Planting and caring for crepe myrtles - Knowledgebase Question

New Orleans, Lo
Question by TJAMES3025
January 4, 2010
I planted a crepe myrtle yesterday. What should I do to improve the tree's chance of survival?


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Answer from NGA
January 4, 2010

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To help your tree get off to a great start, you only need to plant it properly and water it regularly. Here' how:
Using a shovel/spade, dig the hole twice as wide as the container and not as deep as the height of the container. Pile the dug soil near the hole. This is called fill soil. Remove rocks, trash and other debris and discard. The hole should have vertical
sides and a flat bottom. Place the container in the hole to check for proper size. The soil level in the pot should be slightly above the upper edge of the hole.

Remove the rootball from the pot. If there are excessive roots showing, cut the roots by using a sharp knife. This will encourage new root growth. Set the rootball in the hole and position the plant to your liking. The trunk of the tree should be vertical, not leaning. If the rootball is wrapped in burlap, cut away and remove as much of it as you can.

Begin to add the fill soil, firming and packing it in around the rootball and roots. This eliminates air pockets and ensures direct contact of the roots and the soil. Form a small ridge around the outside of the filled hole to hold water for the roots.

Add 2 to 4 inches of mulch at the base of plant and pull away from trunk. The mulch should be level and extend out to the ridge or edge of the hole. Mulch helps to keep
the rootball moist and reduces weeds from growing near the plant and competing for water and nutrients in the soil. Mulch should not touch the trunk.

Remember that all plants need 1 inch of water per week during the growing season.
All new plants require more than 1 inch of water per week for the first three months. Then irrigate with at least 1 inch of water per week for the first year, especially through dry, hot summer conditions.

Following these steps will help your new crape myrtle establish quickly and grow well. Enjoy!

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