Plant Notes: Crapemyrtle, a pruning crime


I am perplexed with the ongoing mutilation of Crapemyrtles  (Lagerstroemia indica ) in the landscape. Much press has been given to ” Crape Murder”, the chopping of Crapemyrtles within arms and pruners reach every spring. Goggle the term Crape murder and you will be directed to a multitude of information on the subject. I first saw this term in a book    “Crapemyrtle, A Grower’s Thoughts”By David Byer in 1997. David is a third generation nurseryman, degreed and has literally written the book on Crapemyrtles. His book has an excellent section on the subject of pruning of this tree and should be read by all before they abuse, I mean prune this plant.

I’m not suggesting that a selective pruning of Crapes is not acceptable but stumpcutting  is. Bottom line, this beautiful tree with strong structural trunks and mottled bark should be appreciated for its form as well as blooms. Think about this, would you cut a gracefully branching dogwood to six feet above the ground every year because, well because everyone else does, even the professional. ( some with horticultural degrees)

Take a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, Mobile Alabama or another historic southern town and see how the natural beauty of the trunks and bark of this tree creates a strong visual presence in the landscape. You might even take a glance at the blooms but leave your chain saws and pruning tools at home. Please!

About rbelam

Landscape Designer
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