Crepe Myrtle Watering Help

zotieSeptember 3, 2009

Can anyone offer up any advice on how to properly water crepe myrtles? I recently planted some in a new back yard (Mid July) and I want to make sure that I am correctly watering them. There are four trees and one shrub. As it stands right now all of them have a 1/2gph emitter to them and they receive 30min of irrigation every other day. The srub and three of the trees get some over spray from the sprinklers. I'm worried that I may not be watering enough. The shrub is fine but 3 of the trees look ok/ slightly stressed and one tree looks very water stressed. I gave it a good soaking and it seemed to perk back up. The problem is the soil here is very hard & non porous. It doesn't drain very well... water seems to pool up on it and then it will eventually drain in. Once moist the soil is very clay-ie and remains moist for a while. It seems like the top drys out but the bottom layers are still moist. Can anyone adivse me on how to properly water these trees and also when to fertilize them and with what?


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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

A half gallon emitter run for 30 minutes every other day supplies only one quart of water every other day.

And even if the emitter is directly on top of the rootball, the rootball is going dry.

Further, if you didn't presoak the empty planting holes, that's another reason why the trees are droopy.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 7:13PM
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My mistake they aren't 1/2 gallon emitters they are 1 gallon emitters going for 30 min thus 1/2 gallon every other day... So how much water do these trees need?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 8:32PM
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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Let me offer my experience with crapemyrtle. I have four plants and three varities in a regional area that often gets long dry spells. My soil is heavy clay. During drought I water my crapemyrtles slowly but HEAVILY, to the point of runoff once per week. They love it, grow and bloom their tails off. However, on this regimen, if I forget for a week their bloom drops off greatly, so constancy is important.
I go a week between soakings so as to let the heavy soil open and breathe / oxygenate before the next watering. Works for me.
If you are in loamy or sandy soil this probably would not work for you, twice a week might work, especially if you provide a good 3" of mulch. To me, the smaller amount of water you can give to provide the maximum bloom is the right answer. The more you can make the plant "reach" the stronger it becomes over time.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 9:38PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Until your crapes get established, you will have to provide more frequent watering. With the way you describe your soil, a good soaking (as Hortster described) once a week will probably be about right. I'll also reemphasize what he said about making the plants reach for their water (watering deeply and over a broad area, less frequently). There is one caveat to that though. If your crapes' rootballs are drying out in between waterings, more quickly than the surrounding soil (because of dissimilar soil), you will have to take that into account until your trees become established. When checking soil moisture, always check the rootball as well as surrounding soil.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2009 at 8:38AM
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