Transplanting Your Crepe Myrtle
Q: How big of a root ball needs to be dug to transplant a crepe myrtle? I have one that is an off-shoot of a larger tree…the one I want to transplant is now about 10 feet tall, but has few side branches. I would like to miove it to my back yard, but am not sure if I can dig a rootball that is large enough….also can I do it this time of year?? Thanks in advance. – Patricia
A: Now is a good time to transplant a crepe myrtle. Yours doesn’t sound too big for you to handle, but if a couple of burly, good-looking guys bearing a strong resemblance to Matt Damon offer to help, I wouldn’t turn them down. The trick is digging a root ball that’s 2-3 feet in diameter and at least a foot deep so the plant comes away with enough roots to grow. Dig when the soil is moist, so the soil will stick to the roots. After you and Matt lift the plant from the hole, place the root ball on a tarp that you can slide easily over the ground to the new destination. Plant the crepe myrtle so that the top of the root ball is even with the soil surface and then water thoroughly. Finally, tell Matt I really like his “Bourne” movies and hope he’ll let me be in the next one. Grumpy
Q: My wife has several small crape myrtles growing from seed in her garden. They came from a large white crape myrtle nearby. If I transplant them will they grow into a normal bush/tree or should we just cut them down?
A: I’m in the same situation. I have seven seedlings that I plan to transplant later this year. Mine came from a nearby ‘Natchez’ crape myrtle. I’m curious if the seedlings will grow similar to their parent since ‘Natchez’ resulted from a cross between Lagerstroemia indica and Lagerstroemia fauriei. Only time will tell!
The perfect time to transplant is on a cool November afternoon, a few days after a good rainfall. You might need to prune away several branches to make plants easy to handle. Use a spading fork to identify and gently lift as many roots as possible. Don’t worry about preserving a soil-filled rootball.
Plant the seedlings in a sunny bed to which you’ve added two cubic feet of soil conditioner per ten square feet. The crape myrtles will start blooming once they are fully established a few years from now.
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When you have a crepe myrtle and you need to replant it to another spot, then you might think that you are going to lose your tree. That it isn’t really possible to replant a tree-like your crepe myrtle. However, this isn’t the truth.
There are many reasons why people might want to dig up their crepe myrtle, and if you are doing it correctly, your tree won’t die on you. The moment that you are following these steps, you will know for sure that your crepe myrtle will be dug up and replanted successfully.
When Should You Remove Your Crepe Myrtle?
This is the first thing that you should know when you are digging up your crepe myrtle. You should know when it is the best time for the process. If you are doing this the wrong time of year, then you might end up with a tree that is dying or that is taking a long time to grow healthy again.
The best time is from late autumn to early spring. The moment that the tree lost all its leaves, it is then the best time to dig up the tree for relocation. You have time until early spring when the tree is starting to bloom and to get new leaves again. When this happens, it is too late, and you will need to wait for another year.
Remember the Requirements for a Healthy Growing Crepe Myrtle
Before you can just dig up and replant your crape myrtle, you need to remember what requirements the tree has, in order to grow successfully. In other words, in what conditions the tree should be planted.
You need to take into consideration that the tree needs lots of space to grow because this is a huge tree when it is fully grown. The other thing that you need to consider is the fact that it needs full sunlight. Especially, if you want the tree to bloom correctly.
Things to Do Before You Dig Up the Crepe Myrtle
You can’t just start digging up the tree. There are a couple of things that you should do beforehand first. You need to water the ground around the tree, to wet the soil for easier digging. The soil should be watered each week, for a couple of weeks, so that the soil is soft all the way to the roots.
It is also important to make sure that you are pruning the roots, 6 months before the move. So, this isn’t a decision that you can make in just one day. You’ll need to wait until the tree is leafless before you can start digging up the tree.
Digging Up the Tree Correctly
Remember that the tree is larger than what you are just seeing with your naked eye. The roots underneath the tree are larger and wider than the tree. So, you can just dig around the tree and lift it out of the ground.
You need to make sure that you have enough space around the tree, to get the roots as well. Otherwise, you are going to damage the tree, and it won’t grow successfully. It is always best to remove more soil, rather than too little. Then, you know that you won’t damage the tree in any way. Lifting the tree out of the hole should be done carefully. Not getting rid of the soil around the roots. You might want to get some assistance from friends and family, or from a professional for this step.
Planting the Tree and Aftercare
Now, you can replant your tree, in the prepared hole that you already have done before you dug up the tree. The hole should be larger than the tree that you have removed. Making sure that you have enough soil to cover the roots of the tree completely.
After you have dug up the tree, and have planted it again, you need to give it nutrients and make sure that you are watering it until it starts to grow again. You will see when the leaves are starting to grow. Something that you should consider is that you need to make sure that you are planting the tree as fast as possible after you have dug it up.
The longer it is out of the ground, the better the chance that the tree will die. You don’t need to worry if you need to dig up your crepe myrtle. This can be done successfully and replanted without your tree dying. There are just a couple of things that you need to do before you can do this successfully.
If you are following this guide carefully, you will have a healthy growing crepe myrtle again and you can enjoy your beautiful growing tree, and flowers during spring again.
Transplanted crepe myrtle
We needed to remove a “Tonto” crepe myrtle planted 3-4 years ago. We decided we would try to save it and replant it in another area of the yard. Foolishly we did not oversee the guys who transplanted the tree for us because they said they had experience. We didn’t want to pay a fortune and knew there was a good chance it would not survive but we decided to take the chance. The tree was moved in late April. The tree did not appear to be thriving; the leaves are small and not nearly as lush as the others in our yard. Upon inspection yesterday, we discovered that it was planted nearly 11 inches too deep and they probably didn’t dig up the root ball big enough. ….lesson learned. So, anyway, we are going to try to save the tree if there’s any chance. We dug it up and replanted it at it’s orginal height. Do you have any suggestions that may increase it’s chance of survival? Should we prune it, either lightly or severely due to the size of the root ball? Do I feed it? not feed it? I imagine I should keep it watered regularly, but how much is too much? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. We realize this is a long shot, but want to at least try. I have attached photos.I drew a line to show how deeply they planted it. It doesn’t look bad in the photo, but up close the leaves are smaller than they should be and I cannot see any new growth. We are in Lutherville Md. Thanks.