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When Do Crape Myrtles Get Leaves: 4 Important Points

Crepe myrtle, or crape myrtle, is a multi-stemmed shrub or tree with colorful crepe paper-like blooms. The common crepe myrtle grows to be 25 feet tall, whereas the Japanese crepe myrtle grows to be 50 feet tall.

These are two species of crepe myrtle. According to the USDA, these plants should be grown in plant hardiness zones 7 to 9 and 6 to 9.

When do crape myrtles get leaves? This article has the answer. Continue reading!

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Crape Myrtles – via Flickr

When Do Crape Myrtles Get Leaves?

Crepe myrtles often leaf out in late March or early April. Flowers occur in early to midsummer, depending on the type.

Crepe myrtle is a deciduous tree that blooms in the spring. The leaves turn yellow, orange, and crimson in the fall, then drop to cover the soil, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden. It remains dormant during the winter, which means it absorbs relatively little water through its roots.

This is the best season for the plant to leaf out in areas where winter temperatures might drop to 20 or 30 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods of time, with the last frost usually occurring in early March.

The inactive, or dormant, buds on a crepe myrtle begin to swell a few weeks later as the shrub begins to absorb water from the warm ground. Despite the fact that spring temperatures vary from year to year, crepe myrtle leaves sprout on the branches 2-3 weeks after the last frost, or late March or early April.

Optimum Blooming Time

The crepe myrtle, like all plants, receives a signal to begin blossoming as the days become longer and the season unfolds. The flowering period differs slightly across varieties.

Crepe myrtles begin flowering in early to mid-summer, and they often continue blooming throughout the summer and into early fall, with some types blooming until the first frost, according to Clemson Cooperative Extension.

Deadheading, or removing wasted blooms before they dry and generate seeds, may prolong the blooming period of a crepe myrtle. Removing faded petals, according to Moon Valley Nurseries, promotes the plant to produce a second flush of blossoms, though this one may be smaller than the first. Allow the tree’s remaining fall blossoms to mature into beautiful seed heads that provide food for wildlife.

How To Make Sure Your Plant Produces Leaves

Mulching the area under a crepe myrtle in the winter and early spring can help keep its roots warm, but mulch it in the fall or early winter when the plant is leafless and dormant. Mulching while the plant is still growing may keep the roots too warm and prevent dormancy, exposing the plant to cold damage when winter arrives.

Spread 3 to 4 inches of straw or shredded bark on the ground beneath the plant’s canopy, keeping mulch away from the plant’s base to prevent moisture buildup.

To get rid of overwintering insects and their eggs, remove the winter mulch in the early spring and replace it with a new layer to assist retain soil moisture for the following season. To get the crepe myrtle off to a good start, water it regularly in the spring as the buds begin to expand.

Keep in mind, however, that you should not overwater it. Every week, aim for 1 inch of water, including rain.

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Crape Myrtles – via Flickr

Watching Out For Pests

Aphids are soft-bodied insects that feed on the sap from leaves, causing them to wilt and dry out. They are attracted to the crepe myrtle, which is generally a hardy, easy-to-grow plant. If not managed properly, aphids can attach themselves to flower buds and destroy them before they open.

The most effective technique to control aphids is to spray the crepe myrtle with insecticidal soap which is diluted at the rate of 6 tablespoons per one gallon of water. Repeat as needed every week or two until all plant parts are dripping wet.

Crepe myrtles are susceptible to powdery mildew, a fungus that generates fluffy white patches on leaves, and sooty mold, a fungus that causes blackish, fuzzy areas. Both have the potential to hinder the growth of leaves and blooms.

The best approach to avoid them is to grow a crepe myrtle where air circulates effectively and debris is removed from beneath the plant on a regular basis.

What To Do If The Plant Has No Leaves?

Crepe myrtles are one of the last plants to leaf out in the spring. Many gardeners worry that something is seriously wrong when the only problem is that the tree’s time has not yet come. The time of year is influenced by the weather. If you don’t see leaves by mid-spring, look for tiny leaf buds on the branches. If the tree’s buds are healthy, you’ll see leaves soon.

You should also ask yourself whether a crepe myrtle tree is possible to grow in your climate zone? Crepe myrtles can endure temperatures ranging from U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9 depending on the variety.

If winter temperatures are too cold or if a freeze happens too late in the year, leaf buds might be damaged. In regions where there are no freezing temperatures during the winter, the tree does not receive the customary signal that winter has passed. Crepe myrtles need frigid temperatures followed by warm weather to know when to come out of dormancy.

If your crepe myrtle isn’t leafing out, check the buds. Remove a leaf bud by cutting it in half. If it’s green on the outside but brown on the inside, it’s been injured by late frost. AD Buds that have turned entirely brown indicate that they have been dead for a long time.

This indicates that the tree has been plagued by a long-term problem. With a scraper, remove some of the bark near the dead buds. If the wood behind the bark is green, the branch is still living. Trim the branch back to where the wood is still healthy if you come across deadwood.


Conclusion

If you want to know about when do crape myrtles get leaves, this article can be perfect for you in getting you familiar with how the plant works.

Happy gardening!