Saturday, July 24, 2010

Crape Myrtles in Midwest


Crape mytles are a small woody ornamental in the South. However, we can push the envelope and have a small shrub here in zone 5b. It may burn down to the ground or you may have some amount of the wood from the previous season hanging on. Don't panic when your plant doesn't bud out until early summer. They will be the latest shrub to get going each year.

Consult your local garden center pro to find out the hardiest for our area. If you can carry more wood through the winter, the more mature plant is more impressive. If you like to increase your chance of more wood in the spring, Larry Limburg of Clearfield Farms in Douglas County recommends putting a wire cage around the plant just like rose care. He stresses putting a foot of hay, as opposed to straw, inside the cage to insulate the plant. The average soul may consider this to be high maintenance butis not necessary to be successful

Plant on the south side of the house is the best advice Ken Wood of Family Tree Nursery and Garden Center can give you. In this type of microclimate, Ken estimates you will burn all the way to the ground every six out of every 10 years.

So have a little fun googling crape myrtle images and lust over the tree form. But take solace in knowing you can have a beautiful shrub.
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