Ever watch one of those shows on “Animal Planet” about a pride of lions on the hunt? Unlike other big cats, they work as a team to separate one prey animal from a herd and take it down. then they go into a growling, snapping feeding frenzy, sticking their faces in, ripping out guts, tearing off a leg, and generally enjoying another nice dinner out with the family.
By the time the lions have eaten their fill and prepare to go sleepy-by, all that’s left of the poor gazelle, zebra, or wildebeest are some gnawed, gory leg and hip bones. And that’s how I know whoever did this to their crepe myrtle is a big fan of “Animal Planet.” Because these grotesque stumps cut off at the same place every spring for the last 20 years aren’t merely awful. They’re gnawful.
Many thanks to Anne Marie Ashley for sending Grumpy this prize-winner!
If you inherited an ugly plant like this one, could you restore its beauty? Yes, but it would require drastic measures. You’d have to cut all the trunks to the ground, select 3-4 well-spaced new shoots growing up to become new trunks, and cut off the rest. As the tree grows, remove all side branches from the trunks up to a height of 4 feet or so. This will expose the pretty bark.
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, Anne Marie 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 final winner of 2012. This is gonna gross you out.