Why Are Crape Myrtle Leaves Turning Yellow?

Filed Under: Gardenality Questions, Gardenality Help, Diseases and Fungus · Keywords: Crepe Myrtle, yellow, leaves · 26016 Views
I had a Crepe Myrtlle planted in front of my house between the sidewalk and curb about 3 months ago.
She's about 10 feet tall and I was told she would be white which I wanted. Blooms have arrived and they were lavender. Pretty. Liked it. About a week later Myrtle also had white blooms. Still pretty but a little wierd.
During the past few days her leaves have started to turn yellow with small spots of green still left. Now starting to fall off.
I did a Google Image search and it looks like Cercospora to me. But what do I know? (trust me - nothing)
Myrtle and I live ib 9b. We've had a little rain here. 11 1/2 inches over 3 days as Debby moved through the Golf.
What "medicine" should I give her?. Can't put her on bedrest. Can't quarrantine her.
Help and thanks to all. Thanks to all.
Paula (Myrtle thanks you too!)

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3 Answers

Answer #1 · Stephen Whatley's Answer · Hi Paula.

Let's first address the situation going on with the bloom color. Not all,but many growers will start crape myrtles from seed. In doing so,they may have mixed a few different cultivars in the container apon planting and created a myrtle with different bloom colors. I guess it would leave me with the question of weather it was happening on the same trunk or if they are separated?

In the case of it being on separate trunks,you can always cut that trunk to keep a uniform color if it doesn't effect the aesthetic value of the tree. If so,leave it alone and enjoy the unique mistake someone might have made,as it does make for an interesting conversation. We have a large crape myrtle at my place of employment and I must say it has really sparked interest over the years. Keep in touch with me on this one.

Second, the problem you are having with the foliage could be a few different things. The tree is still vary early in the the growing process so it could still be suffering from transplant shock. Any time you disturb the root ball of a plant you are going to incorporate into the landscape,it it always a strong possibility that the plant may struggle a bit until it's acclimated to it's new home. Also be sure to check the soil moisture and see if it's getting what it needs or in turn,not getting enough which can also cause it to struggle as we are in the hottest part of the season which can be a test for any plant,especially in our climate zones.

Another good possibility could be the common disease found in crape myrtles more suseptable to it,being Cercospera. This will cause leave to become discolored and over time, cause them to become brown and fall off. Even if this not a problem,it's never a bad idea to to a preventive measure in the means of a good well rounded product to prevent this from happening.
Neem oil is a topical treatment that i use and suggest very often that you can find from your independent garden center that will not only take care of fungus,but will eradicate insects and mites,all at the same time.

Another is a systemic fungicide. A product in which you post around the base of the root system and is sucked up through the trunks and out into the foliage. Using this product early in the growing season should insure residual safety from fungus.

Explore these steps,I hope this helps, and let me know if you have any further questions regarding this or any other matter I can help with.

Stephen Whatley)

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Answer #2 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Paula-

Good answer from Stephen.

The only thing I might add is that stress from planting, as Stephen mentioned, along with additional stress of changing weather conditions such as hot temperatures can help to change or fade some flowering colors to white. I have also read that some of the pink-white combinations can come out solidly pink in extreme hot weather. Possibly pink to white wouldn't be to far out of the question.

You had mentioned the heavy rains you have had. Rain is probably the most likely way to facilitate the spore formation and spread of the Cercospora Leaf Spot fungus. It does sound like a fungus disease. It is advisable to remove heavily infected leaves and pick up and dispose of any that have fallen to the ground. This will help in the spreading of the disease.

Follow the steps Stephen has given you as this should solve your tree's problem.


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Answer #3 · Gardenality.com's Answer · Hi Paula,

Stephen and John have both given great advice.

As Stephen has mentioned the Crape Myrtle might have been initially planted by seed or cutting with different colors of Crape Myrtle. You will find out next year. If the Crape Myrtle continues to bloom different colors this is obviously why.

As far as the disease goes you probably have a disease susceptible cultivar of Crape Myrtle. Many older cultivar are not tolerant of disease and fungus. This means that the Crape Myrtle may experience this problem for the rest of it's life. There are Crape Myrtle that resist this disease. The Indian ('Fauriei') Hybrids, and many newer hybrids are tolerant to Cercospera and Powdery Mildew fungus. You may want to get with the installer of your Crape Myrtle to ask them why they chose a disease susceptible cultivar. Maybe they will swap it out with a cultivar that is tolerant of disease and fungus.

There are several fungicides that will control disease and fungus on Crape Myrtle. Once you see the signs of fungus or disease you should immediately apply a fungicide. You may want to check with your local independent garden center to purchase a fungicide that is available for 'homeowner' use.

Another problem could be that the soil pH is too alkaline. Crape Myrtle prefers a pH of between 5 and 7. If your pH is above 7.5 or so, this could be the problem. You may want to do a soil test, or call your local extension office to do it for you.

Also, check for Aphid infestation. Aphids are a small lime green insects that love Crape Myrtle. You will find them on the under side of the foliage. If you see them you can spray with Neem Oil. Neem Oil controls disease/fungus, insects, and mites. And it's organic and very safe to use.

Hope this helps you.

Brooks Wilson))

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