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My Poor Crape Myrtle

Deer Damage Crape Myrtle
Deer Damage Crape Myrtle
Last week we had a storm. A big storm with a lot of wind and rain. About two inches of rain. Typically after a storm, my husband goes out and takes a survey of any damage. So when he walked into the house and told me to get my boots on and look at the crape myrtle in the front yard, my heart sank. I did not want to look.


It was awful! It looked like some deranged person came with an ax and chopped it all up. How could this be wind damage? Who would do such a thing? But, of course, I knew that was not what had happened, and upon closer inspection, we saw the evidence of those darn deer. Hoof prints!


We live between a farm field and some backwoods. The herd of deer stroll each evening along the tree line and our driveway to cross over to the farm’s cornfield. Unfortunately, the day before, the corn was finally harvested. I guess the deer were not happy about this event and decided to take it out on my crape myrtle. My beautiful crape myrtle was one of the last outdoor plants I had purchased from Behnke Nurseries before we closed.


I immediately took some photos of the damage and wrote to Behnke’s former woody plant buyer and expert, Miri Talabac, and asked her the question. Can this plant be saved? Her quick response was YES!!!
“Make clean cuts just below all of the broken parts, and it will probably re-sprout from the roots (and what’s left of the stems) next spring. Remember that crape myrtle leafs-out late anyway, so it may not look like it’s doing anything until at least mid-May unless we have a warm season.”


I am sure many of you have also gone through what I have with my plant, so you understand the feelings that there was nothing that could have been done. I thought for sure those deer had more than enough places to trample and destroy property. But, thankfully, we might be okay this time.


As I count my blessings today, I will try to remember how much enjoyment we get watching the deer and other wildlife out our windows. But darn, it is hard on days like this.
Crape Myrtle Branch Deer Damage
Crape Myrtle Branch Deer Damage

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry and i do empathize. My good news is that, indeed, our crape myrtles recovered the next spring wonderfully, and i bet yours will, too!

    1. Thanks! I am sure it will end up being beautiful. It was just so shocking. Really did look like someone came by with clippers!

  2. So sorry to hear about the crape myrtle…..but I know it will come back….and your positive out look is wonderful…..I always love wildlife stories….
    My very best…

    1. Thanks so much!!! I love wildlife also! And we really do enjoy watching the deer wander by each day. But this was such a shock!

  3. Yikes, I sure can empathize! We put in several young-ish Maples right at the end of Summer as well as a line of Cypress trees (there’s monstrosity being built where there used to be pasture and other Maple trees :-(. We thought we might be safe for a while, but a little bit after that big storm, we found the last Cypress almost bare of branches. Yesterday I noticed that one of the Maples also has had the tips of branches nibbled. We love the wildlife too, so we were spraying one of those deterrent sprays on the Cypress and so far, so good. My dear husband has a couple of those motion-activated water sprayer devices on the way to help deter the feeding here. I hope your Crape Myrtle does recover, especially because of the sentimental aspect. Patuxent is very good now, but I miss Behnke’s all the time!!

  4. I love going to Patuxent Nursery also. I am sure my Crape Myrtle will be okay but really, they had to do this to the one in the front yard. I have 2 others in the back.. LOL I would have been really upset though with that too. We miss everyone too!

  5. I’m certain your Crape Myrtle will, with time, recover! About 2 yrs. after a 3 year severe European Hornet invasion, my lilacs, at least one of which came from Behnke’s, are still struggling to return to their former beauty. I think the strangest thing is that while there are few blooms, they are producing the blooms in the fall and early winter. The time of year when the hornets normally would have left for the winter. I enjoy those small blooms as it shows what fighters for survival plants can be.
    Dianne Atkins

  6. funny you should mention Hornets. We just noticed our young Red Maple has the biggest hornets nest hanging on the lower branch. We are planning to remove it soon. An article for another time.

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