course to transplant this particular tree? Trim it back drastically? When? And then transplant in early spring?

Answer: Now is a fine time to plant crepe myrtles. Just water them deeply once each week and their roots should establish quickly. As for moving your established crepe myrtle, expect the roots to extend at least as far out as the longest branches. While some of the feeder roots are expendable, you'll want to retain as many of the main roots as possible in the move. I wouldn't trim the tree back - unless it is too unwieldy in its present shape. Pruning simply encourages new growth. You might want to try to do some root pruning now and then dig and move the tree in the spring. Root pruning involves severing the roots of a tree, all the way around the tree's circumference at the drip line. This can be done by slicing down with a sharp spade. Ideally, root pruning should take place a year prior to digging and transplanting the tree. However in a pinch, 2-3 months should allow enough time for the tree to overcome the stress of root pruning and to start the process of developing new feeder roots. Best wishes with your crepe myrtles.

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