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Saturday, January 14, 2012

There's not a single good reason for butchering Crape Myrtles

Crape Myrtles butchered into poor health

About this time of year, Crape Myrtles throughout north Texas are butchered mercilessly. Thick, healthy branches are cut off for no good reason at all. Many survive but some don't.

The typical "reason" given is that butchering promotes blooming.  This is absolutely, 100% not true, and there is not a shred of scientific evidence that it's in any way good for the Crape Myrtle. In fact, the only benefit derived is to the "landscape crew", who can  charge the owner for totally unnecessary and possibly harmful work.

Butchering trees is somewhat like the myth that frogs cause warts - it's an old way of thinking that needs to disappear. The most I'd recommend is to prune off last season's old seed heads - a purely cosmetic act.  I'd certainly never recommend cutting anything thicker around than a pencil. There's just no honest reason!

-G. Owen Yost, Landscape Architect emeritus

Keep your birdbaths full and clean! Birds need to bathe frequently in the winter to maintain insulation from the cold. Many of the birds at birdbaths are species that won't come to your feeders because they don't eat seed. Recently I've seen Cardinals, Goldfinches, Chickadees, Blue Jays, Thrushes, Brown Thrashers and several Robins in our birdbaths (we have three).

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