As a former Horticultural Agent, and having a degree in Landscape Architecture, nothing bugs me more than the awful practice of topping crape myrtles. Volcano mulching might be a close second, but that’s for another post. And like most other Southern women, I subscribe to Southern Living. I also follow them on most social media outlets, as well as Steve Bender better known as the Grumpy Gardener. I saw a post about the 2013 Grumpy Gardener Crape Murder Contest, and thought I can find a “good” example of that. So driving around one day, I found the perfect example see Exhibit A
And the sad thing, there is a matching brutally pruned Crape Myrtle next to this one. On a whim, I entered it the contest. This was taken at a rural post office, so I entitled the entry “Gone Postal”.
I never dreamed that my entry would be selected as a winner of the Crape Murder Contest, but it WAS! I was slightly giddy over having been chosen, I just noticed it on Facebook, before getting official notification from the Grumpy Gardener himself.
Check out the entry here.
Crape myrtles and most any tree are meant to have tapered branches, you know starting big and ending smaller, but for some reason people have this myth that the crape myrtles will perform better if just carelessly hacked back, sometimes in the middle of the branch. Making them look hideous! Instead of the graceful trees they are intended to be. Please know how to prune before pruning! Contact your local Extension service for details. Here is the fact sheet from the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service Home and Garden Information Center on properly pruning crape myrtles.
Some of my favorite Crape Myrtles at Clemson University
This is what Crape Myrtles should look like in the winter! Beautiful structure and long graceful branches,
Crape myrtles are a four season plant, meaning that they are interesting to look at through all the seasons, and those limbs are the main reason they look so great in the winter! Think before you prune!