Ask a Question forum: Save my Myrtle. Please!

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Name: Sasha Wiseman
Fl. (Zone 8b)
I'm quite frond of plants.
Garden Art Multi-Region Gardener Hummingbirder Keeper of Koi Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers
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DaisyRyder
Jul 18, 2017 10:27 AM CST
For years I've wanted a Crepe Myrtle with deep pink blooms. I came close to acquiring such a wish come true many times but never quite made the dream a reality. Until last fall. A friend was moving from their garden laden property and admidst the plethora of trees and bulbs, there I spotted my Myrtle. Tiny and begging to be brought home. Alas, the twig was planted and the wait began. It grew into a handsome bush and was heavy with gorgeous blossoms. But something has happened .... The leaves began to wilt. At first, since it was dry weather at the time. My first instinct was to water it. Several days passed as the rainy season began to take hold. It does not want for water or fertilizer. And nearly a month later, it still looks like an abused and forgotten plant. ............ I had a gardenia planted in this spot at one time and it did poorly. This makes me wonder if it's a soil borne disease. But the only one that comes to mind is vascular wilt. And it was my understanding Myrtles are immune to such a thing. Also, I may as well call this the year of wilting, for I've had a few plants, who want for nothing, begin to wither and eventually fade away. All in different classes of plant life. I don't understand it. My primary concern at the moment is this Myrtle. As I've mentioned, I have longed for this wonderful compliment to my yard. I don't want to lose it. Any advice is appreciated.

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Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 18, 2017 10:54 AM CST
Do you have gophers there?
Porkpal
Name: Sasha Wiseman
Fl. (Zone 8b)
I'm quite frond of plants.
Garden Art Multi-Region Gardener Hummingbirder Keeper of Koi Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Fruit Growers Garden Ideas: Level 2
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DaisyRyder
Jul 18, 2017 11:01 AM CST
Not for a long time, Porkpal. I believe the cats have devoured, if not simply deterred them all.
Name: Lin
Southeast Florida (Zone 10a)

Region: United States of America Deer Region: Florida Charter ATP Member Million Pollinator Garden Challenge I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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plantladylin
Jul 18, 2017 12:21 PM CST
I wonder if it might be planted too deep?
~ Playing in the dirt is my therapy ... and I'm in therapy a lot! ~


Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
Plant Identifier Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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stone
Jul 18, 2017 12:44 PM CST
Crape myrtles are such weeds around here that I would ignore it.
See if it pulls through with neglect.

Come to my house and dig some of mine.

What about your friend's house?
Can you go back and dig the sprouts that regrew from the tree you dug?
They ALWAYS grow back!
Weeds, I tell you.
[Last edited by stone - Jul 18, 2017 12:46 PM (+)]
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Name: Sasha Wiseman
Fl. (Zone 8b)
I'm quite frond of plants.
Garden Art Multi-Region Gardener Hummingbirder Keeper of Koi Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Fruit Growers Garden Ideas: Level 2
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DaisyRyder
Jul 19, 2017 7:52 AM CST
Lol. Perhaps I AM overreacting. I'll take your word for it stone.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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dave
Jul 19, 2017 10:27 AM CST

Garden.org Admin

It looks to me like it's suffering from stress. It looks like it is in virgin sandy and infertile soil, out in the hot sun, and dry.

The very best thing you can do is apply a generous layer (3 inches or so) of wood chip mulch all around it in a circle at least 3 feet wide. Don't put the mulch right up to the tree, though, give it a few inches to breath.

When dry, water the entire circle of mulch deeply about once a week. You want that soil to get drenched all the way down. The wood chips will then protect the moisture in the ground from quickly evaporating. The mulch will also cool the soil and provide even other benefits.
Name: Sasha Wiseman
Fl. (Zone 8b)
I'm quite frond of plants.
Garden Art Multi-Region Gardener Hummingbirder Keeper of Koi Seed Starter Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Fruit Growers Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
DaisyRyder
Jul 20, 2017 1:44 PM CST
dave said:It looks to me like it's suffering from stress. It looks like it is in virgin sandy and infertile soil, out in the hot sun, and dry.

The very best thing you can do is apply a generous layer (3 inches or so) of wood chip mulch all around it in a circle at least 3 feet wide. Don't put the mulch right up to the tree, though, give it a few inches to breath.

When dry, water the entire circle of mulch deeply about once a week. You want that soil to get drenched all the way down. The wood chips will then protect the moisture in the ground from quickly evaporating. The mulch will also cool the soil and provide even other benefits.


I don't wish to dismiss your assumption Dave, as you are practically considered a garden God among the wonderful people here. Yet, as the days come and go, one is to think that sun and water are not the issue. As I had mentioned, I too thought at first that thirst was the issue. So it was generously watered. Then the Summer rain storms began. And beneath that white, bleached sand (about two inches) there is a dark, cool soil that surprisingly stays moist even during drought. As it is with many Florida yards.

The plant in question receives about 9 hours of sun a day. Which, I believe such a proclaimed "tolerant" plant should be able to withstand.
The bare ground you see around the plant is an intentional act of herbicide. Now, I wonder if such a plant rumored with strength and toughness could have fallen sickly because of my (carefully attempted) herbicide-ing? I'm not sure. I've herbicided around trees, young and old, gardens, etc. for about five years now without ever a fatality.

I don't argue it could use some mulch. However, the Myrtle remains in the same shape and appearance seen in the photos above. As if it's in a perpetual state of suspended animation. Despite the rains, deceivingly fertile soil and perplexed stares that wish to will it to health, it remains a mystery. It has been so for nearly a full month. I feel there is nothing I can do but wait and wonder.
Such is life.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jul 20, 2017 2:15 PM CST
I suspect root damage of some sort. If not gophers then...? Do nematodes bother Crape Myrtles? Given time it may recover, if not it can easily be replaced.
Porkpal
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 20, 2017 2:50 PM CST
I suspect the herbicide around the tree, either got down to the roots or drifted to the leaves. When the air pressure is just right, the fumes of the chemical can move, even without a breeze.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
Beekeeper Vermiculture Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages Plant Identifier Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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dave
Jul 20, 2017 3:01 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Whatever the cause of its current problem, the wood chip mulch will be highly beneficial for this plant, even if ultimately it doesn't make it. I also wonder about gophers or other underground pests.

If it was herbicide damage, it seems to me like you would have a completely dead tree if it was applied a month ago.

(I'm not a garden god. Plenty of people here are vastly more experienced than I. Smiling )

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