The Southern Living Magazine has a monthly article called “The Grumpy Gardener.” He is on the same trajectory that I am, to eliminate Crape Murder. His latest article gave directions on how to restore the natural shape to a murdered crapemyrtle. If there are gnarly knobs on the ends of the trunks, cut these off. Lots of shoots will grow from the cleanly cut ends. Choose one or two well-spaced ones that are coming up and out from each stub. Let these continue to grow, and remove all the others. These saved shoots will become the new trunks. Prune off any branches that come out from the sides of the trunks up to a height of 3 to 4 feet. In a few years your tree will look just as good as new. If you want your plant to look like a tree, you’ll still have to remove suckers at the bottom of the plant. Unfortunately some crapes sucker more than others and require more maintenance during the growing season.
You do not have to cut off the seed heads of your crapemyrtles. Mother Nature will take care of that in time and the plant often grows past those dead ends. However, if the plant isn’t too tall, you can use a gloved hand to pull up on the dead ends and seeds and they will easily come off. It’s a simple procedure and should only be done on crapes that you can reach while on the ground. You sure don’t need to get a ladder to do that and take the risk of having an accident.
On Saturday, April 27th, DETA and the Department of Community Development are gathering at Fuqua Park near the Gazebo for a volunteer clean-up day at our parks. The event will start at 9:00 and should conclude by 12:00 or before. Trash bags and gloves will be available to all volunteers but bring your own gloves if you like. We hope to have enough volunteers so that we can focus on several parks in our community. We hope to see you there on the 27th!