Crepe Myrtle Storm Damage

bobby1973November 3, 2011

Hi - hoping to get some feedback here. This past weekend's northeast storm caused one trunk on my crepe myrtle to snap off at the base of the tree. The tree had a total of 4 healthy trunks, but one trunk just couldn't bear the weight of the snow on its leaves. So now there are only 3 trunks. There was a little stump left where the trunk broke off the base of the tree. I used a bow-saw to remove that stump and make a clean cut as close to the base of the tree as possible. The tree still looks fairly nice, but it just doesn't have its 'full' looking appearance anymore. Do you think it'll be ok in the long run? Thanks for your advice!

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


a clean cut is best.. cant tell how high above ground it is ... its best to leave a few inches.. just to keep it out of the soil...

if you cut it right to soil.. pull back the soil.. just to encourage it to stay dry ...

otherwise.. ignore it.. you had no options.. you did your best ...

as to aesthetics ... you will probably be surprised how it fills in and takes a NEW shape.. forget about the old shape.. it will never be that again ...

but with a 1/4 reduction of the canopy .. and absolutely no root damage .. this thing could .. and probably will ... explode next year ...

MAYBE some training latter in the summer.. to achieve a new shape.. but i probably wouldnt bother .... i would proceed on the 'lets see what it does on its own' theory of shrub management.. lol.. thats a way of justifying being lazy.. lol ...

w/o a picture.. its hard to get any more specific ...


    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 12:15PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

It sounds like you did everything you could do and did it correctly. Your crApe myrtle should be fine (except for possible aesthetic concerns).

It will almost certainly start sending up many suckers next year around the cut trunk. You may want to choose one or two and see if they will "replace" the broken trunk, or, you can remove all of them and work with the remaining trunks. When you remove the suckers, it may help to pull/push them off when they are small rather than pruning them off or letting them get large before doing anything. Pulling the small shoot off will help, to some degree, discourage further resprouting. You'll still have to be vigilant through (probably for a couple of years) if you want to keep only a small number of trunks.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 12:49PM
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I would not worry about its future appearance. These trees and shrubs have a remarkable ability to recuperate from damage. After last winter, I was convinced one was dead, dead, dead. It did not regrow after the others had filled in and I was about to dig it out when I noticed many new shoots pushing out of the ground. It actually ending up being in better bloom for the season than the ones that were undamaged.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:06PM
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