why won't my crepe myrtles bloom profusely (pics)

Bridget HelmJune 28, 2010

i asked for natchez whites. i think that's what they gave me. however, the leaves look bigger than the others i see around town. i wanted natchez white because the ones i see in town are COVERED in white blooms. why aren't mine blooming like those? they are a little over 2yrs old. i gave them a little osmocote a couple months back. oh, and no, i have never cut them to nubs.

this one is blooming a little more than the other.

this one is not blooming as much as the other

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Carrie B(6B/7A)

"A little over two years old" is pretty young. I'd expect in a year or so it'll be blooming well. Also, I'd avoid the osmocote. Fertilizer can encourage foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

On another note, it looks like your trees may be planted too deep. Can you post a close-up of the trunks as they enter the soil?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 6:39PM
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Bridget Helm

i've been wondering if they were planted too deeply. what's the effect on trees that are. i've heard that it's not "good" but have never heard why.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:03PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

First, are you pretty sure that they other crApe myrtles around town are 'Natchez'? There are many other white blooming cultivars.

Second, ...everything carrieb said.

A tree planted too deeply (depending on multiple factors) can become unhealthy or die. Planting too deeply can smother roots and cause root and trunk rot. You can find many post with details in this forum (or ask for more specifics).

IF your tree is planted too deeply, that would make me also wonder if the other planting parameters were good. BTW, it's unlikely that planting problems would effect bloom at this point and in this situation.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:47PM
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Your crape myrtles are Nanchez Whites.
The bark is orange, and peeling beautifully.
Your tree is not planted too deeply.
They are both growing fine, and look good.
The problem is the gorgeous green grass on the lawn right next to your myrtles.
Do you have a lawn service?
Do you fertilize your lawn yourself?
Lawn fertilizer is pure nitrogen.
Nitrogen tells the trees to grow tall, not bloom.
Remember how the roots spread out underground.
Your one tree is blooming fine. There is nothing wrong with it.
If you have a problem with the other one, it is either too much lawn fertilizer too close to the tree, or a lack of potassium in the soil.
But, the tree that is bloomiing is growing in the same soil, which rules out the lack of potassium.
Yeap, its the lawn fertilizer.
If you feed the lawn yourself, don't apply fertilizer close to that tree for the rest of the summer.
If your service does, watch him the next time he feeds it.
By the way, they are gorgeous trees.
Love the bark on them, and they are so young to look that good!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:21AM
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Dan Staley

I don't like the mulch or soil so high up on the multiple trunks. Otherwise, as above, it is obvious to me that there is too much N fertilizer around the tree - look at the long, lanky growth for only two years (?!). Cut the fert back and patience.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 9:20AM
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Natches Crepe myrtles usually grow fast when they are young and are one of the potentially tallest growing cultivars of CMs.

Yours likely get the right amount of water they like during their spring growth flush, and the nitrogen issue will definately compound that fast growth issue.

The tree that is not blooming could be getting less direct sun rays. Is there a tall tree or some other structure that is out of the shot, but which is tall enough to cast signifcant hours of shade on that CM. If so that could be another reason you CM is not blooming yet, even though the Natches on the other end of the house has begun to bloom.

Personally if I wanted a corner accent CMs I would not have chosen the Natches cultivar. Especially considering that those multi trunks have the potential to get overly thick and the canopy they each produce can end up being more massive than one would think they might want spreading so close to the corner of house.

Guess to avoid such issues, either late winter or very early next spring, you could do corrective pruning that transforms your Cms to single trunk trees. but whether or not you choose to do that you will find the you also will need to yearly raise each tree's canopy, until the yearly pruning time arrives when your trees are tall enough that their canopies are higher than your roof line and are no longer close enough to hang down on and brush against your house shingles.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:08AM
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Bridget Helm

ok. thank you everyone. we are currently experiencing branches brushing up against house. as they get taller, it won't be as much of a problem. i'll prune accordingly this winter.

i will also avoid the centipede weed and feed in that area. i used weed and feed last year, but not this year....yet. i was planning on spreading it tomorrow morning actually. i'll be sure to do it away from the trees. i may not get to it before alex's flooding rains start. i'll probably hold off.

there's no shade around other tree. it doesn't get as much water, however. the one blooming more has our garden hose near it, which leaks when i use it, creating a soaker effect, since i use the hose a lot.

anyhow, that was all good news. i'll take heed to your advice and have some patience. thanks!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 11:53PM
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I was going to say, that grass doesn't look like it's been fertilized recently to the point it would cause the tree to do anything abnormal. It might have been the osmocote though.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Bridget Helm

should i add potassium to the soil. i don't like the long lanky growth either, so i'm guessing it's the weed and feed or osmocote

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Dan Staley

Why do you need to add potassium to the soil? Did a test find a deficiency? If not, stop with all the fert and leave it alone.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:19PM
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Bridget Helm

dan, someone earlier said that it may need potassium. i gave them osmocote ONCE in two years and have fertilized my grass ONCE in two years - so it's not like i'm a fertilizing fool.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:33PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Dan's advise was exactly on target. You need to get a soil test before adding any fertilizer. Generally, trees don't need fertilizer anyway.

If you want to do something positive for your crape myrtle, remove the mulch piled up against the trunks. Mulch shouldn't touch the trunks.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 11:35PM
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