Friday, March 23, 2012

Crape Myrtle pruning

We have finally done it and pruned back our crape myrtles to about the size they were when we moved into our house. They may be twelve inches or so taller than they were at first. We still like them and think they are a valuable asset to our landscape, but I have finally stopped listening to the experts who say I am "murdering" my trees by cutting them back so much. Am I committing a pruning "sin?" Maybe, but I am doing what is best for the health of my sod and my hefty investment in my lawn.

These crape myrtles (there are three) are part of my small mailbox garden. They originally were surrounded by some low-growing cedars. Last year we had to take action because the crape myrtles and the cedars, combined with some other towering trees had ruined our small lawn. There was just too much shade and all those roots that had become invasive. Our re-sodded lawn is now looking good and beginning to green up, but we don't want to make the same mistake and create too much shade for our lawn

We also had to cut down some large trees shading our lawn but decided to leave the crape myrtles, realizing that we were going to have to prune them harshly from now on. I think at first I felt a bit guilty but now that I see my grass doing so well, I feel much better about my "crape murder." Since these trees have been here for more than 20 years and are still thriving, I think they will be fine if we prune them back. If I had it to do over again I would never have planted the crape myrtles in this spot but I now have to deal the best I can with what I have.

I am looking for some perennial shrubs or plants to plant around them but I don't want to plant something that will get out of hand so I am taking it slow and I want to invest in something that is native and noninvasive to my sod. Any suggestions?

Posted by Deberah Williams

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