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Crape myrtles (sp)

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bugnut blog photos
Joined: 9/06/2007
Location: Kellyville, Okla
Posts: 2176
Posted: Sep/22/2008 11:43 AM PST

I have several crape myrtles that has grown just a long stem, about 6ft tall. How do I prune and when, to make it into a bush? Thanks.

John
ga_girl photos
Joined: 8/02/2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1335
Posted: Sep/22/2008 12:30 PM PST

You can definitely make it into a multi-stemmed structure by pruning it to the ground come spring. It will throw up about 4-5 stems in response and will forever more look like a shrub. Next year you would NOT have to do that again.

Less drastic pruning may or may not cause sprouts to stem from the base. But any pruning should be done in spring (perhaps April for you).
gardendude blog photos
Joined: 4/08/2008
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 241
Posted: Sep/23/2008 9:16 PM PST

Crape myrtles will sucker easily, even without pruning. Also, I've been seeing a number of new hybrid dwarf varieties that naturally grow as shrubs as opposed to standards. Some of these would be:

x faurei 'Caddo'
x faurei 'Hopi'
x indica 'Prarie Lace'

My textbook says to avoid pruning any later than July, as doing so reduces cold hardiness. So early spring would be ideal
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Sep/24/2008 6:33 AM PST

As long as you're talking about CM's, let me ask this (not a pruning question): Every single year, mine are absolutely PLAGUED with aphids and white flies, to the point where they can barely bloom. What is UP with this??
Aurora blog photos
Joined: 4/24/2008
Location: Chesapeake VA
Posts: 1954
Posted: Sep/24/2008 8:06 AM PST

Wish I could help you out with that KeeWee! Maybe it's the cultivar?
The only serious pests mine have are those bloody Japanese Beetles. I don't know what kind mine are though, they were rescues from a demo'ed house
witt blog photos
Joined: 3/28/2008
Location: Lancaster, SC
Posts: 16643
Moderator
Posted: Sep/25/2008 3:11 AM PST

I got this information about aphids from the Clemson site. It may help.

Control: The following crape myrtle hybrids (Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei) have moderate resistance to aphids: ‘Muskogee,’ ‘Natchez,’ ‘Tuscarora, ’ ‘Acoma,’ ‘Tuskegee,’ ‘Hopi,’ ‘Pecos,’ ‘Zuni,’ ‘Biloxi,’ ‘Miami, ’ ‘Wichita,’ ‘Apalache,’ ‘Comanche,’ ‘Lipan,’ ‘Osage,’ ‘Sioux,’ ‘Yuma,’ ‘Caddo,’ ‘Tonto, ’ ‘Choctaw’ and ‘ Fantasy.’ Consider using these in new plantings.

Several predators feed on the crape myrtle aphid. These include ladybird beetles (ladybugs) and their larvae (immature forms), green lacewings and their larvae, hover fly maggots, parasitic wasps and entomophagous (insect feeding) fungi. As much as possible, these natural predators should be allowed to reduce aphid populations. In addition, aphids can sometimes be removed from plants by spraying with a strong stream of water. Spraying with water may have to be repeated regularly, as needed.

As a result of their phenomenal reproductive rate, aphids are very difficult to control with insecticides. If a single aphid survives, a new colony can be produced in a short period of time. In addition, using insecticides means that beneficial predators will also be killed. If it is determined to be absolutely necessary, various insecticides are labeled for use by homeowners against aphids on crape myrtles. These include insecticidal soap (Safer Insecticidal Soap or Concern Insect Killing Soap), horticultural oil (Sunspray Ultra-fine Spreay Oil), pyrethrins (Schultz Rose & Flower Insect Spray or Concern Multi-Purpose Insect Killer RTU), neem oil (Bonide Bon-Neem or Green Light Neem Concentrate) or permethrin (Spectracide Bug Stop Multi-Purpose Insect Control Concentrate) or cyfluthrin (Bayer Advanced Garden Power Force Multi-Insect Killer Concentrate) or malathion. As with all pesticides, read and follow all label instructions and precautions.
KeyWee blog photos
Joined: 11/29/2006
Location: West Kentucky
Posts: 1803
Posted: Sep/25/2008 8:43 AM PST

Thanks for all the info, you two! I'm not sure what type I have either, but I do know that the two trees in the front yard are affected but the one in the back not at all. So it's probably true that it depends on the cultivar.
Ack ~ by the time I get around to spraying, it's WAY too late. Next year, I am going to start water-blasting right away in spring. There aren't enough of the good predators around to make a difference with this problem.
Oh, and I had them on my tomatoes too
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