Crape myrtles are very popular trees for any landscape partially because they are beautiful, low-maintenance trees. Often time gardeners of all ability believe that all a crape myrtle needs is water, fertilizer, and a little pruning. We ran into a problem that is not often thought of and we would like to send a friendly warning to you.
The problem we ran into with our younger crape myrtles was the weight of the budding flowers. Our beautiful Ms. Francis crape myrtle produced many flowers this year, and the only thought we gave to this was to look at their pleasantry. Soon after many flowers on the tree were in full bloom, we received a great deal of rain. The weight of the water, flowers, and leaves on the branches was far too much, and the root split.
As you can see, this photo was taken after we repaired the tree. Before telling you how to repair your tree, we will explain prevention. As we always say, listen to your tree. If the limbs on your crape myrtle are sagging or drooping, then there are too many flowers on the branch for adequate support and even a mild rain could split the tree. Also, the number of flowers you will potentially have to remove depends on the maturity of the tree. Younger trees are more susceptible to this problem because they will not have strong enough branches to support many flowers.
If you are reading this looking at your dying crape myrtle looking for hope, repairing it is easy. There are many brands of “tree tape” out there but we simply use flagging tape. You will most likely need two people for the job. Push the two ends of the split back together in their natural position, and firmly wrap the tape around the tree. Wrap the tree generously and then tie off the end. We suggest removing all of the blooms on the branches that caused the split so that it may heal.
Your crape myrtle has been saved. Next time it blooms, be wary of the strength of the limbs and how many flowers are present.