Apparently, some people think that crepe myrtles should be short enough that you could drive your car over one without damaging the muffler. How else do you explain something like this?
Shearing it every week means it won’t bloom. It will also suggest to people passing by that yours is the home of Cruella de Vil.
Thanks to Gary Ross for taking this picture in his neighborhood in Baton Rouge. Grumpy suggests he go online and immediately order a Kevlar vest.
This example illustrates one of the primary reasons crepe murder continues to occur. People plant crepe myrtles in places where they get too big. No problem — instead of planting a big crepe myrtle, plant a dwarf one, like ‘Cherry Dazzle,’ or a semi-dwarf one, like the lavender ‘Early Bird’ crepe myrtle Grumpy is giving to all the winners. ‘Cherry Dazzle’ forms a mound about 3 feet tall, while ‘Early Bird’ grows only 5 to 8 feet tall. Neither one needs any pruning. For more choices, check out “Choose A Smaller Crepe Myrtle.”
What’s Crepe Murder?
For the uninitiated, crepe murder refers to the odious practice of using chainsaws and loppers to reduce beautiful crepe myrtles to hideous stumps every spring. Not only does this ruin their sculptural form, but it also prevents them from developing that wonderfully mottled, smooth, flaky bark so welcome in the winter landscape. Moreover, the long, whiplike branches that grow from the stumps are too weak to hold up the flowers.
Like every winner, Gary will receive a lavender ‘Early Bird’ crepe myrtle from our Southern Living Plant Collection. This crepe myrtle grows only 8 feet tall and never needs pruning. Come back tomorrow to see our next winner. It will stump you.