Assessing Winter Damage to Crepe Myrtles

It is interesting to note that most plants will have survived the harsh winter of 2007, however, they did receive an extreme cold shock that may be seen all the way down to the plant’s roots. It is likely that the damage will not be as extensive to those plants that were still dormant at the time of the latest freezes but for those that were starting to bloom the damage is likely to be more severe.

To what extent crepe myrtles were damaged due to the freeze may vary with cultivator, plant location and degree of development at the time of the freeze so don’t be in a big hurry to prune plants back to the ground. Your plants will let you know how drastically they were damaged as new shoots begin to emerge. If the only shoots you see are growing up from the base of the plant it is probably time for you to do some diagnostics.

To begin a diagnostic assessment of your plant take a knife to see where the green plant tissue immediately under the bark begins since this will tell you which portion of that stem is still alive and which part needs to be pruned away. Fortunately for those of you who love your crepe myrtles they bloom later in the summer on new wood so even though the cold weather may have naturally pruned them back further than you would have liked they will survive and bloom for you once again.

[tags]gardening, crepe myrtle, winder damage, plant assessment, pruning tips, freeze of 2007[/tags]