Home & Garden

Your Garden Guy: Crape magnificent or crape murder?

Wow! The crape myrtles looks great all around town. These small to medium size trees are grown to be pruned and sculpted. They look their best during the heat of summer -- full of flowers.

Crape myrtles like to be pruned and maintained at the height that works best for the scale, design and function of the garden. That’s why we plant them, because they are one of the very few trees that are tough, bloom beautifully and like to be pruned to fit a space.

Sorry friends, but I don’t agree with the “crape murder” line of thinking. Crape myrtles are at their very best when their size and shape are curtailed to fit the garden.

Crape myrtles are truly amazing trees because we can decide the appropriate size based on heavy or light pruning. Yes, there are better ways to prune this tree to keep it small, and we can tell you how.

So I ask you, as you go out into your gardens or drive around looking at the beautiful assortment of colors, the graceful shapes and sizes, are you witnessing crape murder or crape magnificent?

Here’s more garden news for you this week:

Butterflies are great in the garden. To attract them, use these plants in your garden: lantana, clethera, zinnia, nicotina, buddleia, purplecone flower, joe-pye weed, abelia, goldenrod, phlox, sunflower and vitex.

Hydrangea “Peegee” is a white, flowering hydrangea. More stiff and upright, this hydrangea adds midsummer blooms. It prefers sun to partial shade. Cut it back after flowering or in the winter months because this shrub blooms on new growth. Try some of the new dwarf varieties.

Now is the time to prune fading flowers from crape myrtles to encourage a second flush of blooms.

To prevent a major disaster, dedicate one pump sprayer for herbicide (weed killer) use only. Use a permanent marker and write it on the sprayer.

Yes, you can plant container grown plants from the nursery during the hot summer months. Just remember to water every day for two weeks, and every other day for two more weeks.

Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design consultations. Contact him at www.fernvalley.com or 478-345-0719.