Ask Burton: This week, we’d like to answer several unrelated questions about one of our favorite summer color shrubs – the Crapemyrtle! In no particular order, here we go.

My newly installed crapemyrtle looks droopy – I’m running my sprinkler three times a week and watering with a hose at least once a week but it’s still tired-looking and dropping a few yellowed leaves from the inside. Am I overwatering my shrub?

Absolutely not. It may be technically possible to overwater a crapemyrtle its first summer in ground, but we’ve never seen it done. You need to begin hose watering every other day, to start. The sprinkler isn’t doing all that much on a newly planted shrub. Don’t seriously worry about overwatering most shrubs and trees right now, unless you’d see them growing in a xeriscape (yuccas, agave, cacti, Texas mountain laurel, etc.). Cut back watering when the weather cools.

My crapemyrtle trunks are turning black.

The plant is infested with either aphids or scale. Both types of insects suck sap, and their wastes, called honeydew, are basically sugar water. That black is an airborne mold growing in the sugary residue. The mold itself doesn’t harm the plant. Control the insects to make the plant stronger and make the problem go away. Our Bonide Systemic Insect Drench can fix this problem in one application per year, as needed.

I have a lot of dead branches this year that never leafed out. I have many suckers coming out from the base, and from the lower trunks of my crapemyrtle. How should I deal with this?

The plant was injured by the severe freeze. Not all crapemyrtles were hurt, but many were. If it’s just dead tips, prune the tips. If major branches have died, prune them off at the next healthy branch, trunk, or at the ground. If the plant has been badly frozen back, allow the suckers at the base to grow until they’re waist-high, then select the best six to eight stems to be your new trunks, and prune the rest of the plant off at ground level. It will regrow quickly and look better for it.

My Dynamite crapemyrtle is beginning to bloom, but a lot of the blooms are pink, or white-edged, instead of true red.

Several of the true red types of crapemyrtle only flush pigment to the blooms in the short period of time immediately after the bloom bud cracks apart to open. If the plant is very dry, the pigment isn’t carried throughout the bud properly. The same sometimes happens if the bloom cracks open during very cloudy, rainy conditions. The plant will bloom true red when the weather cooperates. Make sure you are keeping the plant well-watered, especially if it is new.