Timely Garden Tasks for August — Prune, Hydrate, Stay Alive

August 14, 2012 | By | Comments (11)
Crepe Myrtle

Photo by Rob Cardillo

Prune off the round green seed pods of crepe myrtles now. This will help drooping branches stand up straighter, plus you may get a second crop of flowers in fall!

Blood Orange Martini

Photo by Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Never commit to any outside gardening task that takes longer than drinking a cocktail. Remember, when it’s hot and humid, you don’t want to overextend yourself. Grumpy favors martinis, mojitos, and Dark & Stormy’s.

Don’t get struck by lightning! This can be unpleasant. When a thunderstorm approaches, try not to be the tallest thing around or atop the tallest thing around. Contrary to popular belief, wearing metal-soled shoes does not make you a more likely target. When a 100,000-amp lightning bolt is pondering where to cross a mile-high void from cloud to land, it doesn’t care whether your shoes are lined with steel or lined with cheese. If you’re the shortest path, you get fried.


Photo by taigasylvan

The safest place to be when lightning strikes is inside a car with the windows up. This isn’t because the rubber tires insulate the car from the ground. The tires make no more difference than your cheese shoes. It’s because the car’s metal frame safely conducts a lightning strike around you and into the ground. Same principle works with airplanes. They get struck all the time, but their metal frames conduct the electricity around the cabin and not through it. This is why Grumpy recommends that whenever you fly, you insist on a seat inside the plane and not mounted atop it.


  1. Steve Bender


    Try Googling my post, “Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-By-Step.”

    July 1, 2015 at 10:44 am
  2. JWhold

    Hummm, This guy seems to be avoiding the subject, how to prune the CM

    June 28, 2015 at 11:08 pm
  3. Steve Bender

    You’re welcome!

    September 4, 2012 at 10:21 am
  4. Sheila

    Guess I will have to keep checking the tree here at work. The pods are about pea sized and the trees here are loaded with them. Thanks for answering my question.

    August 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm
  5. Steve Bender

    If you want to grow crepe myrtles from seed, you have to let the pods turn brown on the tree before you harvest the seed.

    August 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm
  6. Sheila

    …..can you take the seed pods from the crepe myrtle tree before they turn brown. I am looking to start a gree and found the green pods at work. Since I am new at this, I think I can dry the pods myself and get the seeds when dried? Am I correct to assume this?

    August 28, 2012 at 10:39 am
  7. Tom Mann

    Great advice – not practical for me, since I’d be well sloshed in the morning, if I watered a little, sipped a little. Oh wait— 🙂

    Like Susanna, we also have tall mature Crepes, so we leave the pods for the winter birds, but do prune our smaller ones as suggested, depending on when they started blooming. We have 2 that are just now setting buds… strange 2 years in the garden…

    Lightning — well, it looks pretty in pictures… from someone’s elses camera.

    August 14, 2012 at 9:29 pm
  8. SusannaS

    I have two nice absolutely full-sized crepes. No murder ever happened at MY house! But that also means they’re 25 feet tall (and *not* crowding the house thankyouverymuch). Should I beg my long-suffering husband to rig up some bizarre structure to nip those buds? Will that make them even more happy and healthy, or can I just let ’em go like they’re going since they seem to be quite content?

    August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
  9. Dolly Sarrio

    Thanks Grumpy for the advice

    August 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm
  10. Meredith

    My father in law says leave the seed pods because they use them for “food” in winter. He says to trim in March…what are your thoughts on that Grumpy?

    August 14, 2012 at 11:45 am
  11. David Dunn

    Very, very good advise my friend., and thanks for the Crepe Myrtle Tip.

    August 14, 2012 at 9:15 am

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