How To Protect Crape Myrtle Tree From Cold Weather

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How do I protect Crape Myrtle Trees from Long Island winters. Should I wrap or tie it up?


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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Patricia - You can go into your personal profile here in Gardenality and change your USDA Zone from what it is now: Zone 8a to Zone 7a or 7b. Not exactly sure which zone you're in? If you haven't noticed, your zone is appears right underneath your name above. You can probably ask someone at a local nursery and garden center in your area. To change your zone, go to your personal profile here in Gardenality by clicking on the 'My Garden' tab in the top right corner of this page. When you get to your profile, click on the 'My Profile & Account' tab. Then, from the drop down menu that appears, select 'Manage My Account'. Then select your zone. Let me know if you have any problems finding this or have any questions.

3 years ago ·
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Answer #1 · Brent Wilson's Answer · On the newest USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, Long Island is in zone 7. However, zone 7 is a little different in Long Island than say in zone 7 of Georgia. Long Island does not get the intense heat Georgia does. Also, while winter lows go down to the same numbers (around 0 Fahrenheit), Long Island can have extended periods with single digit numbers while in a more southern zone 7 these low temperatures will occur on a few nights during winter. So, if you're having problems with die-back on your crape myrtle, it's probably due to the longer duration of single digit temperatures. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do to protect the tops of crape myrtle trees from severe cold. You can always apply mulch to protect the roots. That being said, there are types of crape myrtle that are more cold hardy.

There are several species of crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) and some have better tolerance to cold than others. In general, Lagerstroemia 'indica' species are hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 9 but are often killed to the ground in severe winters in Zone 7. But even if a severe winter kills most of the top growth on your crape myrtle, it is capable of growing back in a relatively short period of time. Since they bloom on the new growth, the injured plants are able to produce flowers as well. In the coldest portions of their range Lagerstroemia 'indica' probably won’t be able to develop a main trunk and the beautiful exfoliating bark that they are known for developing further south.

On the other hand, I've heard that Lagerstroemia 'fauriei' - the ones with the Indian names, such as 'Natchez', 'Muskogee', 'Miami', 'Souix', and 'Tonto', are reliably hardy as far north as USDA Hardiness Zone 6. The hybrids that have Lagerstroemia fauriei as a parent are hardier than Lagerstroemia indica cultivars, and develop into large specimens even in the colder parts of Zone 7.

If you want to grow crapemyrtle in northern areas, various microclimates and cultural practices can enhance hardiness. Avoid excessive watering, pruning, or fertilizing in the fall which forces new growth that will not have time to harden off and is likely to be killed by winter cold. Avoid planting against south-facing walls which hold and radiate heat and may cause premature breaking of dormancy during brief winter warm spells. Established crapemyrtles fare much better than younger ones when it comes to withstanding the vagaries of winter weather because of their increased trunk size and decreased tendency to grow rampantly late in the season. Keep in mind that crape myrtles are heat loving shrubs/ trees, and may not bloom as well in cooler climates.

Hope this info helped.)



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Answer #2 · Kathy Foster's Answer · Should I cover my newly planted crepemyrtle tree planted in Oct. It will be -2 in Louisville tonite)

Kathy Foster Answered by Kathy Foster 9 months, 2 weeks ago
Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F

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Kathy Foster

Kathy Foster · Gardenality Seed · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
This is my question should I cover my newly planted cm tree planted in Oct. I am zone 6 it will get -2 finite in Louisville ky.

9 months, 2 weeks ago ·
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Brent Wilson

Brent Wilson · Gardenality Administrator · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
If the tree is dormant it should be okay with cold weather. Being that we're in January now and have an unusually cold arctic blast on the way, and that you're in zone 6, you want to make sure that the soil around the roots is wet to avoid freeze drying. Also, you could wrap and tie the tree in a blanket or plastic to protect it from winds. I hear the temps are gonna be quite low. Last time there was a deep freeze like this, with temps well below zero in many areas, the tops of many plants and trees were damaged, but some came back from the roots in spring. Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best. - Brent

9 months, 2 weeks ago ·
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