Crepe Myrtle Tree Shedding Bark? What That Means
Many Louisiana landscapes include the crepe myrtle. This flowering tree adds a lot of distinctive color to the curb appeal of your home or your business. But recently I have noticed the crepe myrtles in my yard appear to be shedding their bark like a reptile might shed its skin.
Naturally, when a living thing starts dismissing its own parts the tendency is to think something is wrong. After noticing the area around my crepe myrtles littered with bark, I became very concerned. I do have several of the plants in the beds that are near my house. And I am no insurance expert but I would imagine having a diseased or potentially dying tree next to your home could present a bit of a problem, especially if its subjected to high winds.
My first thought was the crepe myrtles are just reacting to the very hot temperatures we've been experiencing during these early days of June. It's a bit warmer than normal and maybe the crepe myrtles are just doing we humans do when it's hot, we tend to shed our outer coverings.
My next thought was about water. Are these plants getting the amount of water they need to survive. After all , my potted plants look as if they're about to dry up and blow away, so maybe the bigger plants need some water too. But normally issues with watering manifest in the leaves and not the bark.
With my hypothesis about what is causing the bark shedding I jumped on the internet. And when it comes to issues with Louisiana plants there is only one place you should turn with your questions, the LSU AgCenter. And low and behold, here's the answer to our question.
If you weren't able to watch the video what horticulturalist Heather Clark Ballard explained was the bark exfoliation is absolutely normal for crepe myrtles. She explained that the trees usually shed their bark every other year but sometimes, because of weather and other environmental conditions they could shed two or more seasons in a row.
Ballard also explained that the shedding of the bark is one of the reasons so many landscape designers use crepe myrtles in their plans. Beneath the bark that has been exfoliated is some very beautiful wood. Some crepe myrtles even look as if they were hand painted with various splashes of color once the bark has been shed.
Add that to the beautiful flowers crepe myrtles display in the early spring and the rainbow of colors the leaves take on when the weather gets cooler in the fall, it's no wonder those who love a natural palette for their curb appeal choose these very hearty plants that thrive in all of the agriculture zones that span Louisiana .
Bottom line, if your crepe myrtles are shedding bark, don't worry. The trees are supposed to do that. You might want to gather some of that bark up and save it for your fire pit. It makes a great source of kindling and there's no chopping or cutting required.
And if you're going to be outside among your crepe myrtles or next to your fire pit, there is one other concern you might have, mosquitoes. Here's how you can deal with that not-so-pleasant side effect of summertime.
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