Landscape Ideas Dallas: Crape Myrtle

Landscape Ideas Dallas: Crepe Myrtles

By Maria Bargellini, President at Dallas Curb Appeal

Dallas Landscape Contractor

Nothing says summer in the south like the blooming of our Crape Myrtles. You can’t beat the colors or the bountiful blooms on these lovely tree forming shrubs. Being in the landscape industry I see a lot of instances where  people put the wrong tree in the wrong place. Sometimes it’s unintentional and sometimes it’s just careless. Crape myrtles come in a wide range of sizes and colors. There’s a perfect Crape Myrtle out there just waiting for you to take it home–Just make sure it’s the right tree for your landscape. Below are some information to help you figure out what variety is best for your landscape.

Shape: Did you know that Crape myrtles come in different shapes. Some are more upright while others can be broad or have a tighter v/vase-shape. Of course some are trimmed by well meaning but un-enlightened people and can appear to be fan shaped also. Look at your landscape and drive around town to see for yourself what these beautiful trees really look like when they are older. Then you’ll get a better idea of what type is best for you. Take pictures with you to the nursery so that they may better help you find the variety you want. With so many varieties they are not always available so call ahead.

Size: Most people don’t realize that the Crape Myrtles can come as small as 1 feet tall, like the Rosy Carpet –yup you heard me 1 foot tall. On the opposite side they can also be as tall as 30+ feet tall like Biloxi . One thing to consider is the meaning of Dwarf. Dwarf means that the plant is smaller than the original not that it’s 2 feet tall. 3 feet and under are referred to as minis or miniature varieties in this case.  Of course the happier this tree forming shrub is the closer it will be to it’s standard height. Height’s aren’t an exact science which is why you’re almost always given a range.

Colors: Do not pick a Crape Myrtle by color alone. We all love the red Dynamite but it can be over 20 feet tall. If you’re planting your tree yourself do yourself a favor and do your research, figure out which one you like, and call around for that specific Crape. Don’t let the lure of the nursery lead you astray. They all will look small and harmless at the nursery now but not so much later.

Pruning: Please people for the love of all things good in the world. Do not hack your Crapes. If you buy one that’s the wrong size you will be hacking at it for eternity. You only need to trim for the following reasons

  • Vehicle or pedestrian right of way
  • rubbing limbs
  • seed heads
  • Dead Branches
  • and to open up the canopy

Do not let anyone tell you different. They do not ever have to be chopped off or beheaded unless of course you bought the wrong variety and in which case I would tear it out and get the right one instead of having ugly knuckled trees in your yard.

Enjoy the following links from Texas A&M–This is the best link ever if you need helping picking the right Crepe Myrtle for your Dallas Landscape. It’s an Aggie-Hort site that lists Crepe Myrtles by colorsize, and by common name.

If you would like to have a landscape professional help you with your Crape Myrtle project please feel free to leave a comment or call Dallas Curb Appeal at 214-257-8155.

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