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Monday, July 30, 2018

Well-Managed Crepe Myrtle

I usually like to parse out and time the articles I post, but we will be working on the little blue-gray house property this week, whereafter, each day, I will be lucky to take a shower, grab dinner, a few beers and head to bed. Of course, somehow, I'll find the time to mingle with some friends and share a few dances at Tombo.

I want to get this article out a.s.a.p. because the timing is right.

I don't know if this gorgeous girl was planted by the developer, the previous owner or Mother Nature, but I would have never planted her this close to a home.

Yet, with a little good fortune and some managed pruning, it all works (no home foundation/root issues), wonderfully. Someone, prior to me, decided to pollard this Crepe Myrtle, just about or just above the roof line.

I would call this habit of cutting, Crepe Murder, but this was not quite the same. Some of the results are similar, yet not so pronounced as this tree was allowed to be a tree.

She was allowed to be a tree with a spread of roughly 30 feet and a nearly matching height, providing a wonderful amount of shade for the back yard. I wish almost every property owner had at least one of these trees somewhere on their property. Just one as a specimen plant, not three or four hacked-back trees (shrub-like) along a foundation or roadside.

She's been under my care for about five years and I'll probably make some relieving cuts on her soon to prevent me or anyone else from heading into some low hanging fruit or branches.

In the fall, hopefully before any major foliage drops, I'll get to her and make some thinning cuts on some of the whips and smaller branches which are drooping. I love pruning in winter, but I get a better feel for the plant when the feel, look and weight of the foliage is more apparent.

There are also some junior leader stems which need to be removed to keep her off the roof - a yearly endeavor, but well worth it.

This photo, upward, under the canopy and through the crown, is gorgeous, but not what it could be if she had been left alone. We end up with smaller and less substantial branches, prone to drooping, but this is what I address in what I do and the results can be as magnificent as if the tree was in a meadow of grass, unhindered by man and our structures. This takes time.

Below are her two sisters, but not as substantial. They are too close together, shading one another during different times of the day and competing for resources from the soil they both share.

They are easier to manage for such reason and their slower growth rate, but in their own way, as gorgeous as the other, particularly at night with the street light when in full-bloom or when completely foliated.

Imagine if we had none of these wondrous and wooden friends among us.

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