Crape Murder and Other Crimes

Here is something that will hopefully provide you with a little comic relief…and perhaps bring a little contempt as well. Recently, I was talking with a woman from Texas, and she informed me of an appalling ritual referred to, by those opposed to it, as “Crape Murder.” It’s being carried out on an ornamental tree that was brought over to the United States from Asia. The tree is commonly known as crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia spp.). It is very popular throughout the southern United States and has a reputation of being one of the most beautiful additions to a landscape due to its appealing natural shape, its propensity to flower all summer long, and its attractive bark. The “murder” aspect comes in when folks who, ignorant of proper horticulture techniques (and with a poor opinion on what might be considered “aesthetically appealing”) hack the branches of crape myrtles back at the end of the season so that all that is left of the poor things are nubby trunks. Apparently they think they are doing the tree and themselves a service, but the results of this action aren’t serving anyone – especially the trees. There are a number of passionate arguments against this heinous act found on the internet. Here is a link to one. There is also a facebook page devoted to bringing an end to Crape Murder.

This discussion reminded me of a post that I read on Garden Rant a little while back. The author was ranting against what he calls “plant janitors,” pointing out the atrocities that are carried out by these nefarious creatures on a daily basis. It turns out that the author of this rant also has a facebook page devoted to “crimes against horticulture.”

All of this is quite comforting to me, because it has helped me to realize that I am not the only one who gets squeamish when I see the hideous things that people decide to do to their plants and to their landscapes. Now that I am aware that there are plenty of other places on the internet to let off steam and rant about these issues, I can assure you that I will refrain from doing such things here. For the most part anyway…

crape murder


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