Crepe Myrtle Murder and Hooligan Troubles

| 4/10/2011 11:38:17 PM

A photo of MaryOne of my biggest pet peeves in driving around the Shoals, a name given to the cities of Tuscumbia, Sheffield, Florence and Muscle Shoals, is improper pruning of crepe myrtle trees.

Crepe myrtles are trees that many owners just don’t treat with respect.  It is the most planted tree in the US and is available in white, purple or lilac, red and pink colors. Are you a crepe myrtle murderer?

crepe myrtle murdder  

poor growth after improper trimming 

With the large number planted, many home owners as well as lawn services improperly prune them so that they form a Medusa head when new growth starts. Some are so drastically cut back, using a technique called crepe murder; it’s amazing that they grace the owner with growth.  The growth that does result is a scantily clad shrub.  Notice in the murder picture very little growth.  It takes the crepe myrtle half of the summer to recoup. The Medusa form of pruning or topping results in pom pom growth.  An example a friend of mine calls Crepe myrtle castration is cutting the tree down to a stump.  Several of these may be found at the city hall in Tuscumbia, AL.

 crepe myrtle castration 

Kathy Davis
10/9/2012 9:59:06 PM

We inherited 2 large clumps of crepe myrtle trees. They are 8-10 ft tall and the branches go all the way to the ground into a mass of trunks. I was thinking about trying to take the dozer bucket and carefully digging them up and separating them to form them into a row along my fence. Do you think this would help or hurt them? Thanks in Advance

Mary Carton
4/14/2011 9:26:58 PM

Hopefully they will get rid of the field mice soon and won't be so destructive going after them. On the plus side they are very protective of my house especially if I'm not there. Friends who know them have trouble with them if I'm not there. I'm going to have to find another ac repair guy. He won't go under the house any longer to replace the humidifier filters. Thanks for visiting. Mary

Nebraska Dave
4/13/2011 9:25:55 AM

Mary, you have much patience with your hooligans. I'm not sure I would have been so forgiving. And as for a snake living under my house .... it ain't happening. I guess southern living is a little different then what us northerners will except. And the maintenance guy crawling under the house knowing there's the biggest snake skin he's ever seen under there, it just gives me the willies just thinking about it. Yeah, I know snakes are good to keep rodents and bugs down, but they are just too sneaky for me. Have a great southern day.

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