The Q&A Archives: Crepe myrtle

Questioner's Location: Columbia, sc
Date: June 27, 2007

Question: I planted a natchez crape myrtle about 2-3mo. ago, its doing well. Except every aft. the leaves shrivel up, as if it needs water. I have other ones that don't do that. So it gets watered everyday. But it doesn't seem right, that it needs water every day, what do you think about that?

Answer: Plants that wilt in the hot summer sunshine don't necessarily need to be watered, in fact overwatering can deplete the soil of oxygen and essentially suffocate the roots. Hot summer sunshine can cause plants to restrict water flow to the foliage, in an effort to conserve moisture and slow evaporation. They typically recover overnight, and are ready to face a new day. Your crape myrtle should only require one or two deep soakings per week. Try withholding water, even when the leaves look wilted, and see how your tree looks the next morning. I think you'll find that it has perked up, without the daily ration of water. I suspect that your Natchez will adjust to the summer sun as it matures and as the foliage matures. It just needs a little more time to establish its root system. Water it deeply once or twice a week and you'll encourage a deeper root system, and a happier tree.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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