I think we can all agree that in general drive-by shootings are bad. But sometimes they accomplish a lot of good. For example, look at what Jenny Badcock of Columbus, Georgia captured by sneaking up on a house, rolling down the passenger-side window, and pressing the button on her digital camera. Another startlingly ugly, award-winning entry in Grumpy’s Second Annual Crepe Murder Contest!
Needless to say, there are all sorts of unsavory images that come to mind when beholding this monstrosity, but since Grumpy works for Southern Living (the pinnacle of savoriness), you’ll have to conjure them by yourselves.
Grumpy has seen lots of crepe murder, but never anything quite like this. So many conscious, intentional, and moronic actions had to go into creating it. First, they took a crepe myrtle trained into a single-trunk tree and chopped it off 4 feet from the ground. Why? To make a hitching post for Trigger? To make directions easy for party invitations? (“Take a left onto Main Street and then look for the stump that looks like a light pole with bark. You can’t miss it.”
No, you can’t.
Then, of course, they just kept cutting it off at the same point every year, until it now looks like — well, you know what it looks like.
Can This Plant Be Saved?
There are two way a crepe myrtle butchered this badly can be restored. First, cut off the knob on the top. Select about 5 well-spaced shoots that will grow from it to come new main limbs and cut off the others. Second, cut the poor thing off at the ground. Let 4-5 well-spaced shoots grow up to become new trunks and cut off all the rest.
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, Jenny 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. The artistry will amaze you.