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keyholes under crepe myrtles?  RSS feed

 
Cal Burns
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Ok, so I've been trying to grow edibles underneath some crepe myrtles. Given our scorching hot Texas summers, I'm considering a change of strategy by building up a keyhole garden around each crepe myrtle about 2-3' high where the plants would have more chance to grow with more shade. Would this smother the crepe myrtles with the extra dirt around the base? The compost bin would be next to the base of the tree. I would point most of the keyholes to best gather water runoff when it rains.
 
Travis Charlie
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I'm no expert but its been my experience that that its pretty difficult to kill a crêpe myrtle. The roots should just extend out even further if they are feeling smothered. we have planted all sorts of flowers under myrtles and never notice a change in how they flowered. also, I used to have crêpe myrtles about 100' from a pond and a couple years the roots extended out all the way to the pond.
 
jesse foster
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Do crepe myrtles have any function other than being pretty? When do they flower in central Texas, Sept/Oct? I'm new to the area and just wondering. Thank you
 
Dar Durand
Posts: 4
Location: Texas Hill Country
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Crape Myrtles bloom in the summer. Depending on the variety, June through September. They are good for summer color, shade and they come in many colors, sizes and shapes, but they do nothing for the wildlife. I would stay away from some varieties (the non-Native American names) because they are magnets for aphids and mildew. If you are ever in the market for one, I would suggest Fanicks Nursery since they carry the largest selection and you can print their online list to narrow down what kind you might want.

As far as building a keyhole under any tree, the rule of thumb is NEVER pile soil or anything else up against a tree truck as this is the fastest way to kill it. So as long as the keyhole is away from the trunk you'll get shade but not sure the plants will like that. Perhaps a shade cloth for the summer would be a better option. My experience with my old garden and raised beds under live oaks/next to climbing roses and trumpet vines is after some time those plants will have their roots grow into your beds. I'm going to start building my keyhole later this year and then will have more experience on this matter then just all I've learned from Dr. Deb.
 
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