As I mentioned yesterday, I love my new dynamite red crape myrtle. While we are tending to ours, I wanted to share with you some information on planting, watering and pruning your own.
Crape myrtles will grow even under soil conditions that are adverse. They will grow and flower better however if you have taken the time to make good soil preparations. The hole for your crape myrtle should be at least two times wider than that of the root ball of your tree.
Be sure that you do not plant the tree any deeper than it sat in the container or field. You can backfill the hole with the same soil you removed as well as adding fresh soil to make sure that it contains nutrients. You should remove rocks and other debris from the backfill. After you have planted the tree and filled in the hole, water it thoroughly and settle the soil around the roots.
Then you want to add mulch in order to conserve the moisture and reduce weeds. The mulch will also help you to insulate the roots against weather temperature extremes. You should mulch more than just the area of the planting hole. Going out as much as two feet is a good plan. Remember – you want the roots to spread so you should mulch with that in mind.
Once your crape myrtle is planted, you should maintain watering it thoroughly at least once a week. In the absence of rainfall, you can use a five gallon bucket to make sure that five gallons are delivered to it daily for the first five to ten days. Then you should continue watering at least once a week for the first two months.
Within two to three months, the crape myrtle should have established its roots. Once it is established, the crape myrtle will tolerate drought. You can enhance the flowering of your tree during dry conditions if you water it regularly.
You should save any pruning work for the tree until late winter or very early spring. Pruning inspires the tree to begin new growth, if you prune in the late fall – frost could kill the tree if it is not completely dormant.