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Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Posted by vacquah VA (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 27, 12 at 13:48

I planted a Red Dynamite crape myrtle 4 years ago and the thing is simply not growing at all! Sometimes less than a foot a year! No diseases I can see and enough water( good drainage). I live in Northern Virginia. The leaves are not profuse and plentiful like I see in other myrtles in the area. Growth looks anemic. After 4 years, it looks like a small shrub - bought it at about 4 ft high. Still looks the same. What could be wrong?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Was it super rootbound when you planted it? How are other plants in the same area doing? A beautiful bloomer when healthy.
hortster


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

are there any dwarf CM's??

if planting is not the issue.. then mislabeling could be the issue ..

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Ken - I initially thought I bought the wrong tree and perhaps, it as a dwarf version. But haven't seen any references to a dwarf dynamite crape myrtle.

Hortster - Other plants are doing fine and growing well. Super root bound? - what is that?


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Dynamite (or 'Whit II', which is its botanical name - you can see why someone needed to patent a catchier one!) is not a dwarf, although I have found that it is not as fast-growing as some of the others. Also, yours sounds like it doesn't look healthy (your comment about the leaves), which it would if it were simply mislabeled and is really something else.

In NoVa you should be ok growing it, with the occasional winter dieback in cold years (my sister has 3-4 varieties of CMs in her garden in Annandale). Sounds like something is wrong with the specific plant, as the 'place' sounds ok. By 'super root bound', Horster is asking if the pot was really packed tight with roots going round and round - it is possible that it just never 'broke out' of that tangle. When things are not going well above ground and there is no likely disease or abiotic culprit, the roots are the likeliest suspect. If it has a girdling root or if the roots never extended past the pot size, all the fertilizer in the world wouldn't help...if possible you could do some excavating and see what the roots look like and if they have not grown you can score the sides of the rootball as one would when planting.

Good luck with it - as Horster said it is absolutely beautiful when healthy, and in fact is my favorite cm.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Hi formandfoliage - I am beginning to think it might be the roots. Better to plant a new one? Is it possible to fix if I completely uproot it and replant?

How fast does it grow? Certainly not less than a foot a year!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

I just transplanted a Dynamite to a more sheltered location. Honestly it grew amazingly well but suffefed dieback every winter.

The bush was maybe six feet tall, was way too involved a move. I should have just spent the $20 on a new one instead of reaking a shovel and my back moving that one.

It does look great in August though.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

its either mis-labeled or improperly planted .. more tomorrow

but i would like to know the source of the plant... bigboxstore????

i have theory ... but i need that one more fact

ken


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Where there's life there's hope, but you need to consider your time, your energy (your back and general achiness if you're my age) and the availability of a replacement. If it truly cost only $20 and you can get another, I'd pitch this one and start again. If you can't easily get this variety, or if it is much costlier, it may be worth trying to save.

Crape myrtles bloom on new wood and grow far more than 1' per year here and in the south (my parents in So Va had glorious specimens that were absolutely enormous). In NoVa you should be seeing more than 1'/year as well.

If you are near Washington DC there certainly should be some good local nurseries other than the "Axis of Evil" HD, L, etc. They might well be your best source of replacement plant and advice. Local advice, if trustworthy, is the best advice as they can calibrate the local conditions in ways that those of us in other climatic zones cannot.

Toronado3800 is in St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Gardens suggest that Lagerstroemia are best gown as perennials in that area because they often die to the ground.

You could still decide to uproot, examine and replant, and maybe even if you don't replant, examine the roots and see what you find. You could post your findings (with photos, even) on this site as there are lots of knowledgeable posters who could opine about the state of the roots and whether that was the problem.

This will teach you to ask a simple question! Now you have a homework assignment!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Ken - I bought it from a local garden place - very knowledgable and good staff. Not sure its a mislabeling issue - it does have the red dynamite colors ( unless it might be a dwarf version of some other red ?)

Formandfoliage - I am inclined to chuck it and get a new one - but saddens me I spent 4 years just waiting to see this thing take off. Not even sure I have the energy to uproot it! I am sure a 6 ft dynamite will be more than $20 around these parts. At least $100 or more!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

A two or three foot tall Dynamite is what my wife grabbed at Lowe's. $20ish. At six foot, especially after getting there and getting its zone7 self knocked back, it had quite the rootball. In no way was transplanting it worth the effort, shock to the shrub and broken shovel when I could have bought a replacement and had near 100% chance of successful transplant.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

here was my theory ... grower gets a contract from bigboxstore for 1000 plants .. but come performance time.. he doesnt have 1000 .. but he has the 1000 tags ...

so he gets the 950 he has .. and adds 50 more of whatever.. tags them all the same.. and sends them off.. contract complete .... and the only problem.. is years later.. when they dont perform to tag ..

one would expect that a knowledgeable seller would recognize the error ... or be buying from a better source ...

anyway ...

buy another ... plant it ... and INSURE that its roots are not all wound in circles.. breaking apart the root mass.. and following the instructions at the link below.. do not amend the soil.. and try to remove some of the potting media ...

and pay special attention to any suggestions regarding clay soil.. if you are dealing with that ...

now.. dig up the other.. and lets bare root it.. and find out what going on in that root mass.. i would love to see pix of it all ... and then replant it in native soil.. according to the link ...

no need to throw it away .. when there is a science experiment sitting right in front of you ... FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED ... and see if any of us guessed right ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

I am up for the science experiment! ( Suggested by both Ken and formandfoliage). Will dig it up in the next couple days and post pics here.

By the way, which crape myrtle grows the biggest? Have space enough for it ..


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Not sure what would work best in your area, but you are within spitting distance of the National Arboretum (which, if you have not been there, is worth a trip). They undertook a comprehensive crape myrtle breeding program in the 1960s that produced a number of lovely varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew. Some have incredibly decorative bark, as well. There's a comprehensive list on the site that I link to below (maybe TOO comprehensive!), but you should decide what color flower, are you interested in decorative bark, then see if there is much variance in size. I haven't noticed much among the dozen or so varieties that I have, but I selected for disease resistance, flower color and bark, so didn't pay much attention to size. Good luck, you have some fun research to do. Let us know what you select. TWO homework assignments now!

Here is a link that might be useful: National Arboretum crape myrtles


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formandfoliage - Thanks for that great resource! - checking it out now. Which ones did you get? Intrigued with decorative bark types - have a few river birches around the house!

Ken - The link in your last post says we should remove the burlap and surrounding wire mesh when planting burlaped trees. This is contrary to what most people have told me, including folks from the local garden place. I am told to simply drop it in the hole! That is what was done for this crape myrtle. What is the general consensus on this? Should burlaped trees have all the burlap and wire mesh removed before planting? A difficult task for fairly large sized burlaped rootballs.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

I love Dynamite because I like both the dark/almost red flowers and the bronze leaves. Tuscarora is a good choice here; Natchez has great bark but is white which means the spent flowers are more noticeable. I also have Centennial Spirit, Cherokee (the ones with Indian names are all part of that Nat'l Arboretum program) and a few others whose varietal names escape me at the moment.

If you like bark (which I do - I have a river birch as well), it really pays to find varieties known for bark, as you will have great winter interest that way. My Dynamites are all on the young side - they are the last ones that I have planted, so do not have the age on them yet to showcase bark and I am not sure how their bark ranks. We run an equine hospital on our ranch and I used crape myrtles to 'decorate' the barn areas as we are summer-dry here so the paddocks/pastures are dusty and brown and the dramatic summer bloom of the cm's is a great way to liven things up, so I have literally dozens. If you play your cards right, you can get stunning bloom, good fall color and decorative bark in winter. The only real downside to them is that they are very late to leaf out.

I'll let Ken address the burlap and wire!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Ken - The link in your last post says we should remove the burlap and surrounding wire mesh when planting burlaped trees. This is contrary to what most people have told me, including folks from the local garden place.

==>>> they are idiots or old school ... and i will give them the benefit of doubt and call them old school ...

the link says.. do NOT AMEND THE HOLE ...

so why would you start by adding wire mesh and burlap ...

i avoid most of this.. by buying smaller stock.. because its cheaper ... and in a pot.. bare root them.. and plant them at the proper planting time.. and that resolved a vast majority of my prior problems...

now.. did you fail to mention these were giant ball and burlaps..???

this whole discussion would have taken a different turn.. but ended up at the same place ..

and the biggest problem with BB stock.. is the actual process of digging it.. who the heck knows.. if they cut off 95% of the roots .. and you wont know.. until you have death or performance problems... i am betting you dont have a root mass for the plant size to grow with vigor ...

ken

ps: and for a shiny penny i will tell you what i really think of the advice given ... lol


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Removing the wire prevents the tree's roots from having to encapsulate the wire. Removing the burlap allows you to catch any nylon string around the neck of the tree hidden under the burlap. Several years after planting an ash, with the nylon string off but the burlap still on, I began to see nylon string emerging from the ground at the base of the tree. I discovered that the tree had been resacked, leaving the first ball's nylon string on...fortunately I caught it in time. It also allows you to observe the level of the root system coming out of the ball and helps to make sure the root flare isn't planted too deep. Anyway, I have removed all of these things when planting ever since.
hortster
Photobucket


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

formandfoliage - After looking at the National Arboretum site, I liked the Natchez and Tuscarora a lot. Not sure if the Tuscarora grows as big as the Natchez but I love its soft shade of pink. Just called a friend at Merrifield garden center in Fairfax, VA - They have a multi stem Natchez for about $350 he says! ( fairly big size). I may just pop over to take a look, but a bit too expensive for me.

Ken - So you reckon it is simply a problem where the roots were savagely cut off during the burlap process ? So just give it time to grow some more? Perhaps continue the fertilization another year or two to stimulate root growth?

hortster - That picture I hugely helpful to me - knowing I can dig around like that to look at the roots and perhaps remove the top of any old burlap. Now I need to make a decision to either give it another year with the fertilization or just rip it out and investigate the roots.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Vacquah you better watch out or you won't have any time to do anything else but follow up on your posts here!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

"Dynamite (or 'Whit II', which is its botanical name - you can see why someone needed to patent a catchier one!)..."

Just technicalities I guess, but 'Whit II' is the cultivar name, not really a botanical name. And, names are not patented, they are trademarked.
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"They have a multi stem Natchez for about $350..."

ROFL....$350 for a crape myrtle....ROFL some more.
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At this point, I'd probably cut the old crape off just above ground level and apply glyphosate to the freshly exposed phloem. This will kill the roots and keep you from having a small forest of suckers pop up when you remove the stump. After a week or so, I'd dig up and remove the stump. Then I'd go down and buy a replacement in a 5-gallon or smaller sized plant (or very small b&b specimen) and wait a few years. Crapes can grow very rapidly when happy, and buying one for $350 is unimaginable to me (unless you are trying to find ways to get rid of unwanted money).


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Well, it is Patent Pending #10296 that protects 'Whit II' from commercial growth and distribution by others so patent is close enough for government work, which in this case, it certainly is!

I used 'botanical' loosely to distinguish it from the, shall we say, commercial name. I was not sure if it was a cultivar or a purposely hybridized variety.

Whatever you call it, I agree, I wouldn't spend $350 on a Lagerstroemia (botanical name!) but I would not make that judgment for someone else.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

"Well, it is Patent Pending #10296..."

There is no pending patent. PP10296 was issued way back in 1998.

"...that protects 'Whit II' from commercial growth and distribution by others..."

Plant patents are in no way limited to commercial growth and distribution; they cover ALL unauthorized propagation and distribution (including cloning of your own legally-purchased plant for your own use on your own property). They also do not protect use of a name, just the physical plants. Trademarks are used to protect names.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!...ps

BTW, I just realized that maybe the PP could be mistaken for "patent pending". In the case of plant patents, the PP in front of the patent number stands for "plant patent".


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Thx...and yes, as a propagator for Master Gardener plant sales I know of the restrictions...in fact, the 'patent police' like to come to non-profit sales particularly because they figure that non-profits are too uninformed to understand what they can and cannot do. Fortunately, our Farm Advisor (what California calls Extension Agents) was all over this way back when when we started.

I was short-cutting, sacrificing precision for practicality, as in reality no private gardener is really at risk of anyone stopping them from propagating their own plant for their own use. I defy the authorities to converge on my property and see what I have sexually or asexually reproduced! Anyway, in this area, any authorities that are interested in what I am growing are generally the DEA...

Thx on the PP - yes I read it as 'patent pending' just assuming that was an old citation but good to know it means plant patent. So, since we are in the weeds of precision, is the plant patented or trademarked or both? Or is the plant patented and the name trademarked? At this point, do we care?

I am NOT going to ask my husband the lawyer to weigh in on the patent vs trademark issue - thank goodness we are growing plants because we like them, not because of their names! :)

Thx!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Ken - So you reckon it is simply a problem where the roots were savagely cut off during the burlap process ? So just give it time to grow some more? Perhaps continue the fertilization another year or two to stimulate root growth?

==>>> no i am saying a certain %'age are beyond redemption ... they never recover .. hence the science experiment.. to SEE what happened ...

i NEVER fertilize trees, conifers or shrubs .. they either survive.. or they dont.. and when they die.. it is NOT a food/fert issue ... presuming any kind of decent soil ... and my sand is not much of a soil.. but the trees simply dont need food ... IMHO ...

a bit of this or that is not going to hurt ... but it isnt going to save a plant ...

ken


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

"...as in reality no private gardener is really at risk of anyone stopping them from propagating their own plant for their own use."

Yes, kind of like sneaking over the fence and stealing an apple from an orchard, you're not as likely to get caught and prosecuted, but it has (and can) happened. However, IMO it's still beneficial to know and understand the law regarding this stuff.

"I defy the authorities..."

You remind me of the people that refuse to pay income tax. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

"...is the plant patented and the name trademarked?"

exactly


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Huh? Income tax? I guess it's the season!

And what one does on one's own property for one's own use is rather different from sneaking over a fence.

I get your point, but you are taking this way more seriously than I was!

Cheers,

Sara


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

How did a talk about reviving the life of a crape myrtle deteriorate into a talk about taxes, patent laws and cross fence raids? ! Love it!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

See what you started!!!!

This just in from Associated Press:

A middle aged woman dressed in a dirty sweatshirt and Carhart work pants was seen viciously hacking an Abelia Kaleidoscope with a pair of Felco 6s and taking its trademarked name in vain. Under observation of authorities, she proceeded to dip some of the severed pieces in rooting hormone and stick them in a prepared flat of material, indicating premeditation, which in California might qualify her for 'special circumstances'. The Federal Agent, when interviewed, allowed as how he had been in the copter overhead searching for large marijuana plantings, generally restricted to more northerly counties. When asked if this was a disappointing outcome to his investigations, he refused to characterize it as such. "All crimes are equal", he declared, "and we intend to throw the book at her." The perpetrator showed no remorse, and her only comment was that she hoped that the book was Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Maybe the apple analogy wasn't great. I was thinking that they were both illegal and were both forms of theft, but, since the value of the apple would be less and the crime wouldn't require as much premeditation, I guess the illegal propagation might be worse. Maybe a better analogy would be forging an artist's masterpiece.

Oh well, no time to ponder this more right now; I have some cuttings to plant.


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Good job! Go plant and have some fun. That's what it is all supposed to be about. In the meantime, I'll work on my forging skills!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

vacquah, run up to Behnke's. There is one on River Road in Potomac and another larger store off the beltway on route 1. They usually have a wonderful selection of just about anything and lots of crape myrtles. I bought four from them last fall. Although Merrifield has good plants and I have bought several trees from them, they are expensive. Behnke's is by far my favorite nursery around here and worth the drive, You don't need to buy a $350 crape myrtle! Planted correctly and in a good spot, a small one will be that big in a couple of years!


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

formandfoliage - You really ought to consider a career as a writer! A mystery and crime writer, no less!

cyn427 - Thanks for the tip. I live almost 45 minutes drive from the River Road area, but may certainly check them out next weekend. The screams about a $350 8-10 ft crape myrtle has certainly made me look elsewhere. I know everyone says buy a small one and it will grow pretty quickly - how quickly will it get to be something sizable in the 12 - 15 ft range? 5 years? Hence my preference for something a bit further along.

Besides the crape myrtle, I am also hunting for an Adirondack Crab Apple - anyone heard of it or seen it?? Can't find it anywhere around here! Lovely upright growing crab apple. ....

As for the dynamite crab apple, I noticed this morning that it has began to show small new shoots! I never seen it begin to show new growth until June! So something is up? Perhaps, it has broken out of its funk ?


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

formandfoliage, do you know if you can smoke Kaleidoscope abelia? Wow, man, how good is it? Dirr doesn't say. I got a basement...
hortster


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Why do you think that they call it Kaleidoscope? The colors and shapes are outta sight, man...


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

I live in Tucson and am in zone 9a. I am from the south and was surprised they can grow here. Bought a red dynamite and a Cherokee (of course like one of the prior posters notes, they were mislabeled and both were red dynamites.) they were about 6.5' at planting and are now about 7.5, but like yours, growth was anemic after planting. The trunk wasn't thickening and branches were twiggy and pathetic.

Come to realize that when adding amendments to the soil over the summer months to insulate moister from the 100+ degree temperatures, the crown became buried in 6" of dirt and the soil was really compacted. This morning, 37 deg outside and humid, I dug them both up, put in some more bottom soil, replanted them with the crown at ground level. They'll be fine for this summer. You may want to wash the roots down with a hose to get the "muck" off and then replant so the crown is right at soil level.

That's a common problem with crape myrtles, planting too deep. (Here we have to amend because our soils are completely alkaline and non-native trees will grow very sparsely without amendments.)


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Immobilus wrote: "Here we have to amend because our soils are completely alkaline and non-native trees will grow very sparsely without amendments."

Unless you can amend a large area (the entire area of the expected mature rootzone), amending has been shown, in numerous studies, to be contraindicated. Even when amending large areas, drainage is often impaired. Berms/raised-beds may be the answer in some circumstances.

The Myth of Soil Amendments

The Myth of Soil Amendments:

This post was edited by brandon7 on Sat, Feb 9, 13 at 11:19


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RE: Dynamite Crape Myrtle Not Growing!

Our soils are clay and sound, which equal cement. It's also highly saline. Amendment, particularly composted mulch, aerate the soil and allow salt accumulations to dissolve and drain. I tend to amend the soil in my entire backyard.


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