I have a huge number of shoots that grow off the bottom of my crepe myrtle tree. They are an ugly problem and require a lot of time to cut them back every week or two. Is there a way to treat these little shoots to stop them from growing without hurting the tree?
Retard Growth of Shoots on Tree
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
These shoots occur more often when a tree is under stress. Some trees are prone to them naturally, but they will get worse if the tree is stressed. Crepe myrtle trees have the added "natural" stress of commonly being grafted trees. This means that the tree has a different variety of crepe myrtle as the roots than as the part you see above ground. This situation makes for stronger trees, but also means that the roots are perpetually in a mild state of stress as they try to regrow themselves.
With crepe myrtles, it is hard to completely eliminate the shoots, but you can take steps to reduce them. This can be done by making sure the tree is under as little stress as possible. Make sure to fertilize regularly, that the tree is getting at least 2" of water a week and that it is free of pests and disease. The less stress it has, the fewer shoots it will put out.