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celestina89

@granky:

Crape myrtle is a non-native shrub/tree. It has a shallow root system and won't harm your house or driveway as long as you keep murdering it annually by cutting the top off.

If you let it do what it does, with a little pruning every couple years or so, it will grow into a beautiful specimen with bloom for a long time.

These are photos of my 3 Crape myrtles. They are about 50' in height and even wider - in the crown. They are planted about 50 plus feet from my house next to a chain link fence. They were planted 23 years ago. I had to prune (not top) them about every two years until their trunk system became established. After that, I only pruned them when necessary.


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granky

celestina89... beautiful trees! Looks like mine, though mine are red.


Thanks for the detailed information. Such commonsense! I often wonder about the closeness of the trees to houses because it drives me nuts when I see a beautiful house (in my neighborhood, and then when I am looking at houses to buy) with trees planted right up against a house. Just seems so wrong... so thanks for the "rules."

Yikes. Here in NC, for some reason, people DO murder their crepes! Gorgeous tall umbrella crepes... they often just lop off the entire umbrella, leaving naked trunks... why?? So sad, and they never look the same the following bloom season. Ugh.

Thanks again for the thoughtful response. ;-)

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celestina89

Crape myrtles which are native to Southeast Asia, mainly China. They were introduced to US over 200 years ago. The genius is Lagerstroemia with more than 50 species. The most common Crape myrtle in the US originated from Lagerstroemia indica. Most all cultivated varieties originated prior to 1960. Until then they were grown like I have them - unpruned or topped off aka 'Crape Murdered". Due to lack of land in cities and other urban lots (suburbs), landscape architects discovered ways of shrinking them to small areas so they could be patio trees and be planted close to houses. And that's the way you see them in many cities and 'burbs today.

Another species popular today comes from Japan, L. fauriel which has disease resistance to powdery mildew that the first species has.

Today, you can choose from 120 known varieties of Crape myrtles. They come in many different varieties of colours from white to pinks to reds, to lavenders and purples with every hue in-between. Crape myrtles are one of the most widely hybridized plants around. University of Georgia Extension has a publication you can view in PDF or via your browser called "Crape Myrtle Culture". They also lists all the colours available.

Although non-native, they are popular. On my property, they are visited by some bees, but not many. Most of the bees, butterflies and birds in my area tend to hang around the natives I have which are more plentiful than my non-natives. They will search out nectar of the Crape Myrtle if natives aren't available, but mostly they will tend to search elsewhere for what their biological system needs. That's why it's important to plant at least 50% native on your property.

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