Don’t Commit Crape Murder!

It has already started!  I’m starting to see Crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica and hybrids) that are hacked to sticks.  Just today, I saw a large crew climbing tall ladders to maim several beautiful Crapemyrtles–looked like a colony of ants descending.  My theory has always been that it’s just a way for the landscape maintenance companies to justify getting a few more bucks out of their clients at a slow time of year.  And yes, I’m in the business, so it’s not like I’m judging from afar.  I credit my friend at Southern Living magazine, garden editor Steve Bender, for coining the phrase.  And my friend David Pippin, the Richmond horticulturist, is not amused, either.  They have been attempting for years to get the good word out there.

Crape murder just committed

Crape Murder just committed

This is what they look like a year later

This is what they look like a year after they are Murdered. Notice the growth coming from the points at which they were pruned. Looks weak, huh?

It’s not necessary to prune Crapemyrtles in order to make them bloom.  They bloom off the new growth, anyway, and continual pruning just makes them weaker at these pruned joints.  The proper way is to thin out the branches.  There is a variety of Crapemyrtle available today in every size, shape and color–for every space and application–so this pruning is just unnecessary.  Where everyone got the idea that “it has to be done in order to make them bloom”, I don’t know.  Probably from driving around and seeing practically every Crapemyrtle hacked, or told by their irresponsible yardman that it must be done.

Now this is how Crapemyrtles should be pruned

Now this is how Crapemyrtles should be pruned!

So don’t so it–don’t Murder your Crape!

Photos by the author.  If you copy, please link back.

Posted under Garden maintenance, Pruning

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on January 25, 2011

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