Care for your Crape Myrtles this spring

Garden Tips

As we get into spring, there are two problems on Crape Myrtle that you may have to deal with.

First, check for an insect infestation called Crape Myrtle bark scale. If you have Crape Myrtle with a black, sooty substance on the stems, or some white specks or cottony masses, then you have a scale problem and should deal with it right away. Most Crape Myrtles may be too large to spray, so applying a systemic insecticide in March or early April can be effective. If your Crape Myrtle is short enough, you can spray an insecticide in April and may control the young scale crawlers before they damage the plant.

The second problem is the question of whether to prune or not to prune. Many people chop the tops of the Crape Myrtle branches every year. This is known as “Crape Murder” and should be avoided when possible. Instead, try to have the Crape Myrtle grow its natural size while only thinning out the lower branches and any dead growth. Either way you go, the good news is if you do need to “crape murder” your plant, it will still grow back and bloom its lovely flowers in the summer.

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