Friday, January 3, 2014

Crepe Murder

The Grumpy Gardner would be so proud of me.

He always has articles on "Crepe Murder" which is when people inaccurately trim branches of a crepe myrtle tree.

I never knew it was wrong to slice the tree in half. Everywhere I looked, professional landscapers were chopping them. At least, they call themselves professional.

Cracker Barrel obviously hires someone that doesn't know what they are doing. I drove by three Cracker Barrels, all in different, but close cities, and all their crepe myrtle trees had been murdered.

I don't know how I stumbled on the Grumpy Gardner from Southern Living, but it was back when we first moved into our house. I learned a lot about yard work through him.

With my crepe myrtles starting off VERY small, I've had to groom them each year. But they are finally their mature height and they are so easy. While my family was in town, I had my nieces and sisters helping pick up the branches I cut off.

I didn't take a chainsaw to them, I just shaped them a little. Crepe Myrtles are similar to hydrangeas in that they bloom on new wood.

I can remember one year going to a park and seeing their Crepe Myrtles chainsawed to two feet above the ground! The trunks were so big, yet they were so short. I couldn't imagine how ugly it might look in the summer.

I noticed the front of our neighborhood had their crepe myrtles trimmed this week and they weren't lopped off. Someone knew about crepe murder!

Neighborhood Trees
So, I'm spreading the word ... don't commit crepe murder. Your tree will look funny, especially as it matures. You'll have thick tree trunks with tiny branches and the heavy flowers will make the branches droop because they are not strong enough to support them.

If you have a really tall variety of crepe myrtle and it's too thick where you can reach to trim, it's better off to just leave it untrimmed. There will still be some blooms, just not a whole lot. See if you can get a tall ladder or professional to thin it out for you.

Un-cut Crepe Myrtles

And now is the time to trim the trees, before they get their new growth in Spring. And if you have bug drench, now is a good time to put it on the crepe myrtles and other bug-loving plants. Japanese beetles love our crepe myrtles, but when we use the drench, we no longer have them.

I'm ready for Spring so I can see my trees with leaves on them again!

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