Wednesday, January 2, 2013

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation for a case of “Crape Murder”

Brutally pruned Crapemyrtles with overgrowth
Some people call it pruning. CrabappleLanscapEXPERTS call it “crape murder”.

About Crape Myrtles
Crape Myrtle, (Lagerstroemia indica) is one of the most commonly-used flowering shrubs/trees in metro-Atlanta landscaping today. A tall and graceful multi-trunked woody ornamental with beautiful giraffe-like exfoliating bark, crape myrtle provides welcome flowers in late summer through fall.  Bright colors include the original watermelon-pink through white, light pink, magenta, lavender and carmine red.  

Showing natural, graceful Crapemyrtle form 
 DYK? Size Categories for crape myrtles
There is a size and habit of crape myrtle for every landscape situation that avoids all forms of pruning, although the correct cultivar is not always selected at planting time. The United States National Arboretum lists varieties alphabetically in their Lagerstroemia Checklist. 

Rosey Carpet Crapemyrtle

Varying Crapemyrtle Habits 
Sizes range from groundcover crape myrtles that drape on the ground like carpets to crape myrtlettes that grow only about 3 feet in large planters, to the typically sized 8-12 feet, to the giant white variety ‘Natchez’  which grows to 40 feet and is beloved for its beautiful patterned bark.

Grumpy Gardener Steve Bender's photo of Crape Murder

What is “Crape Murder”?
Because crape myrtles flower on new wood, unskilled maintenance crews will hack the tops off of graceful shrubs to ensure they will send out new wood. This is unnecessary!
CrabappleLandscapEXPERTS recommend leaving graceful plants unpruned. They will reliably produce bountiful flowers next summer regardless!  

In the case of overgrown shrubs, your LandscapEXPERTS Team will carefully select by eye and hand-remove stump sprouts and crossing or rubbing internal limbs. We can slightly reduce the overall size of the plant with expert, selective pruning with hand clippers. Small twigs less than pencil size can unobtrusively lower the height of a crapemyrtle.  

Tuscarora Crapemyrtle flower
Contact your Crabapple rep if you want us to remove spent blossoms in late August to force a second flush of bloom in autumn!

Or, if a small tree with a single trunk suits your requirements best, Crabapple can select a strong main trunk and remove side branches (limb up) the woody ornamental to form a tree-like canopy.  No way will we practice the unskilled crape murder that leads to unsightly knobs of wood and destroys the natural shape of the tree.

Multi-colored exfoliating bark

Steve Bender, a.k.a. the Grumpy Gardener from Southern Living announced his 3rd annual Crape Murder photo contest on FB on 1/1/13:

DYK? there is a FB Community called Stop Crape Murder:

Digging Deeper about Crape Mytle Pruning with UGA: 

No comments:

Post a Comment