CRAPE MYRTLE ‘NATCHEZ

Full sun; deciduous, with graceful trunks, handsome peeling reddish-white bark and abundant white flowers during summer. One of our loveliest shade trees; see full grown specimens in King William and other mature San Antonio neighborhoods. Like the other Indian series crape myrtle hybrids produced at the National Arboretum, Natchez exhibits resistance to powdery mildew.Crepe myrtle is long-lived and slow growing. Treat it as a shade tree, not a shrub: give it plenty of room and sun, and avoid the unsightly practice of chopping the top off in winter. In general, pruning can be performed every four to six years; focus on minimizing dead, damaged, or rubbing branches, and removing no more than 25% of the canopy during any five-year period. Leave the upper 2/3 of the crown uncut to maintain a healthy specimen. Mulch with about 2″ of woodchips or pine bark wherever possible. (A six-foot diameter mulched area is the minimum.) If natural rainfall has been absent for a month or more in drought years and the tree seems badly stressed, water the area beneath the canopy.

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