Crape myrtles are just one of the most controversial and typically-discussed ornamental crops amongst gardeners, landscapers, conservationists, naturalists, growers, scientists and educators.

How did the crape myrtle become this sort of a incredibly hot subject for discussion?

It’s the pruning.

You have most likely observed a crape myrtle hacked again to just a trunk or with its branches excitement slash throughout the top in landscapes throughout the South. All those in the company simply call it crape murder.

There are loads of bad gardening methods out there, and this is just a person of them. It comes from misinformation or copying what we see. Fortuitously, trees just take this abuse and generally arrive back again each spring.

Nonetheless, this too much pruning is just basic erroneous. It can guide to structurally weak wood. It stresses the trees and will make them more prone to each insects and illness. Ongoing pruning like this can also lead to unattractive knobbing at the lower web page, offering the trees a gnarly glance.

Crape myrtles basically demand minimal if any pruning, in accordance to retired LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

You may well prune to eliminate dead or harmed limbs or reduced-hanging limbs that toss much too significantly shade on lawns and backyard garden beds or to get branches out of mowing paths. You may well also prune to receive a specific landscape appear.

If you do need to have to minimize back again branches, winter is the ideal time to prune. Devoid of leaves, you can see the sort of the tree to decide where cuts require to be produced. Also disposing the limbs will be a lot easier given that they are lighter without foliage.

A single challenge with crape myrtles is bark scale, which has grow to be a serious difficulty here in the Gulf South. Launched by an insect pest from Asia, bark scale has a excellent affinity for crape myrtle trees. The trouble ordinarily goes unnoticed right until crops get started turning black with a fungus referred to as sooty mould when it commences to expand on insect droppings.

The sickness has unfold from the early 2000s all over the South, affecting extra and extra trees. To regulate it, substances can be made use of, but, if not utilised appropriately, these chemical compounds can be unsafe to the ecosystem and ecosystems.

Indigenous to China and other Asian nations around the world, crape myrtles created their way to England and then the U.S. by way of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1786. Considering the fact that then, they have become a staple in the Southern landscape.

Nevertheless, like lots of nonnative species, crape myrtles easily reseed themselves and can be thought of invasive. If still left unchecked, these crops can crowd out native species, reducing the biodiversity and the equilibrium that is so vital to our setting and fragile ecosystems.

Crape myrtles are, botanically speaking, a tall-escalating deciduous shrub that can be educated to appear like a tree with a single or two primary trunks. Trees can attain heights of up to 30 feet, depending on the cultivar.

Crape myrtles prosper in our warmth and humidity, tolerate drought and expand swiftly. For these factors, crape myrtles are ranked as one particular of the South’s most well known ornamental trees.

And they are stunning plants that come in quite a few varieties with a wide range of bloom colors, graceful arching branches and varying levels of peeling bark. They are also among the some of the greatest vegetation for drop foliage color.

Lively leaves of pink and orange coupled with peeling bark that presents way to clean tan and cinnamon-coloured trunk adds winter desire to your garden. The hybrid cultivars are what give us these kinds of excellent color this yr — especially the Lagerstroemia indica x fauriei varieties, this sort of as Acoma, Muskogee and Natchez.