Crepe Myrtle Trees’ Lifespan: How Long Do They Live and What Determines Their Longevity?
Date June 16, 2022
Crepe myrtles are beautiful trees that can add a touch of elegance to any landscape. But how long do crepe myrtles live? What determines their longevity? What is their life cycle? And when is the best time to plant them? TreeNewal’s ISA Certified Arborists provide the answers to these questions and more!
How Long Does a Crepe Myrtle Live?
Crepe myrtles have a lifespan of around 25 years. However, some crepe myrtles have been known to live for 100 years or more! This tree does best in full sun and well-drained soil. It is drought-tolerant and can withstand extreme heat. The crepe myrtle is a relatively low-maintenance tree, which may contribute to its long lifespan.
Did You Know: The oldest known crepe myrtle is found in Roncade, Italy, at 132 years old.
The Crepe Myrtle Life Cycle
A crepe myrtle goes through four stages in its life cycle: seed, sapling, mature tree, and senescent tree.
The seed stage is when the crepe myrtle grows from a seed to a sapling. This stage can last anywhere from a few months to several years, depending on the conditions in which the crepe myrtle is growing.
The sapling stage is when the crepe myrtle grows from a sapling to a mature tree. This stage can also last several years, depending on the conditions in which the crepe myrtle is growing.
Once the crepe myrtle reaches maturity, it will enter the senescent stage, during which the tree will slowly begin to die. The crepe myrtle’s lifespan will depend on how long it takes for the tree to reach the senescent stage.
From Establishment to Decline
The crepe myrtle life cycle begins with planting. The best time to plant crepe myrtles is in the spring or fall. This gives the trees a chance to establish themselves before the sizzling summer months arrive. Once crepe myrtles are established, they need minimal care. However, they should be fertilized early spring and late fall to promote growth. Water crepe myrtles regularly during the first growing season to help them establish a strong root system.
After the crepe myrtle is established, it will begin to bloom. Crepe myrtles typically begin to bloom in late spring or early summer. The blooms last until late summer or fall and come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, and purple. Once the blooms fade, crepe myrtles produce small, round fruits that are loved by birds.
As crepe myrtles age, they will begin to lose their lower leaves. This is normal and does not mean the tree is dying. Crepe myrtles should be pruned in late winter or early spring to remove any dead or diseased branches. At the end of its life, a crepe myrtle will have a very thin canopy with only a few leaves.
What Can Shorten the Life of a Crepe Myrtle?
There are a few things that can shorten the life of a crepe myrtle, including:
- Improper Care: Crepe myrtles need very little care, but they must be watered regularly during their first growing season. They should also be fertilized in early spring and late fall.
- Pests and Diseases: Crepe myrtles are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, including powdery mildew, aphids, scale insects, and borers. These can be controlled with proper care and treatment from a certified arborist.
- Winter Damage: Crepe myrtles are not tolerant of cold weather and can be damaged by frost or freezing temperatures. They should be planted in an area that is protected from the wind and has good drainage.
What Can Increase the Life of a Crepe Myrtle?
There are a few things that can help crepe myrtles live longer, healthier lives:
- Regular Pruning: Pruning crepe myrtles helps to remove any dead or diseased branches. This allows the tree to focus its energy on healthy growth.
- Proper Fertilization: Fertilizing crepe myrtles in early spring and late fall helps them to grow strong and healthy.
- Adequate Water: Watering crepe myrtles regularly during their first growing season helps them to establish a deep, strong root system.
TreeNewal’s Certified Arborists Can Help!
If you have crepe myrtles on your property, TreeNewal’s Certified Arborists can help you care for them and ensure they have a long, healthy life. We offer a variety of crepe myrtle services, including planting, fertilization, watering, and pruning. Contact us today to learn more!
If you need advice or assistance keeping your crepe myrtles in their best shape, get in touch with the ISA Certified Arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.
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