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Crape Myrtles

The crape myrtles in town are in full bloom and it is the first summer in several years that I can enjoy their beauty without a twinge of guilt. You see, I made a risky decision one spring to transplant 4 mature 'Byers White' crape myrtles from the fountain garden at my home to my office. It was risky because summers in my mid-south garden are prone to drought and there wasn't an irrigation system at the office. Transplanting in fall would have been a far safer bet because they would have had winter and spring to become established before hot weather set in. But I was anxious to get them moved before the garden began to emerge from dormancy.

When in bloom the 15 foot tall, multi-trunked crape myrtles would become so top heavy that a light rain shower or even a heavy dew could transform them from stately to prostrate in minutes. I had tried all manner of staking to no avail and the surrounding plants were suffering. So I made the decision to transplant them that spring gambling on an unusually mild summer.

I had to enlist the help of my brother Chris and a backhoe to get the job done. The trees had to be lifted from the ground with as much root ball as possible, transported to their new home at the office and planted. All of this went off without a hitch and as summer approached I kept my fingers crossed.

Fortune did not go my way. We had seemingly endless days of blast furnace like temperatures and no rain. I thought for sure that the crape myrtles wouldn't survive.

With the help of a device called the Treegator I was able to keep the trees consistently watered without an irrigation system and the following spring I was delighted to see new leaves emerge.

Crape Myrtle The tale is a testament to just how tough these trees are. I watered during times of drought, pruned with a light hand in late winter and in summer a cloud of frothy white blooms appeared.

It has been 4 years now and the crape myrtles have regained their former glory. This year the display is gorgeous. In fact, when I pulled in to the office this morning one of the trunks was bent over touching the ground. I guess I better get out the stakes.