Monday, November 19, 2007

Crepe Myrtle Question


I live in North East Pennsylvania (around Pittsburgh). We planted 14 crepe myrtles this summer down the length of our driveway (it is over 1000 feet long). They are only about 18 to 24 inches tall right now. We live in a very open, very windy, snow drifting area. What can I do to protect these crepe myrtles for their first winter? My husband wants to stick buckets over them to protect them from the wind and high snow drifts that can form. Any suggestions?


Sue S.

Anne's response:

It is unusual for Crepe Myrtle to survive in Zone 6. The top of the plant usually is killed to the ground at temperatures below 0 although the roots often will survive to -10 if the ground has a protective layer of mulch. The plants do bloom on new wood but I would not expect your plants to get much taller than 3 feet in a single season. Some gardeners have had success wrapping tender plants in foam thermal blankets for the winter but it is used more frequently to protect single specimen plants. The problems of using buckets and sheets of plastic is that when the sun is out the temperatures under the protective covering will be high enough to damage (“ cook”) the plant.

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