Crepe Myrtle Bark Has Turned Black Or Gray

Question From: R. Drake - TEXAS
Q: O have two crape myrtle trees in my front yard. Planted them the same time in 2012. They look sick, both have a black or gray bark on each. Seems each summer i have to give them a bunch of water to keep them pretty and green. Do you have a suggestion as what could be wrong? I live in South Texas and the soil is good down to about 18 inches.

A: Unfortunately I have no experience growing crepe myrtles as they are not hardy here in Michigan. The black bark is probably sooty mold a fungus that grows on the sweet honey dew given off from insects such as aphids, The gray bark could be a type of scale, also an insect. I suggest you have an onsite inspection from a certified aborist to sort out and control these issues. To find a professional in your area go to and enter your zip code. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy