What to do with half-dead crepe myrtle?
August 7, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

After a brutal winter in PA, our 7yo crepe myrtle appears only one of two major trunks appear to be alive and well. Both branches have also split (see photos), meanwhile, new shoots are growing very quickly at the base. Apart form replacing the plant, what is the best course of action in this scenario? crepe mrytle pic1 trunk pic2
posted by Mikey51 to Home & Garden (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Clip off those "suckers" at the base of the trunk. Anytime you see them, snip them. If you don't, your crepe myrtle tree will start looking like a shrub. I would cut off the dead wood and let it go. It looks good and the split branches are probably harmless.
posted by Fairchild at 1:16 PM on August 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

From recent experience, cut off the dead wood, and the crepe should begin to regenerate. They are amazingly hearty trees. I am not a big fan of "topping" crepe myrtles, but they do come back after a large portion of the tree has been removed. The splitting wood is a good indication that the trunk is dead and all of the moisture has vanished.

Check out figure 9 in this link. It gives some good direction on how to properly remove the dead wood and prune.
posted by Benway at 2:54 PM on August 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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