Sum­mer­time sen­sa­tion: The Crape Myr­tle

The Standard Journal - - LIFESTYLE - By Ricky Ens­ley [email protected]

Crape Myr­tles have put on their daz­zling display lately. Crape Myr­tles also are a flow­er­ing tree that needs care.

As Crape Myr­tle flow­ers fade, they turn to small hard green seed pods. Care­fully cut th­ese off, re-fer­til­ize and wa­ter the trees to ex­tend their sea­son of glory. Crape Myr­tles may bloom again. Be care­ful not to cut off the new flower buds. They are prob­a­bly form­ing just be­hind the old ones. For fer­til­iza­tion, use two cups of 10-10-10 per 100 square feet of bed space. Spread it evenly around the plant and wa­ter it in.

Crape Myr­tles need prun­ing of the un­wanted branches at the base of the plant.

Th­ese “wa­ter sprouts” or shoots make the plant look un­sightly and are best re­moved as soon as pos­si­ble. Also, re­move any weeds and re­new the mulch around the trees. We pre­fer to have two to four inch deep mulch around the tree out to the drip line.

Look out for pests. Aphids (aka plant lice) are 1/8 inch long and pear­shaped.

They suck plant juice and give off a clear residue which sticks to plant leaves. This is called honey dew. A sooty mold grows on this residue. The mold can be scraped off with your fin­ger­nail.

Con­trol aphids with reg­u­lar sprays of in­sec­ti­ci­dal soap, malathion, cyfluthrin, bifen­thrin or other la­beled chem­i­cals. Read and fol­low all la­bel di­rec­tions care­fully. A new chem­i­cal may give sea­son-long con­trol of aphids and other suck­ing pests.

Bayer Tree and Shrub In­sect Con­trol con­tains im­i­da­clo­prid and can be used as a drench around many or­na­men­tals. Con­trol can last up to a grow­ing sea­son. Al­ways read and fol­low all la­bel di­rec­tions when us­ing any pes­ti­cide.

Ricky Ens­ley

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