5 Causes of Crepe Myrtles leaves Turning Brown[How to Fix]

Are you wondering why the leaves of your crepe myrtle are turning brown?

Crepe myrtles are very resilient plants but their leaves start to turn brown and fall off for some definite reasons. This can badly affect the blooming in spring. So, it’s very important to fix this problem before it’s too late.

Water Stress, Aphids, Cercospora Leaf Spot, Fertilizer Burn, And Cold Snap are the main 5 reasons why the leaves of crepe myrtle turn brown. 

In this article, I am going to talk about these reasons and also the solutions to treat the brown leaves on your crepe myrtles. 

So let’s fire away-

 Why is the Crepe Myrtles Turning Brown?

1. Water Stress

Crepe myrtles love moist soil. So, when the soil is underwatered, it creates a stressful situation for them. As a result, the crepe myrtle leaves start turning brown and falling off. This happens mostly during the dry summer when there’s little rainfall. 

Watering is very crucial for crepe myrtles. Because overwatering is also not good. It will increase leaf growth. As a result, your crepe myrtles will not be blooming

Control Measure

Water your crepe myrtles the right amount. Check the soil with a moisture meter to see how much to water (our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden). Water the newly transplanted crepe myrtles right after planting.

2. Aphids On Crepe Myrtles

Aphid outbreaks are common in crepe myrtles. They secrete honeydew which coats the leaves. As a result, the leaves don’t get enough sunlight. And the leaves start turning brown and fall off.

Honeydew also brings another fungal problem called sooty mold. It also results in browning and black spots on crepe myrtle leaves.

Control Measure

Spray the leaves vigorously with water in the early morning hours for small infestation. In case of a large infestation, you need to apply the best insecticide to your crepe myrtles that won’t harm the blooming. (our pick: Bonide (BND611) – Annual Tree and Shrub Insect Control)

If aphid problems occur every year, spray dormant oil spray and neem oil spray as preventive measures. The recipes are given below-

 #Recipe 1:- Dormant Oil Spray Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap
  • 500 ml of oil like soybean oil or vegetable oil. 


  • Add the cooking oil and soap together and mix it very well
  • Store it in a bottle.
  • Then mix 4 tablespoons of this mixture with every liter of water 
  • Spray twice a week. But avoid any contact with the flower buds.

#Recipe 2:-Neem Oil Spray Recipe


  • 5 tablespoons of neem oil
  • 10 liters of water


  • Mix neem oil and water 
  • Spray this solution on the leaves on a regular basis except for the flowering season.

Note: Use all homemade solutions in a small leaf area first to check if it suits your crepe myrtles. If the leaf burns then dilute the solution.

3. Cercospora Leaf Spot

Cercospora leaf spot is a serious disease of Crepe Myrtles. It’s a big problem in areas with high humidity. It occurs later in the year. The leaves start with irregular brown spots.

The brown spots spread around the leaf ends. And the leaves and buds start turning yellow or orange. Eventually, they fall off. Cercospora leaf spot affects the blooming of crepe myrtle drastically.

Control Measure

Apply the fungicide for your crepe myrtles labeled for the Cercospora leaf spot.(Our Pick: Bonide Copper Fungicide)

Cut off the affected branches properly. Prune the crepe myrtles before spring to provide a better airflow. Plant Cercospora leaf spot-resistant varieties like “Apalachee” or “Red Rocke”

Here are some amazing and effective homemade recipes to get rid of Cercospora leaf spot from your crepe myrtles.

#Recipe 1:- Cinnamon Spray Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder 
  •  1 liter of water 


  • Mix them together
  • Let this solution rest overnight 
  • Then strain with a fine cloth and pour it into the sprayer.
  • Spray on both sides of the rhubarb leaves. 

#Recipe 2:- Copper Spray Recipe


  • 1 gallon of water
  • 60 ml of copper sulfate
  • 10 tablespoons of hydrated lime (Calcium hydroxide)


  • First, start by adding water and hydrated lime to a plastic bucket. 
  • Do not use any metal bucket. Because the ingredients are corrosive and can react with metal.
  • Keep stirring the mixture slowly with a plastic spoon.
  • While stirring, start adding the copper sulfate into the container. 
  • You have to keep stirring because the hydrated lime settles down easily.
  • Shake the mixture very well before and during spraying. 
  • Wash the sprayer thoroughly after spraying because this mixture is very corrosive.
  • Always make a fresh mixture. Don’t store this mixture for future use. 

4. Fertilizer Burn Of Crepe Myrtles

Too much fertilizer sometimes can burn the leaves and turn them brown and crispy. If there are too many nutrients in the soil the roots cannot uptake them properly. As a result, the plant lack nutrients and starts getting yellow and brown.

Control Measure

Crepe myrtles need less nitrogen and more potassium and phosphorus for better blooms. So, get your Crepe myrtles the best blooming and slow-release fertilizer (our pick: Nelson Plant Food Crape Myrtle & All Flowering Trees)

Here is a simple homemade fertilizer recipe you can try 

#Recipe 1:- Homemade Fertilizer Recipe


  • 1/4 cup of Epsom salts
  • 2 cups of urine
  • 2 cups of wood ash
  • grass, weeds, leaves, etc.


  • In a big bucket add the Epsom salt, urine, and wood ash
  • Fill the rest of the bucket with grass, leaves, and weeds
  • Fill the bucket with water
  • Let it steep for 3 days.
  • After 3 days strain this mixture and store it in bottles.
  • Before using dilute it 50 % by adding water 
  • Apply directly into the soil around your crepe myrtles.

Note:  Steep for 3 days only. Then use this solution within a day or two.

5. Cold Snap

Crepe myrtles are not much of a cold-tolerant plant. A sudden drop in temperature makes the leaves brown and crispy. They may even fall from the branch.

Control Measure

There is nothing much you can do to prevent this problem of browning. Just keep watering them a minimum during the cold season. And do not fertilize during this time. The spring will bring new green leaves and new blooms.


I hope you’ve found out your solutions to your crepe myrtle leaves turning brown through this article. To get rid of this problem apply the best fungicides and insecticides. Water them correctly and wait for the beautiful blooms to come.

Share your experience with us about the crepe myrtles and ask away if you have any questions in the comment section.

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