Saturday, January 28, 2012

This is the Rationale for Crape Murder.....

We started pruning the Crape Myrtles at the Big House early this morning.  Since these photos reflect a full six-hour day, it might give non-Southerners a better understanding of why most landscaping companies go the "crape murder" route shown in an earlier post.  When we were about two-thirds through today's process, the man who lives across the street pulled up in his car and said, "Dude, there is NO WAY I would be doing that!  It terrifies me just to watch the process!"

The truth is that pruning the crape myrtles makes no real difference in the number or quality of bloom;  you'll often see ancient crape myrtles when driving past old farmsteads around the South, blooming their hearts out in mid-summer, while nothing remains of the house except the firecplace and foundation.  In this particular case, the trees at the driveway entrance have simply outgrown their space, and are no longer in scale to the surrounding landscape.  The choice is to keep them in bounds through pruning, or replace them, which would be such a shame since they've just reached that point of having the truly magnificent exfoliating bark.

An appropriate caption for this one might be, "Really?  You have fifteen of these to do?  Really?" as the other Tim began tree number two today.
To put the size of these trees (Latin name, "Big honkin' Crape Myrtles") in perspective, Chuck (in red) is about 6 feet two inches tall.   The pile of branches is part of what was taken off the first tree.
A particular difficulty with pruning Crape Myrtles is that their branches aren't especially strong, and are more brittle in the winter temperatures.  Nick, the slightest of our group, gets the special job of climbing to the top of the extension ladder to do the finishing cleanup with pruners.  Nick has vowed to become fatter before next year's assignments, so he can be at the base of the ladder. 
Two almost done in this photo, only thirteen to go........(they really are the same height, just a bad camera angle....) 


  1. Very nicely done! I can't wait to see some photos later this year of them in all their glorious bloom!

  2. I don't personalize prune mine at home, except if they need some structural shaping. But then again at home, I only have "Natchez," which is the giant white one....a personal favorite.

  3. You guys have done a superb job there, very professional looking! Did you guys managed to do all the other thirteen in the end?

  4. I've just completed a four day job hand pruning lime trees. It is such a rewarding task to see them all back to within their allotted space, isn't it?

    I work from ladders using secateurs and it terrifies onlookers as the branches the ladder leans against are so thin. Unlike the myrtles, 'though, they are very strong so although I sway around a bit, I'm quite safe.