Plant the Ultimate Year-Round Tree

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Difficulty: Beginner

 

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Crape myrtle is one of the loveliest trees the South has to offer. Huge flower clusters in pink, red, purple or white catch the eye and beautify a landscape.

With a months-long bloom period, graceful growing habit, colorful fall foliage and exfoliating bark, crape myrtle is the ultimate year-round specimen tree. And an established tree is both heat- and drought-tolerant, which saves the gardener time and money.

How to Plant a Crape Myrtle:

  1. Decide where in your garden the crape myrtle should go. They need full sun and good air circulation. It will grow in most soil as long as there is good drainage.
  2. Choose a variety that won’t outgrow its space or need to be constantly pruned. Since crape myrtle comes in many different sizes and growth habits, let a Garden Center associate help you find the one best for your site.
  3. Dig a hole three to four times as wide as the container. You want to make it easy for the plant’s roots to grow outward. The hole should not be deeper than the height of the container.
  4. Ease the plant out of the pot. If the roots were growing in a circle in the pot, gently spread them out.
  5. Set the plant in the hole so that the place where the trunk meets the roots is at the soil line — not too high and not too deep.
  6. Replace half of the soil and lightly press it down, making sure to eliminate air pockets. Water gently.
  7. Replace the rest of the soil, making a shallow saucer of soil around the perimeter of the hole like a moat to hold water.
  8. Water gently but deeply. A strong jet of water will wash away soil.
  9. Mulch with pine straw, shredded leaves or shredded wood mulch. Pile the mulch 3” deep around the plant, keeping it away from the trunk. Do not mulch like a volcano.
  10. For the first two months after planting, water at least once a week if there is no rain.

Tip:

After the flowers fade, crape myrtle produces attractive seedpods. The seeds can sprout where you don’t want them, so remove fallen seeds when you see them.

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