2 Crepe Myrtle. at least ... #135026 - Ask Extension

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2 Crepe Myrtle. at least ... #135026

Asked June 18, 2013, 8:37 AM EDT

2 Crepe Myrtle. at least 25 yrs. old. I notice half the branches are not sprouting leaves. they are dead. the other branches are sprouting. on one, there are grayest insects at base inside the bark. Plants have performed well until this spring. I am guessing they are diseased and termites have moved into one.

Prince George's County Maryland

Expert Response

Whenever you have dead wood on a shrub, like your crape myrtle, the dead wood should be pruned away promptly.  Crape myrtles tolerate a lot of pruning and will benefit from this.

If there is some pattern to the dead branches, that may provide us with a clue about what is affecting your crape myrtle.  Also, if you can send us a digital photo of the gray insects, that will also be helpful.  We are not certain whether the insects are in the live or dead wood.  If they are in the dead wood, they may not be impacting the live wood at all. 
You can compare the insects to photos of termites on our website in the Plant Diagnostics under Pest Control > "structural insects."  http://plantdiagnostics.umd.edu/level3.cfm?causeID=1089

If it is, indeed, termites, they will be infesting dead wood, which means that there is rotten wood there and, yes, your crape myrtles may die. 
ECN

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