Ask a Question forum→Is my Crepe Myrtle lost?

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Nashville TN area
Jun 14, 2020 1:28 PM CST
It looks like half is dead....
Thumb of 2020-06-14/Bbg1972/86a700
Thumb of 2020-06-14/Bbg1972/1462a7

Name: Andrea Reagan
Astatula, Florida (Zone 9a)
I collect seeds
Jun 14, 2020 1:44 PM CST
As long as there is green there is hope. I would trim the dead parts and see what happens.
Bryan, TX
Jun 14, 2020 1:46 PM CST
Crepe myrtles are hard to kill. Look closely to see whether something has been eating bark off part of it or whether something is eating the leaves. There may be some kind of caterpillar colony on it.
If it takes a long time to grow, remember that if nobody plants it, nobody has it.
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
Jun 14, 2020 3:02 PM CST
CMs like to come back and have a lot of vigor doing so I would not worry. The problem is CMs typically like Zone 7 winter temperatures or warmer (a small number of CMs are winter hardy down to z6b).

Tennessee has cold zones 6 and 7 that "meet" throughout the state. As a result, in some years, you can get z6 cold weather in the border with z7 , something that could kill parts of the CM tree or even the whole tree part above the ground... since the roots would not be killed, the tree would send new shoots and grow again from there. You can help the CMs by mulching & watering deeply before large temperature drops or before you get very cold temps.

You can trim the dead wood once you confirm that it is dead using a scratch test.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Jun 14, 2020 4:12 PM CST
Is all the dead stuff on just one of those stems? Is the bark at the bottom damaged?

The crepe myrtles in Reno (downtown in Zone 7, I wouldn't even try where am) die back to the ground every winter and come up from the roots every spring.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

President: Orchid Society of Northern Nevada
Lockhart, Texas (Zone 8b)
Hydroponics Greenhouse Region: Texas
Jun 14, 2020 4:26 PM CST
Bagworms do that kind of sharply demarcated area of total devastation. Crepe myrtles are not normally very afflicted with them, but it can happen. Around here, they most afflict pecan, and mountain laurel.

The worms may be gone by now. There may have been the filmy bags or the odd looking egg cases, You can see them on the Internet. The don't necessarily kill the affected branch, but they do often eat all the leaves as far as they get. I can happen before you notice, if you're not paying particular attention.

The egg sacs are present, remove them by hand. When I get a lot of the bags, I make a torch on a pole and burn them and the caterpillars. At the right time of year, I can just break the bags open, and there's a predatory wash that will get them. If it's not bagworms, I suspect it's something similar. Search for the caterpillars and egg sacs for diagnosis.

The tree will almost certainly survive. I wouldn't cut back the branches until I knew the worms were gone and it had a chance to put our new leaves.

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