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Old 08-22-2016, 08:52 PM
12,934 posts, read 5,945,347 times
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Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
I got my Horticulture and Landscape Design Degree from Oklahoma State University in 1979. Part of my training involved digging up trees and shrubs in the trail fields which had been planted 2-3 years prior using typical "good ol boy" amendments (It's been done this way forever), special mixes of amendments and nothing but native soil. Believe me it was hot as hades and horrible clay soil.

We had to take detailed notes about length of roots, direction of growth of roots as well as top growth. My teacher was a retired Extension Agent who had been on the job for 30 years. His eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw that, contrary to public thought, the plants in unamended soil were more vigorous and healthy in every way. Their growth rate was faster as well. My class also planted with different or no amendments and subsequent classes dug up ours to take notes on growth. Same thing happened.

Now for annual and perennial beds amendments are in order, especially in clay soil. I like Nature's Helper which is ground up pine bark. I also use mushroom compost and composted manure- depending which is available and sometimes all of it together.
I'm right behind you. I have a bachelor's in Ornamental Horticulture from a university in southern California. I learned the same thing back in the early 80s as you did. There's a lot of myths about horticulture that is handed down through the generations. Another one I learned is about not spraying cuts on trees with pruning seal. It does nothing to heal the tree and may even increase the chance of disease.
I tell people this and they look at me like I have two heads.
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:24 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,498 posts, read 45,482,905 times
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"Old habits die hard" It takes research and time to convince older folks that the old ways are not always the best ways. I remember being taught that pruning seal was not necessary and attracted insects and diseases. Even the young people in my class were aghast! "That's not what Grandpa said!".
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Old 08-23-2016, 05:36 AM
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Crape Myrtles grow like weeds, they will grow without any amendment and even more with here in South Carolina.
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Old 10-18-2016, 12:23 AM
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Default Crape Myrtles

I have experience with crape myrtles on San Francisco, CA on the west coast and in Virginia Beach, VA on the East Coast.

The difference it seems to me is how much and how often the tree or bush gets water. In california, they stay bushes because 6 months of the year it does not rain... and the 6 month it does it is not got sun so it is not growing season. Here we get the same amount of rain but it is over All 12 Months...

The trees grow out of all of them. They are either fast growers 15-24 inches/year, medium growers 8-14inches/year or slow growers 6-10 inches/year . They all would eventually grow to trees if let to grow long enough.

Crape Myrtles grow to 15-25 ft. They bloom (depending on your location) sometime between July through October, lasting for about 8-10 weeks.

There are a veritiy of colors, white, pink, lavender and red. There are some called pepperment that are red with white tips.

In San Fran, they bloomed from July to Sept, in Virginia Beach they bloom from August until November if it is warm enough.

They are native to North Carolina... in that they have been here a very long time. If the settlers brought them over, I do not know when that was. But they are rapid growers here and bloom all the time (but I have not seen the peppermint ones here). And they have them everywhere in the metropolitan area. They grow wild in the forests around here though.

Wiki says they are from East Asia and Austrelia... and will grow where ever there is warm weather. So, that is what I can tell you about Crape Myrtles, by now you are propably seeing them grow a lot. You can always hedge them. People here some cut the suckers, others do not. I had 7 in San Fran for 18 years and they never got over 10 feet tall but grew very slowly in that climate... but in North Carolina and Vifginia in this area... they grow fast and very big. You can actually use them for shade trees. 25 ft tall and 15 ft wide.

I know you are in Texas, and some places in Texas it is very hot... and I do not know how the heat would affect them... but San Fran and Norfolk are on the same parallel.

I grew up in Kingsivlle, south of Corpus Christi. I don't ever remember seeing them there... it is too hot for most anything, but I would suppose if you gave them enough water, they would grow... but I think it has to do with how much rain you have and how temperate or warm you climate is because this is not a subtropical climate at all out here, even though we have had 3 Tropical storms & hurricanes in 5 weeks.

Hope that helps.
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:15 AM
Location: Florida
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They grow very slowly here in SW Florida.
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