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Why Is Bark Peeling Off Crepe Myrtle

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If you’re a new gardener and are planting one of your first crepe myrtles, you would be facing a number of unique challenges that you would never have expected to meet.

The tree might just be growing fine, and then the bark would start peeling. So what do you do in such a situation? If you ever find yourself asking the question, “Why is bark peeling off crepe myrtle?” The answer to that lies ahead in this article.

So keep on reading!

Why Is Bark Peeling Off Crepe Myrtle
Natchez crape myrtle bark – via Flickr

Why Is Bark Peeling Off Crepe Myrtle

One of the main concerns that a lot of gardeners have is that their tree is dying. They think that because the skin of the crepe myrtle is peeling off, the tree is going to die. But you don’t need to worry.

The bark peeling doesn’t really mean that anything is wrong with your tree. Let’s explore some of the reasons that they start shedding down below.

They Are Shedding Bark

As the crepe myrtle is growing, it starts shedding old bark from the previous years. It might be shedding its old bark from the summers, and you are here worrying about it.

This shedding often reveals somewhat mottled and colorful bark from underneath it. In one way, you could say that crepe myrtles are like snakes, just that they don’t slither and, well, aren’t poisonous.

You might be thinking that the plant is diseased when it starts shedding; however, rest assured, there is nothing wrong with your plant, and it is merely performing a natural phenomenon of shedding old skin.

Don’t unnecessarily start treating your tree with pesticides. It will damage the tree somewhat if a lot of it is sprayed on the tree without any bugs. Some pesticides also use harmful chemicals, which slightly damage the crop as well on which it is sprayed.

The peeling of the bark occurs when the tree has reached its maturity stage. This might even be several years after you’ve planted the tree. There’s no set timing for the peeling of the bark.

The crepe myrtle is a deciduous tree. Deciduous trees are those which shed their leaves each fall before going to sleep for the winter. During the winters, a lot of plants don’t get the proper sunlight that they need.

Moreover, due to the low temperature, plants enter this sort of hibernation phase where they don’t even need much water. To achieve this stage, the plant needs to shed its leaves so that there is no unnecessary energy consumption happening in the plant.

The term deciduous is perfect for these sorts of plants as it means ‘tendency to fall off.

Why Is Bark Peeling Off Crepe Myrtle 2
Crepe Myrtle – via

What To Do When The Bark Is Shedding?

If you keep asking yourself the question of why is bark peeling off crepe myrtle and what am I supposed to do when it starts shedding, keep on reading the article for more information.

Keep in mind that the bark of the tree is supposed to be shed. Therefore, it is not unnatural at all for the bark of the tree to start shedding. The wood underneath will look like a painting and will add some aesthetic value to your garden. Do not treat the tree with anything during this period.

Some crepe myrtles also flower. They flower in spring when most of the plants start flowering. This chain stops in the summers when the flowers start fading. After summers are gone, the leaves will turn stunning and develop a rich red color.

The bark coming off the tree can also be used for other purposes. For example, you can potentially use the bark as a nameplate which you can attach outside your house after painting on it. You can also add some more colors to the bark by making it a canvas. The bark is also fantastic for any type of decoration.

After the winters, the peeling bark will start leaving beautiful warm colors. These colors range from cinnamon to bright red to warm beige. Eventually, these colors do fade, but when they do, they turn into a lighter version of green and gray.

It is almost desirable that the bark of the crepe myrtle comes off, which will make room for newer wood on the tree. This will also increase the beauty of your garden and will increase the aesthetic appeal of your house.

What To Do If a Lot Of Bark is Peeling

If the crepe myrtle is losing its bark at an alarming rate, then there might be some underlying issue that needs to be examined. For example, scale insects might be living in the tree. These insects don’t really harm the tree, but they leave behind a sooty mold-like substance that will most likely attract harmful pests like aphids.

The bark could also peel in excess due to a fungal infection in the plant. In warm and wet weather, in mid to late summers, your tree might undergo a Cercospora leaf spot. This is a fungal infection that affects some trees. Your tree might also be going through powdery mildew. This occurs in the spring season.

Stopping The Bark From Peeling

What you can do to keep the bark from peeling is you can plant the tree in a spot where there’s a lot of sunlight. Good air circulation is also a huge plus point. Trees prefer sunnier places.

If scale insects are the reason behind the peeling of your bark, there’s a solution for that as well! You can spray neem oil on the bark of your tree to get rid of the mold that these leave behind.

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Suppose you keep on asking yourself the question of why is bark peeling off crepe myrtle. In that case, this article tells you a lot of reasons why your crepe myrtle might be undergoing shedding.

If you have any more queries, you can always reach out to us on the email provided.

Best of luck!