Crape Murder is the act of pruning your Crape Myrtles incorrectly, causing long-term damage to the plant.
People may prune their Crape Myrtles in late winter and early spring because they think it blooms more in the summer. Others may prune because their Crape Myrtles are too large. But topping back the branches is referred to as Crape Murder. The Crape Myrtle will still grow back and have plenty of summer flowers, but the repeated pruning and regrowth at the top will cause a build up of scar tissue over time. This can lead to disease and rotten wood, as well as excessive suckers at the base of the plant.
If you're looking for a Crape Myrtle for your landscape, there are different varieties to choose from. If you have ample space for your Crape Myrtle, you can choose a variety that will grow twenty to thirty feet and have a healthy, natural-looking tree. If you have a smaller space and don't want to commit Crape Murder to keep the plant a smaller size, you can choose a smaller variety. Regardless of size, you can remove the lower branches to accentuate it's tree-like appearance, or prune the side branches, but it's important not to cut the branches from the top.
Crape Myrtles can make a beautiful addition to your landscape, so choose one that's the right size and remember not to top the branches, and you'll have plenty of summer blooms to enjoy for years to come.
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