Don’t be a Crape Murderer
By Kathy Conner Cornell VCE Southside Master Gardener I got an email from a friend in distress. A lawn and garden crew were taking a chainsaw to the crape myrtles in her complex. This is aptly called Crape Murder and is commonly thought to be the correct way to prune a crape myrtle. Unfortunately, is not the correct way and one only need to ride down US 501 in Halifax to witness how ugly the plants look when pruned in this manner. I do believe some that were murdered did not survive the slaughter. Crape myrtles, Lagerstroemia indica, are a beautiful southern woody plant that can take all the heat and humidity thrown at it. The colors range from white to pink to red to purple. No matter the size plant you want, crape myrtles can cover it. I had one, cultivar ‘Pocomoke’ that got only a foot tail. The plant height typically ranges from 4’ to those topping out over 30’. When considering which crape myrtle to purchase, know your desired mature size and find one that meets that criterion. Harsh pruning should not be required if you made the correct size selection.