oldfella1962
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Augusta Georgia

Crepe Myrtle frost hazard?

Here in Georgia the weather was 89 degrees in March, and the leaves developed on my two Crepe Myrtles. Of course, the temperature dipped to the high 20's for three days straight. Now the leaves on my myrtles are sagging and wilted. My question is this:
Will new leaves grow when real spring gets here? Or will the tree die when the temp shoots back into the 80's next week and the tree has no leaves? I mean, if this happens every year, theoretically there would be no mature Crepe Myrtles because the "false Spring" of growth and then killing frost would wipe them out every year. How hardy are Crepe Myrtles?

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

I think they will be fine. I have one that took a bad hit - I just covered everything I could before the freeze hit, but all my trees and shrubs look awful. Just be patient, things will pop back out again.

oldfella1962
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Augusta Georgia

Thanks - all the crepe myrtles in my neighborhood (even old ones) took a major hit. Two miles away, they didn't get damaged. I think the frost is a conspiracy by Lowes to sell more flowers to boneheads who never lived in Georgia before and understimate how cold it gets at night.

JRhoades
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:28 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

But should we prune back the dead leaves?? Or should we just leave them on and they will come back? All my leaves are dead and drooping, and it looks horrible.

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

I've left mine. Right now I can't tell what's alive and what's dead! When I can tell better (and this goes for almost everything in my yard, including a japanese maple) I'll go at them with the shears and tidy them up. So far, I can tell things are bouncing back fairly well, so I hope things will be ok. It was just a nasty surprise to everything to have such a deep late freeze like this.

Up here in the mountains, it SNOWED, I mean, big fat flakes, more than I think we had all winter. It was just crazy.

JRhoades
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:28 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

OK, thanks! I will give it a little time, but truthfully, it all looks completely dead. I just don't want to miss the window of opportunity to prune it and still get some blossoms. . . I don't know much about these trees; they came with the house!

User avatar
Grey
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:42 am
Location: Summerville, GA, Zone 7a

My neighbor heard that we should be giving our plants lots of water to help them recover. However, we have had 2 days of steady rain, today was sunny and warm but tomorrow will again be rainy, so I see no reason to saturate my clay soil and put the plants under more stress!

What I did today, was I knocked off the leaves that would come off easily, I gently scratched around the bark in a few places to see what was alive yet, but I still haven't pulled out the clippers. I'm afraid to! Winters and frost damage are new to me, I came here 2 years ago from Florida, where this really doesn't happen. And if it does... anything you left out or uncovered is tropical and therefore dead!

oldfella1962
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Augusta Georgia

won't plant myrtle again

I sure learned my lesson - if these die, I'm not replacing them with more crepe myrtle. I'll get something that doesn't have such delicate leaves. No other permament bush or tree variety lost their leaves but crepe myrtle.
Another problem is they get their leaves too early. When I bought these from a nursery last year it got hot in March, and the leaves were already growing. Then the April freeze made them fall off, but they came back a week later. But this time the leaves were almost fully grown when the three days of frost hit. Two years of "false spring" are enough for me.
I'm getting something that can handle extreme and sudden temperature changes.

EastTenn
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:34 am
Location: East Tennessee

Don't give up on the

To the one that said you will not replace your crepe myrtle if it dies. Don' be too hasty to give up on them. They are hardy and beautiful trees. They will bounce back and let them grow into the trees they should be. A mature tree with the smooth white bark of age and large flowers can be a show item in the yard. Not sure what variety you have but I especially like the white flowering ones. I have just added two miniature shrubs to my yard. They are nice but nothing like the trees.

User avatar
!potatoes!
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1909
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

Grey wrote:My neighbor heard that we should be giving our plants lots of water to help them recover.
if they don't have leaves to help pull the water through, i'd be real hesitant to give additional water, especially if there's been rain. agreed, you'd just do more damage.

WildcatNurseryman
Senior Member
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:42 pm
Location: Lexington, KY.

A lot of Crepe Myrtles grow in Central KY and generally we don't have a great deal of complete kill from the cold. The limbs are killed only to a certain size caliper, and most years that is anything under pencil-sized.

There are more cold-hardy varieties, and I would advise planting those types if late freeze/harsh winter temps is a question.
These plants are from the Indian Tribe group of hybrids and include 'Hopi', 'Zuni', 'Cherokee', 'Catawba', 'Acaoma' and 'Lipan'.

Sometimes buying from the large box-stores makes planting in your particular area difficult because they don't necessaily sell the best plants for your site. Crepe Myrtles are a prime example of this ; others being roses, many perinnials and fruit trees.

Return to “Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges”