Crepe Murder 2014 — Ask the Professionals!

March 13, 2014 | By | Comments (1)
Crepe Myrtle 2014

Photo: Sandy Crayton

Why do people murder their crepe myrtles? True, some conjure up this loony idea all by themselves. By and large, however, folks just follow the fine example set by the “professionals.” Does the scene above seem horribly familiar?

Sandy Crayton of Richmond, Virginia sent Grumpy this photo. To be totally circumspect about this (and avoid a lawsuit), I must publicly admit there is no direct evidence that the grounds management company whose trailer is in the background had anything to do with the mortifying destruction of the crepe myrtle in the foreground. Therefore, we have no basis to snarkily chuckle at the slogan, “The Curb Appeal Experts,” painted on the trailer. So stop that chuckling. Yes, I mean you, you, you, you, and you. Stop it.

Who’s to say this crepe myrtle wasn’t savagely attacked by beavers? Or that a farmer didn’t run over it with a bush hog? Or that it isn’t miraculously growing backwards? Or that the Superintendent of Schools didn’t order its pruning to keep it from obscuring the view of that historic manhole cover?

We just don’t know in this case.

What we do know is that many landscaping companies all over the country needlessly butcher crepe myrtles every year for only one reason — it’s winter and their crews need the work. And the truly sad part is that many homeowners who see this being done by “professionals” naturally assume that this practice is necessary and correct. So they do it to their own plants.

For sending Grumpy this photo, Sandy becomes winner #8  in Crepe Murder 2014. As a reward, we’ll send her a lavender ‘Early Bird’ dwarf crepe myrtle that never needs pruning from our Southern Living Plant Collection. If you wondering what’s the proper way to prune to crepe myrtle, check out “Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-By-Step.”

Meet Grumpy back here this Sunday for more horrors that will send chills up your spine and tears down your cheeks.


  1. Deborah Hayes Patterson

    You are correct abt the professionals. My husband works at a college. He saw “professional landscapers” pruning the crepe myrtles on campus. They were murdering them, as you call it. Therefore, in the fall, my husband murders our crepe myrtles because that’s how the professionals do it on campus. 🙂

    Sorry abt my crepe myrtles!
    Debbie Patterson

    March 18, 2014 at 10:35 pm

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