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Old 06-19-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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The house we recently bought has 2 large (completely untrimmed) and 3 small crepe myrltes in the back yard against a fence that abuts greenbelt. None of them bloomed this year. I imagine it is because they are shaded by other big trees (at least the small ones are), but I frankly don't know why they wouldn't bloom. Even if they did bloom, they are too much for this fence line. They supply no services (shade, flowers, fruit), and gulp water. I would prefer to eventually have a productive back yard with fruit trees and a garden. It will probably be a long time before this happens, as there is a lot of work to do, but my son and I just took the smallest CM down to a tall stump (we love how we can now see the big oak tree behind us in the green belt). Now we need to kill it (the CM, not the oak). I have heard that these trees are hard to kill, and I am wondering if anyone has any ideas about how to do this without poisoning my yard. In years past, when we were in CA, I had to kill 3 eucalyptus trees without poison, as the roots connect to other living trees, and I did it by going out and clearing them of shoots every week, so eventually starving the roots to death. It took a little over a year to actually kill them. If I do that to the CM, will it take that long, or is there a faster way?
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Round Rock
482 posts, read 1,145,210 times
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I had an arborist cut down my diseased photinias. He said to keep it from coming back he told me to immediately apply concentrated round up with a brush to the stump right after he cut it down. He cut three down 1 1/2 years ago and they didn't grow back. My neighbor tried it on his crape myrtle - 1 yr ago - and so far so good. But the arborist said it had to be a fresh cut to immediately soak in or it wouldn't work.

It's good to know that starving the roots to death by cutting the shoots down every week work too. I have a vine that will not go away.
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Old 06-19-2011, 04:44 PM
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Location: San Antonio
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Some of the gardening radio shows in this area refer to the process of cutting all of the branches off of crepe myrtles over the winter and forcing them to grow new branches every spring as "crepe murder." I have a neighbor who does that faithfully every winter and it never seems to faze his bush.
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Old 06-19-2011, 06:01 PM
 
Location: central Austin
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Cm shouldn't gulp water! Lack of sun can keep them from blooming, I love them.

You may find fruit trees to be a tremendous amount of work, good luck!
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:15 PM
 
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If there are main trunks going into the ground that are large enough to drill a hole into (maybe a 1/2 inch or so and maybe 1 inch deep - I angle it downward), you can pour the highest nitrogen fertilizer you can find into that hole and it will kill the plant. You may have to put the fertilizer into the hole 2-3 times, but it will kill it. You can wrap a cloth or duct tape around the hole to keep the fertilizer in place. You can do this with trash trees also. I killed a volunteer mulberry tree that started along my fence line with this technique.
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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Crepe Myrtles are fantastic trees for this climate. They need very little water and their trunks are beautiful throughout the winter. They may also not be blooming due to the drought. I hate to see perfectly good trees that aren't causing problems killed.
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Old 06-20-2011, 12:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiacook View Post
Crepe Myrtles are fantastic trees for this climate. They need very little water and their trunks are beautiful throughout the winter. They may also not be blooming due to the drought. I hate to see perfectly good trees that aren't causing problems killed.
I appreciate your point of view. The fact is that my back yard is very small and is very much over-treed. I have a great big Bur Oak, great big pecan, and all these crepe myrtles, as well as many overgrown bushes. The smaller CMs are frankly ugly, as they are shaded and crowded, have many dead branches, and they don't allow us to see the beautiful oaks in our greenbelt. I think someone in the past planted nice little crepe myrtle bushes, too close together, on the fence line, and no one pruned or took care of them and they grew into a big, tangled, unhealthy mess. That's why some of them have to go. But I understand about generally being hesitant to cut down any tree. (My big trees need pruning, too, and I will eventually have to get a tree service in for that, I imagine.)
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:29 PM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centralaustinite View Post
Cm shouldn't gulp water! Lack of sun can keep them from blooming,
Two good points. I've always heard CMs prefer their soil a little on the dry side. It's the shade that is keeping them from blooming.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:54 PM
 
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Well, I think I exaggerated a little when I said they gulp water. I was mostly meaning that I don't want to water plants that I don't value. It makes sense to me that crepe myrtles do fine even when you cut off all the leaves. Trees with smooth, pigmented bark often photosynthesize using the bark, and that can see them through that period. Some trees also store a lot in their roots. I don't know if that is true with CMs. Also, if they don't bloom because of shade, there is nothing I can do about that, since I am not going to cut down my oak or pecan trees. The crepe myrtles were just planted in the wrong spot. Right now my 'stump' is about 5 feet tall. I am going to wait until I am ready with the Round Up before I cut it all the way down, per instructions. Thanks, all, for your assistance.
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Old 02-11-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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We live in NC. Our crepe myrtles have large knots where evidently we improperly cut the trees. Trees are 13 years old and about 15 feet tall. Should we prune below the knot?
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