" Crape Murder "-should I do it ?

Discussion in 'Turf Renovation' started by Eakern & Dog, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I have an entrance to a subdivision where the previous LCO (s) pruned the crape myrtles like the attached illustration.They are wanting this done again this year. Should I continue with this ill practice or try to selective prune various limbs in hopes of allowing the plant to regain it's natural growth habit.
    I know cutting them down to the ground and starting over is recommended but it is not option with this account.I'm wonderiing if anyone has tried the selective prune method on crapes that have been previously "murdered".

  2. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    When pruning Crape Myrtles after they have been "murdered" I try to let them grow out a year or so and then try to take off half of the new growth when pruning each year. This allows them to start to take natural shape again
  3. PTP

    PTP LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 1,398

    Talk to the HOA and tell them why you think that this is a bad practice and what your ideas are. If they see your point of view, then congratulate yourself on educating another customer. If they don't see your point, then do what they want and smile as you deposit thier check.
  4. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    Why do you think that is an "ill" practice? Crape Myrtles flower on the new growth of the plant. That picture is the common way to trim them. I have already trimmed about 30 just like that. Some people will cut all the branches off them at the trunk and some think that you shouldn't cut anything that is larger than you finger. You can cut them all the way to the ground and they will come back as a bush. It depends on what look you want. I've done all the above.
  5. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    crepes will put out all the new growth they need on thier own. When you cut off all the leading tips you drastically change the growth hormones the plant produces.

    read any pruning book on pruning crepes and it will go into great depth on why you should NOT do this.
  6. TurfdudeNCSU

    TurfdudeNCSU LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    I've attached a publication regarding crape myrtle pruning for everyones use..

    View attachment Crape Myrtle Pruning.pdf

    Last year I was in the same situation, I had a condo assoication and they wanted theirs pruned. They even canceled my contract because I didn't prune them, so I went to the meeting that Saturday and took pictures to show them my reasons and got the contract back and up sold them $2,000 to move the ones along the building that were getting to big for the space. Try showing them this attachment and explain why pruning them is bad for them. Why do something that is going to harm the plants and that you know isn't right....that just makes you look bad for not educating the customer.
  7. Eakern & Dog

    Eakern & Dog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 431

    I know......that's the pickle that I'm in. After reviewing the Clemson illustrations and noting the natural growth habit and what the crapes look like at my account........I know for certain that the only way to get these back to original form is to cut down to the ground and prune correctly thereafter over the next several years. I'm thinking they will not go for it but I will give them information to make an informed decision since I'm certain the previous LCOs made that decision for them.
    If they do go for it, what should be my expectations on growth rate after a "recovery cut" is made ? I have never done a "recovery cut" and I'm concerned that they will not come back in a timely fashion or come back at all for that matter. I'm getting cold feet on this and now questioning whether it's worth the effort as a few retired residents fancy themselves as "knowledgeable "and will most likely be upset if they don't see the lush blooms this coming summer. At any rate,I will give them the facts and the expectations.

    Thanks to all for the info !
  8. TurfdudeNCSU

    TurfdudeNCSU LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    Low and be hold I opened this months Southern Living magazine tonight and there is article "Stop! Don't Chop!" I think that EVERYONE should pick a copy of the article and read it throughly!! They had an attachment which I have included created by a group here in SC that is pretty good also. It is included here for your information as well:

    Attached Files:


    FIRESCOOBY LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Can anyone post a picture of some crepe myrtles that have been appropriately pruned? I do better with pictures...LOL.

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