So many years I have heard the over used term Crepe Murder… It’s old and stale, just like the radio show in Houston where I first heard that term. When you prune a CM back hard, (it’s called Pollarding) it’s OK. Really it is… you’re still a good person. You were just trying to do what’s right. Unfortunately we all give authoritative status to too many people that don’t deserve it. It’s human. So let’s ask a few good questions…

Why do we plant Crepe Myrtles?  For a privacy hedge? To add variety? Shade? Nope, not me. We plant them for color. Flowers. The more the better. So when we prune the CM, we should prune it to produce more flowers. Not cut it in half (like most of the extreme pictures show) but a good 30-40% of the tree removed. It stresses the tree. When a tree is stressed, it goes into reproduction mode and the first part of reproducing is flowers. So pruning hard = more flowers. Does the tree not like it? Does it not want to be in Repro-mode? Does it even matter?

Why do we plant Apples? Because we like Apples. How do we prune the Apple? Hard! We overprune it according to the CM arguement, but we get more apples that way. That’s good, because that’s exactly what the Apple tree is for. 

The Peach? The Pear? See a pattern?

“Gardeners” act like there’s some kind of crime happening here, with the guilt trip they lay on us every year. Does it hurt the tree? Does the Tree hate being in Repro-mode? Who hates that? So why do they make the argument? Self importance? Lazy? No imagination? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I don’t know. They want to write an article, and they want to sound authoritative. That’s fine, that’s why we have therapists, but the shaming needs to stop.

Let ME speak with authority now… As an Arborist who has been in the PHC industry for 35 years. I have always seen pollarding as a good practice (when done right) that makes the property more colorful, and that’s a good thing. So I ask, no… I tell… all those experts with less than an hour a day in the field, to be more respectful of their fellow man, than they are to the tree. If it’s your tree and you don’t like it, don’t do it. Just please stop telling others it’s the wrong way. The only wrong thing about this whole discussion is the fact that we have to have to have this whole discussion.  If it’s not your tree, it’s not your call.  Make yourself an authority the old fashion way… do something outside! Just leave the opinions about trees to the individuals that own those trees.

John Walters – The OnlineArborist(TM)