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"Crepe-Murder"

Posted by
Viewfinder (Bradenton, FL, United States) on 21 February 2013 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

One of the absolutely iconic plants of any Southern landscape is the flowering crepe myrtle tree or bush. Prolific bloomers in many shades of pink, purple, red, and white, hardy in most Southern climate types, and varied in size from short shrubs to trees that can grow 20-30 feet in the air, other than the Southern Magnolia, the azalea and camellia, and perhaps the venerable moss-draped live oaks, few plants in the Deep South have as widespread a fan base as does the crepe myrtle.

But for an unknown reason (or reasons), some misguided home gardeners, urban planners, and some jack-leg "landscapers" view it as their mission in life to permanently disfigure these normally gracefully weeping trees by chopping off the tops of branches wholesale during the dormant season. Somehow they view what is left after this near-massacre as an improvement. Forgive me, but I say they are either delusional or woefully ignorant.

Southern Living Magazine has dubbed this malpractice of the landscaping arts "crepe-murder" and IMO rightly so.

In an effort to raise awareness and bring this terrible gardening atrocity to light, I am linking to one of their articles here and posting my own recent photo, taken at the scene of the crime at a neighbor's house.

You decide if this is an improvement. Last summer this tree had a wonderful umbrella crown and was covered with lacy white blossoms. Now this is what remains; it may never, ever recover a semblance of its original form and beauty.

Crepe Myrtle owners - this kind of gross disfigurement in the name of "pruning" is not good for your tree and is absolutely not necessary!

Apple iPhone 4S 1/325 second F/2.4 ISO 50 5 mm

Eric Cousineau from Sherwood Park, Canada

Ouch....looks painful! Well seen and captured Glenn! ;-)

21 Feb 2013 1:44pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

Although it's a little late, drop a copy of that article on your neighbor's porch. That "pruning" job looks like something I might do.

21 Feb 2013 9:02pm

@Steve Rice: Steve, this is a brilliant idea! I am going to do it!

Judy aka L@dybug from Brooksville, FL, United States

A great documentation of the 'Crape Murder'.
Happily, I can say I've never seen this done, but I do remember an image here on Am3 of pollarding. Here it is, by Chris Elliott.

21 Feb 2013 10:01pm

Apple iPhone 4S
1/325 second
F/2.4
ISO 50
5 mm

crepemyrtle
chop
disfigured