Crape Myrtle…To Prune or Not to Prune?

The crape myrtle tree, Lagerstroemia indica also referred to as: “The Lilac of the South” is a
native of China and arguably one of the most popular flowering trees in the south. Unfortunately,
landscape crews in Texas have made a horrible practice of butchering them every year under the
disguise of “pruning” (also commonly called Crape Murder). Why do they do it? Pure and simple, a
lack of horticulture education is to blame. While topping the tree does produce larger blooms, you
will receive fewer blooms and unfortunately, the new shoots tend to be unable to support the weight
of these blooms causing them to droop. In addition, and more notably, these “pruning” practices
produce ugly scars on the tree (known as “knuckles’). Lastly, your tree may be more susceptible to
disease and insect infestations.

The first step is to visit one of Warren’s Garden Centers and speak to one of our gardeners so you
know what to expect from your crape myrtle tree and what your crape myrtle tree expects from you.
There are many varieties of crape myrtles and each have varying growth habit, maturity size, and
even flowering color. Knowing your variety will help determine the proper space it’ll need to grow.
The old saying of measure twice, cut once comes to mind. If you’ve ever had to relocate or remove a
crape myrtle, then you fully understand this wisdom. Currently have a crape myrtle that you prune
to keep its size down to your desired height, or is currently hitting your roof or rubbing your
house? Consider transplanting instead of pruning. Unfortunately, for our area many crape myrtles
were planted in areas that just don’t fit their growth habit so the tree will not be the specimen
mother nature intended it to be.

Now, we aren’t saying you should never prune your crape myrtle tree as they are fast growers and
require some cleaning up; however, if you choose to prune, it should take place in mid-February and
should mostly be to shape the tree. Thinning your tree to leave just 3-7 trucks is usually
required. It’s best to remove any lower limbs that are thinner than a pencil in diameter (this will
not leave scars) and while not necessary, removing last years bloom heads is acceptable. Please
note, pruning or removing spent blooms is NOT necessary for future blooming. If your crape myrtle
tree is planted in an area that fits its growth habit, has adequate sunlight, is fertilized
properly and you keep your pruning simple, mother nature will reward you with long periods of
vibrant blooms all summer long.

Need help with a crape myrtle you currently have or looking for the perfect one to add striking
color to your landscape this summer? Come see us at Warren’s and our knowledgeable garden team will
be happy to assist you.

Sod Webworms Treatment

Sod webworms can destroy you lawn in a matter of days.
Sod Webworm Damage in Kingwood, TX

Are Sod Webworms taking a bite out of your lawn?

Sod webworms are rampant across the Houston area right now and many customers have asked us how to permanently get rid of these pests. Not sure what sod webworms are or what trouble they might cause your lawn?

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How to Plant and Care For Daylilies


Planting: When planting your bare root Daylily, dig a hole deep and wide enough to accommodate the roots. Spread out the roots in the hole and place the plant so the crown – where the leaves meet the roots – is 1 in below the surface of the soil. Holding the crown of the plant, push soil into the hole, working soil around the roots. Firm the soil around the crown.

Light/Watering: Daylilies will grow in full sun in Houston with sufficient moisture. Plants grow well in partial shade, which is preferred for varieties with pastel flowers. Daylilies are drought-tolerant once established, but perform best with consistent moisture.

Fertilizer/Soil: These perennials prefer a well-drained soil, rich in organic matter to encourage profuse blooming, although many of the older hybrids will grow well even in a sandy situation. Fertilize lightly once the plants are established, but avoid using mixes high in nitrogen. A summer mulch is essential, as it will help soils retain moisture and buffer soil temperatures.

Pests/Diseases: Daylilies rank high on the list of plants resistant to insects and diseases. Thrips occasionally feed on buds or flowers, distorting the blooms and causing lesions on the flower spikes, which may then break at the affected area. Use insecticidal soap to discourage these tiny pests, and remove and destroy any infested buds or flowers. Spider mites can infest the foliage during hot, dry weather; wash them off with a forceful water spray regularly, or use an appropriate insecticide. Yellowing leaves and brown leaf tips may occur after flowering; regular grooming will keep plants looking fresh. If foliage becomes unsightly, cut it back to the ground, water well, and in time new foliage will appear.

Reflowering: Many reblooming varieties are now available; these require regular removal of old flowers to perform at their best. On all types of Daylilies, spent flowers should be snapped ff daily and the entire flower scape should be cut off after all buds have passed.

Dividing/Transplanting: Daylilies should be divided every 3 to 5 years, and repeat-bloomers every two years since new growth supports the re bloom. Two spading forks held back-to-back and pried apart makes this chore easy. Transplant anytime the soil is workable, watering well after planting in the new location.
End of Season Care: Simply remove old foliage by cutting back to the ground or pulling off.
Early Spring: Apply a light application of balance or slow-release fertilizer low in nitrogen or side-dress with compost and organic amendments when new growth appears. Divide or transplant as necessary, watering well afterwards.

Mid-Spring: Water well if it is unseasonably dry, as plants prefer evenly moist soil.

Late Spring: Remove spent flowers daily. Watch for flower thrips and treat accordingly.
Summer: Continue to deadhead as needed, and cut away flower scapes after all buds have opened. Groom plants by removing yellow or dead leaves. Supplement natural rainfall to provide an inch of water a week, and apply 2-3 inches of mulch around plants, keeping it an inch or so away from the crowns. Monitor plants for spider mites and spray if needed.

Fall: Remove old foliage by cutting back to the ground.

How to Plant Trees and Shrubs

Plant your tree/shrub using a mixture of native soil, compost, and expanded shale. Then, water with a root stimulator.

Set the tree in a hole with the root collar (area just above the roots) flush or slightly above natural grade. Planting too deeply is the leading cause of unsuccessful new tree plantings. Always handle the tree by the root ball instead of the tree trunk.

Your tree/shrub should be planted a little higher than the natural grade to allow for settling. Check the root ball of your tree to make sure the root flare is exposed and at the proper planting height. [Read more…]

All About Cyclamen

Cyclamen bloom late fall to spring in many colors: red, rose, burgundy, purple, and white. The downward-nodding flowers are large and showy on 6- to 8-inch stems above kidney-shaped, dark green leaves. Some varieties have silvery marbling on their leaves with frilly or serrated flowers. This fall/winter bedding plant prefers rich, well-drained soil. [Read more…]

Best Fall and Winter Color Choices

Pansies (Viola X Wittrockiana) come in variety of sizes, colors, and types. There are solid colors without faces, or bi-colors with contrasting faces, to blended colors that provide a mix of colors in each bloom. Pansies thrive in cool weather and will bloom from early fall until hot weather causes them to decline. They will grow in full sun to partial shade. Pansies are heavy feeders, so to encourage continuous blooms throughout the fall and winter, add a granulated fertilizer such as Color X-Press with 14-14-14 blend to the soil in at time of planting. To give your flowers an extra boost, you can also add Bone Meal to fortify the plants through the winter and apply a water-soluble fertilizer every four to six weeks. [Read more…]

Amaryllis Growing and Care Tips

In the garden, amaryllis bloom in March, April, or May, depending on the variety. Some may produce bloom spikes again in the fall. Container-grown amaryllis will bloom indoors six to eight weeks after potting. Keep the potted bulb in a warm, bright location. You can speed up the bloom time by watering with warm water and keeping the potted bulb in an even warmer place. To slow blooms, move the pot to a cooler location.

You can select the bloom time to give an amaryllis as a gift for a special occasion. Wrap the amaryllis bulb in soft paper towels and refrigerate. Remove and pot six to eight weeks before you would like the amaryllis to bloom.


Cut off the flower stem about 2 inches above the bulb. Apply a slow-release fertilizer or bone meal at this time. Do not cut off the leaves after blooming as they produce the food necessary for subsequent blooming. Let them die back naturally. [Read more…]

Healthy Soil, Happy Plants

Healthy soil is essential for a successful garden! It’s disheartening to spend valuable time and money on plants that don’t thrive. But it’s often the quality of the soil, or lack thereof, that’s to blame for gardening woes.

Achieve healthy soil by addressing these basic necessities:

  • An adequate moisture level in the soil can be obtained.
  • The soil must be deep enough and of a texture that allows free movement of air and water.
  • Ensure the soil pH is within the acceptable range for the plants that will be grown in it.

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