Q.Crape Myrtle Appears Dead
Planted 18″ Lagerstroemia “Red Rocket” Whit IV PP 3 II 342 Indica last fall, now appears dead. Have read that this type tree commonly appears that way after winter. Please, any help will be greatly appreciated.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Try gently bending a branch or stem; if it's flexible, it may be still alive. You can also do a scratch test:
Crape Myrtles are very late to break dormancy every year in my Texas location (late April to May) depending on the variety) and they are on the "colder" end of their winter hardiness in Zone 6. Only few varieties survive very well in those winter conditions. Most CMs will probably be root hardy in 6B and will either leaf out when they begin to actively grow as overnight temperatures typically stay at or above 50F or they will develop new growth (trunks) from the base. The scratch test will indicate if the branches or trunks are alive but not necessarily if the roots are still alive. Lilacs are a similar looking tree that you might want to consider in Zone 6A.