Monday, July 28, 2014

Landscaping made easy, Part 13: Crape and wax myrtles revisited

This scene from Landscaping made easy, Part 5:  Crape myrtle (unmurdered) has probably been Pinterested and shared more than any other pic I've ever published.  And I don't even really like it, but apparently a lot of other folks do.
Our rear fenceline a few years ago:  That's a crape myrtle in the middle flanked by wax myrtles on either side, with a small sage and two loropetalums in the foreground.

See this 2011 post for information on fence staining.  
In that "unmurdered" post, I encouraged folks not to "knuckle" (over-prune) their crape myrtles.  Houston landscape specialist Randy Lemmon's "Annual Crape Myrtle Massacre" speech remains the gold standard where that kind of advice is concerned.

Fast forward two years and my evidence for the non-murdering approach becomes even more compelling (I think):
Notice the shape contrast between my white crape myrtle in the foreground and common-area purple and pink crapes in the background, beyond my fence.  Mine has an over-spilling, softly cascading type of shape whereas those in the background show the "feather duster" habit in which the flowering branches stick straight up and out, the form which is so characteristic of over-pruning.  
If all of these crapes in this extended view had been similarly knuckled, the entire assemblage of new leafy growth would stick straight up.  There would be no softening element - it would look too harsh.  My crape myrtle is in harmony with the others in simply being a crape myrtle.  But it's free-form, over-spilling structure lends a more flowing energy that otherwise wouldn't be here.

You'll notice another change relative to my 2012 pictures.
I dropped the height of our wax myrtles by a good three feet because I no longer need them to provide visual privacy.  Time marches on and our subdivision is growing up - literally.  The trees and shrubs in the green space behind our property have now increased in size to the point where I can maintain our wax myrtles as a more conventional hedge rather than as a collection of towering bushes.  That was my original plan several years ago when we first installed them - they were specifically intended to remain responsive to the changing conditions that we anticipated were going to occur beyond our own fenceline.  As I said in Landscaping made easy:  Part 1, that's the beauty of wax myrtles - you can do whatever you want with them at whatever time.  They can be pruned any which way and they will usually thrive, because they are especially versatile that way.

1 comment:

  1. Helpful post! We have 3 problems in our backyard; high winds, need some strategic privacy, and need sound barrier. We have a huge backyard with only grass at this point. Wax mrytle sounds like a good option. If you have other ideas please share! Thanks!


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