Coming Soon! Crepe Murder 2014!

January 16, 2014 | By | Comments (8)
Crepe Murder

Photo: Steve Bender

You’ve fidgeted through the football season, groaned through the Golden Globes, and doodled through “Downton Abbey.” HOW MUCH LONGER MUST WE WAIT? you bellow from your recliner. Fear not, faithful reader! Grumpy’s Crepe Murder Contest 2014 is only weeks away! Start looking for horrors right now!

In case you’re a newbie to the South, you should know two things about the people who live here. (1) They are absolutely obsessed with crepe myrtles. (2) Many of them commit a crime called “crepe murder” around this time every year, pruning these beautiful trees back to ugly stumps for no good reason.

Grumpy and his readers have therefore MADE IT THEIR SACRED MISSION to expose these atrocities by sneaking up while the perps aren’t looking, taking digital photos of the evidence, and publishing them here for all to see. The ten worst, most sickening examples of crepe murder will all win nice prizes.

So start sneaking around and looking. Caution — only crepe murder photos wanted. No photos of neighbors wearing sweatsuits in church.


  1. A. Fritz

    I have never pruned my crepe myrtles and have lived in my home in central Florida for 8 years. They were already established and large when I moved in. However, there are three that line my drivway and I think they are too close together. They bloom, but their blooms and foliage aren’t lush. I am going to try to prune them this year per your blog directions. Is there anything more you would recommend?

    January 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm
  2. Steve Bender

    Josephine, I was talking about growing bougainvilleas in the ground in the South. You are obviously growing them in pots farther north.

    Razzle Dazzle crepe myrtles would be a good substitute. Good with the best one, ‘Cherry Dazzle.’

    DAM, removing the knuckles is the first step in restoring murdered crepes to their natural forms. It makes no sense to remove them if you’re just going to murder them every year. Total waste of time.

    Barbara, you can email Grumpy a photo to

    January 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  3. DAM

    I’ll send you a picture form my office at The Watergate looking onto the Kennedy Center. They commit some major Crepe Murder. They also do this weird thing of cutting the “knuckles” in half each winter? Can you tell me what this for? I assume more growth…

    January 20, 2014 at 4:40 pm
  4. Jackie Chlanda

    I live in the Kansas City area. Zone 6. Our subdivision islands were planted with knockout roses which had to be removed this past fall due to rosette disease. Our landscape committee has been trying to figure out a good substitute for the roses. I thought the razzle dazzle cherry crepe myrtle might be a good choice due to its size, color and not a lot of maintenance would be involved. Our subdivision is a 55 and older community and we are looking for something with color that doesn’t get too tall and requires little pruning. Would the razzle dazzle crepe myrtle be a good choice? Can you suggest another plant that would work that is colorful, not over 4 ft., in full sun and little to no maintenance? Also how long will the crepe myrtles stay in bloom in our area?

    January 17, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  5. Josephene Shaw

    Your letter about bougainvilleas, she may be pruning off the blossoms. Mine blooms on
    The tips of new growth. It is in bloom now jan 19. It lives year round in the SW corner of my
    BR here on the side of Mt Taylor. Zone 5.
    Only place I could find to communicate with you.
    Wish I could grow crepe myrtles here.

    January 17, 2014 at 10:24 am
  6. barbara

    I like Crepe Murder! They just don’t look good or bloom as well when left to their own devices. They get HUGE, LEGGY, and the blooms are poopy!

    January 16, 2014 at 5:55 pm
  7. Barbara Wesley

    So, where do we go to upload the evidence of these dastardly deeds?

    January 16, 2014 at 1:43 pm
  8. Julie@Growing Days

    I’m in! My kids are trained to scream “Crepe Murder!” every time they see a poor, mangled crepe myrtle. Unfortunately, they’ve been known to scream it AT the tree’s owner.

    January 16, 2014 at 10:20 am

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