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I have a crape myrtle, and it’s got new growth…

Joyce Asked

I have a crape myrtle, and it’s got new growth coming up from ground; when do I cut off the old limbs from last year?

The Gardener’s Answer

This past winter was unusually cold and plant material on the edge of our hardiness zones, including crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia), were not happy about it. A lot of them died back to the ground, but just as yours has done, they have put on new growth from the roots. You can remove the dead wood back to the base of the plant and eventually the new growth will grow to the same size as the original plant. Pruning out the dead wood will give the crape myrtle a tidier appearance and allow for better light filtration. If the dead wood is left on the plant it can become a nice home for insects to live. Hopefully our gardens and we will not have to endure another winter like the last one but if we do, in late fall apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to help insulate the roots.

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