Before you run outside, tools in hand, to trim your beautiful Crepe Myrtle tree, please read this article as it will save you time, embarrassment, and a pathetic looking tree.
First, you must understand that just because you can buy tree trimming tools at Home Depot or ACE Hardware doesn’t mean you are qualified in trimming crepe myrtle trees – or any tree for that matter. I suspect that over the years, way too many beautiful trees have been deformed and destroyed by home-owning hacks brandishing a limb saw, electric chain saw, and pruner.
Crepe Murder – Don’t Be That Neighbor
Coined by Steve Bender, editor of Southern Living, “crepe murder” is a fitting term. Just take a look at this once-beautiful Crepe Myrtle tree that resides in the yard directly across the street from my home. She’s been reduced to a laughing stock of the neighborhood. It’s a sad case of Crepe Murder. Her new owners – they’ve lived there less than a year – decided their assorted trees needed trimming. Not wanting to do the job themselves, or perhaps too lazy to do the job on their own, or worse yet, too cheap to hire professionals, they allowed a relative to show up with an assortment of tree trimming “weapons” at his disposal.
Of course, this misguided individual with his assortment of cheap tools figured he could trim this poor tree. BIG MISTAKE.
This tree mutilator obviously isn’t familiar with one of the most famous lines ever uttered in a Dirty Harry movie. At one point in the movie, Dirty Harry is staring at a moron pointing a gun at him. Harry calming reminds the guy, “A man’s gotta know his limitations.”
Personally, I believe strongly that this Dirty Harry line is one of the most insightful, and most often ignored, piece of advice available today. Ignore it at your own peril.
My new neighbors should be totally ashamed of themselves for allowing this once-beautiful tree to be mutilated by some family member or friend pretending to know anything about tree trimming. Not only is the tree humiliated, this tree ruins the look of the front yard, makes the home owners look like selfish morons, and the entire block suffers as a result.
Let A Tree Trimming Expert Set A Good Example
If you insist on trimming Crepe Myrtle trees, HIRE AN EXPERT!
If you are too tight to hire an expert, at least go online and find a website with detailed instructions on the best way to trim your Crepe Myrtle tree. By the way, the best time to do so would be in the fall. An excellent set of instructions, complete with photographs, is available here.
Imagine, for a moment, how a nearby park or forest would look to you if morons were allowed to arrive and trim the trees using their own tools purchased at Home Depot, ACE Hardware, or some garage or yard sale. You’d be outraged to the point that you’d probably call the police and want the perpetrators arrested and put in jail.
Well now, the same outrage applies to your neighbors when you mutilate your own trees in your front and back yards.
If you don’t have the money to hire a professional arborist for trimming crepe myrtle trees, you have only two options:
One, don’t trim them at all. Let them grow on their own.
Two, get off your butt, go online and do a Google search using the keywords “Crepe Myrtle trimming.” And even then, don’t attempt to trim your tree unless you have the proper equipment, including a safe ladder, and feel comfortable that you understand the directions provided on the website.
You should NEVER be responsible for harming an innocent tree like the poor Crepe Myrtle shown here.
Just because you own the tree doesn’t give you the right to massacre it.
Trimming Crepe Myrtle Trees On Your Own
If you have little to none experience in trimming trees, read up on our general Tree Trimming Tips article. Have some respect for the trees growing in your yard. Most of them were there before you moved in and will be there long after you move out or move on. They are the permanent residents – not you.
If you absolutely insist on trimming crepe myrtle trees, you’re going to want to trim the tree in late Winter. The Crepe Myrtle won’t have any leaves and you can easily see the branches. By pruning during the late Winter, you will also increase the chances of the tree blooming more.
Begin by removing all of the sucker branches coming up from the base of the trunk. Move on to the side branches growing from the main trunks up to about 4 feet. Trim any higher branches growing inwards towards the center of the tree. Go ahead and get rid of any branches that are crossing or rubbing with one another. Cut as far back to a large branch as possible without leaving any stubs. If you have branches growing over your roof or gutters, you may want to consider evenly trimming these. Tread carefully, though, or you risk butchering the tree to a mishappen shape.