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Propagating Crape Myrtles

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w_r_ranch

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Did you know you can make new Crepe Myrtle trees from cuttings??? And did you know that right now is the best time to do this in the Central Texas area???

What Do I Need to Start My New Crepe Myrtle Trees, you ask??? Well the answer is 'Not very much'!!! You need only three things:
  • You need to have the cuttings from the crepe myrtle of your choice.
  • You need some pots filled with prepared soil (I used 50/50 mix of sand and peat). I also think a pot for each cutting is best.
  • You need some rooting hormone, like Rootone or a similar brand.
Pretty simple, huh??? There are a few simple 'tricks' to get the new crepe myrtle trees to sprout and grow for you.
  • Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  • Keep the cuttings out of the direct sunshine until they have leaves on them.
  • Remove most of the leaves off your cuttings, leaving 3 or 4 pair at the very most.
Remember, these cuttings have no roots to support them so they need easily available moisture. And the excess leaves? If you don't pick them off, they will die off anyway and maybe take the whole cutting with them. In the mean time, they will sucking out moisture and promote the drying out of the woody cutting.

Almost any size cutting between 6" and 10" will do. They need to have at least 3 or 4 places where the leaves attached, (leaf nodes, for us 'advanced' gardeners) that will be placed underground for roots to form on. They also need 3 or 4 pair of leaves above ground. NOTE: If your cuttings have flowers on them you are going to have cut them off... Yeah, it's an absolute necessity...

The one last ingredient to get crepe myrtle trees from cuttings is just TIME. You are not going to get a twenty foot tree from a cutting in the span of 6 or 8 weeks (maybe 6 or 8 years, LOL!!!)... But by this end of next summer, you should have a crepe myrtle 'bush' standing a foot taller than your original cutting!!!

Now to get started, mix your sand & peat (sometime sold as 'potting mix') together in equal proportions and fill your pots. When you are done, soak them in water for 30 minutes and then set aside to drain. I normally do this step in the evening & allow them overnight to drain (remember, we want them moist, not soggy).

The next morning you can go scouting & collecting your cuttings. I prefer cuttings that are pencil-size (about 1/4") of what I call 'semi-hardwood', which is this years growth at this time of year. I normally have already located the 'donor trees' & if necessary, gotten the owner's permission to take some cuttings, so I just collect what I need & head home.

Now that we have the cuttings, remove the leaves from the bottom half of each cutting. Dip each cutting into fresh water and tap off the excess. Next, dip the bottom half of the cutting into the rooting hormone and use a pencil/screw driver to make a hole & plant the cuttings 3" to 4" deep. Do not allow the leaves to touch the soil (if need be, trim the leaves).

Once the cuttings have been planted, water them in and allow them to settle. Place cuttings in a protected area that has indirect light. Again, remember to keep soil moist but not soggy. Crape myrtles will root in 3 to 4 weeks depending on the growing conditions. That's it, nothing to it...

As some will recall, I started another 34 cuttings a couple of weeks ago (15 'Red Thread' & 19 'Hot Pink') & as of this morning, 4 have signs of new growth already!!!

Here is a picture of one I did 2 years ago...


Crape_Cutting.jpg


Good luck!!!
 

finkikin

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I am doing this tonight when I get home! I have 3 trees that will volunteer for this experiment. Thank you for the knowledge Sam.
 
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