Don’t Chop Your Crepe Myrtles

April 2, 2008 | By | Comments (7)

Crepemyrtles
Ladies, if you need any more proof that you’re married to an absolute moron, walk outside and see what he just finished doing to your lovely crepe myrtles. After losing a huge bet on underdog Davidson to upset Kansas in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, he’s worried about a big guy named Vinnie showing up to break his kneecaps. To relieve his anxiety, he’s cut down the crepe myrtles into ugly stumps, which is what his legs will look like shortly. After the hospital releases him, please explain three things. First, crepe myrtles are trees and look awful when pruned back every year. The skinny new branches won’t be strong enough to hold up the flowers. Second, Davidson’s fate rested on the shoulders of a player with the same first name as me and I couldn’t hit a three-pointer if the hoop was the size of Saturn’s rings. Finally, never bet with a guy named Vinnie. Bet with Pat.

Need more advice for your garden? Subscribe to the Grumpy Gardener.

Crepe Myrtle Care from SouthernLiving.com
Stop! Don’t Chop Crepe Myrtles!
Beginner’s Guide to Crepe Myrtles
Crepe Myrtle Pruning Tips
Crepe Murder

 

    COMMENTS

    1. Alan Windham

      I thought crepes were a pastry, and crape myrtles was the proper spelling for the common name of Lagerstroemia? A. Windham, Murfreesboro, TN

      August 4, 2008 at 6:37 am
    2. Grumpy Gardener

      Ah yes, the old spelling controversy involving our favorite summer tree has once again reared its head. “Crepe” does not refer only to pastry. It also refers to a type of light, crinkled fabric. The Grump thinks the small, crinkled petals of crepe myrtle flowers look like this, so he spells crepe myrtle with an “e.” This makes more sense than spelling it with an “a,” as according to the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, “crape” is defined as “a band of crepe worn on a hat.”
      Now I know this explanation will not satisfy many people, but it satisfies me, so I’m going to keep on spelling it with an “e” until the National Association of Spell Checkers and English Teachers serves me a restraining order.
      Grumpie

      August 4, 2008 at 1:23 pm
    3. Jim Scofield

      We have a crepe myrtle that the builder landscapers put at the back of our house. It only gets sun about 4 hours in the morning. It is now about 7 ft tall and I want to move it to another part of the yard where it will have full sun all day long. How do I go about doing this and would you suggest another plant to go in its place, I have a sago palm and a Gardena both still in pots that I need to get in the ground would either one of those work where the crepe myrtle was?

      December 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm
    4. Lance

      I have an older crepe myrtle. I read about pollarding and topping and have no interest in butchering the tree now that I know it is not necessary. However, the tree didn’t flower much last year and I think it needs some cleanup. I will clear the dead limbs. Now for my question; the tree is surrounded by dwarf japanese hollys. I can’t get to the base of the tree due to these and am concerned they may be interfering with its root system and possibly robbing it of nutrients. Is this accurate? Should I remove the hollys? I was considering that anyhow.

      February 1, 2009 at 12:13 am
    5. Grumpy Gardener

      It’s questionable whether the hollies are affecting the flowering of your crepe myrtle. However, if they were mine, I’d remove them, simply because one of a crepe myrtle’s finest features is its handsome trunk and bark, which the hollies are now hiding. For advice on how to prune your crepe myrtles, click on the various titles listed under the photo above.

      February 1, 2009 at 8:18 am
    6. Christina Watts

      My husband has committed crepe murder again! Fortunately he only hacked off one of two. I’ve read several sights and a couple recommend cutting the knarly knubs off. They are at about 4 ft. How far down should I cut?

      April 13, 2010 at 10:21 am
    7. Steve Bender

      Cut just below the stub. Then when new growth sprouts from the end, remove all but 1-2 sprouts. These will become the new main limbs. GG

      April 15, 2010 at 11:37 am