Originally Posted by RVwife
I'm not an arborist, but have extensive experience with fruit trees and am a retired horticultural author. I'll give it a shot, although diagnosis via photo is not always easy or accurate.
Sorry about the pic. Yes, I know it's rough. I'm an hour away for now, so if you need something specific, please let me know and I'll go back and retrieve that information.
I'll do my best to answer your questions but I'm really not a tree guy.
"What kind/ species of tree is this"? Crape Myrtle. Her favorite.
"When was it planted"? Now you're really testing a guy's memory. I want to say around somewhere between 2013 and 2015.
"How often was it watered over the summer"? It receives water when it rains. It's a memorial planted at on an on/off ramp in Lincolnton, NC. The state of NC ask you not resurrect permanent memorials that interfere with grounds maintenance and provide information on approved plantings. My family agreed and we chose this.
"What kind of soil is it growing in? Yours looks like it may be sandy, is that true"? I believe that's true. The terrain is notoriously sand or red clay. It runs more sandy as you enter the low lands and Lincolnton is on that path (west to east). NC DOT approved the tree for planting and shared climate data etc. This tree was supposed to do well there.
The leaves are a bit brown but still have green in them up close. It was supposedly a hot dry summer here in NC, so the moisture proposal makes sense. Leaves are falling off of other tress without changing color. That used to suggest there was little rain.
There appears to be a significant ant infestation, so I don't know if they're doing anything to the roots. Ants usually ward off other harmful insects but remove a lot of soil from around the root ball. I thought about a pesticide but questioned myself and went no further. They could be providing good aeration to the root ball?
I built a 'well' around the trunk; meaning there is no mulch touching any of the trunks but only welled up around the rim.
"Normally fertilizer should be applied in early spring. An additional application (along with sufficient water/rain) can be made in summer if plant growth shows the need for it. Applying fertilizer at this time of year is usually NOT a good idea. You can't undo what you've done, but live and learn. At this time of year it is the plant's job to start going dormant. Rule of thumb is no fertilizer after August 1. Encouraging it to grow may leave it more susceptible to winter cold injury, especially if a severe cold snap arrives before it is fully dormant. Fortunately for you, this is more likely up here in the north than where you are".
Yes, the energy moves to the root ball this time of year and I'm hoping not to sap that energy with the fertilizer by burning the root ball. I can only get back here once a year to tend it so I took my chances. I'm only an hour away so let me know if you think I should go back and remove it. I used this:https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https...PUfW-RYXBXqEEK
and dumped the whole thing on it.
I appreciate your time and effort to craft your reply and I want to recognize it. Thank you very much.
If the above answers are inadequate or you could use more information that helps you help me, please don't hesitate to ask.
Safe travels and keep well.