Depending on where you live, you may have a “crape myrtle” or a “crepe myrtle” tree. No matter how you spell it, this tree is trendy. This may be due to the tree having over 50 species, including the White Crape Myrtle tree.
The White Crape Myrtle is versatile and can be grown as a shrub or a small tree. The bark and the flowers are pleasing to the eye. It’s hard to look at the Crape Myrtle tree and not notice its’ beauty. It’s leaves resemble crape paper that has been wrinkled, and they form in clusters of flowers throughout the summer.
When the flowers fall, they don’t lose their beauty. Instead, the small brown fruits that look like capsules remain through the winter. With a six to eight-foot spread and height of up to twenty feet, the White Crape Myrtle is not overpowering, but large enough to provide shade to your yard.
The White Crape Myrtle is an excellent choice for landscaping, even in urban areas, because they are smaller than most trees. Whether you want shade or privacy, this tree can provide it, while also improving curb appeal.
The White Crape Myrtle can be planted in almost any kind of soil, even clay. It grows exceptionally well in our dry Arizona desert environment. The trees originate from warmer regions, so as expected, they grow well in our warm temperatures that can last most of the year.
Your landscaping goals can determine how you plant the tree. If you want more privacy from your neighbors, space the trees in a row, so they resemble a fence. You can even plant two rows, staggering the trees for even more privacy.
If you are looking for a centerpiece, you can plant one or two White Crape Myrtles and then other plants, shrubs, and trees as accent pieces. Some Phoenix residents choose to plant them in containers, making care, and decorating super easy.
Working with an Arizona licensed arborist, you can create a blueprint design before you start planting. The experts can tell you what the trees will be doing ten years from now to think of long-term goals when developing your plan.
They can also discuss the root systems of the White Crape Myrtles and help you place them in a location that won’t cause problems to your home, electrical wires, or neighbors when they are mature.
Avoid Crape Murder
Pruning the White Crape Myrtle tree must be done by a professional tree expert. Many people prune it on their own and usually end up cutting so much of the tree that its natural shape is ruined for the rest of its life. Many call this “crape murder.”
A Phoenix arborist knows the best time to prune, which is typically mid-winter when its leaves have fallen, and the branches are bare. In Arizona, we can sometimes see foliage all year long. Therefore, consulting with an expert on the right pruning time is crucial. They also know which limbs to remove, and how often to prune for best results.
Many choose to prune the White Crape Myrtle’s multiple trunks down to just one. The bark of the trunk goes through a shedding phase, and new bark is produced to replace the old. When pruned correctly, you can enjoy the interesting patterns the bark provides throughout this process.
Pests and Diseases
The White Crape Myrtle is a very hardy tree, but it can still struggle with some pests and diseases. If you notice a white powdery coating, this could be a problem. This can happen when the humidity in our Phoenix area starts to rise.
If you call us at Design Tree Maintenance, we can treat the mildew to prevent damage.
Other pests and diseases to look for are the crape myrtle aphid, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, and spot leaf fungus. There are multiple varieties of each of these, so make sure you consult a local tree expert to learn the proper care and treatment rather than troubleshoot solutions.
While the White Crape Myrtle can last up to fifty years, there may be times when you need to trim it, or even cut it down. For example, if it is growing in a way that will interfere with the safety of people passing by.
In cases like this, do not try to solve this problem on your own. Instead, hire a tree expert in your area. They have the expertise and specialized equipment to get the job done right.