The dynamite crape myrtle, or Lagerstroemia indica, gets its name honestly, because when its bright crimson blossoms burst into view, it looks like nothing so much as a stick of red dynamite popping into flame across the tree canopy. This varietal of crape myrtle is one of the most popular due to both its spectacular visual beauty and its ease of care. Its lengthy bloom season can extend from early spring into the late fall season and it will resist most of the traditional crape myrtle ailments with ease. Learn more about caring for the dynamite crape myrtle and decide whether planting this lovely yet hardy tree is the right choice for your home or garden setting.
Preparing to Plant the Dynamite Crape Myrtle Tree
The dynamite crape myrtle tree generally will grow well in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 6 through 9, thanks to recent developments with hybrid strains that are engineered to endure cooler temperatures with ease. The dynamite crape myrtle will produce moderate growth average approximately three feet per year, and can reach a span of 20 feet wide and a height of 30 feet high at maturity. The dynamite crape myrtle prefers full sunlight for at least six hours daily, but can adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions as long as soil has good drainage and regular hydration is provided. Because of is small size and compact root system, the dynamite crape myrtle is suitable to be planted near structures as long as there is sufficient overhead and width space, and can co-exist well with other plant life.
Planting for the Dynamite Crape Myrtle Tree
To plant the dynamite crape myrtle, locate the proper planting spot and dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Gently unwrap the root ball and spread apart the roots, then place the root ball in the newly excavated hole. Backfill the hole with soil and make sure there are no big rocks or lumps in the soil. Water thoroughly, then mulch around the young trunk, taking care to leave a few inches of breathing room between the edge of the mulching and the trunk itself.
Caring for the Dynamite Crape Myrtle Tree
Water should be provided as needed, at least one inch per week. It is best to water with a soaker hose or sprinkler that can hydrate the entire root system. Fertilizer can be provided as needed but at least once annually and more if soil is nutrient poor. Pruning is one of the most important maintenance tasks a crape myrtle needs. It is easy to prune a crape myrtle improperly, by crowning or topping the tree, and this can injure or kill a crape myrtle. Pruning should be minimal at most, and concentrated on removing suckers and weeds that might compete with the tree for nutrients. Pruning can also be done for gentle shaping purposes, to remove diseased or damaged branches, and to cut out crosswise growing branches. Be sure to disinfect your pruning shears between cuts to avoid spreading disease.