Requiem for Cherished Crape Myrtles

Say “G’bye” to one of the South’s most cherished landscape trees.

Crape Myrtle
Crape Myrtle flowers

In spite of their maybe being a tad overplanted, I love crape myrtles – the lilac of the South. I even made the trek to South Carolina to hug the oldest crape myrtle in North America, planted in 1786 by André Michaux at Middleton Place near Charleston. I don’t even have a problem with their being pollarded (what some folks call “crape murder”), especially when gardeners like me weave the trimmings into wattle fences. For more insight on this check this blog post out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Architectural crape myrtle trunks with beautifully mottled bark

But just like whether to spell it “crape” or “crepe” it’s a moot point now, water under the bridge, as our beloved crape myrtles are being pushed out of the garden entirely by a new pest that is for all practical purposes uncontrollable. Get used to it. Continue reading “Requiem for Cherished Crape Myrtles”

Trees Eating Stuff

Porch Eating Tree (1)
Tree Eating a Porch

Like a lava flow from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island slowly enveloping houses and cars in its path, this crape myrtle is inexorably encasing the metal porch rails and panels of a business in Jackson, Mississippi.

It’s what happens when food being made in a tree’s leaves gets interrupted as it translocates (moves) downward towards roots. Happens to stones and even tombstones in old cemeteries, too.

Porch Eating Tree (2)
Bark Growing Around Porch Rail

If it runs into a part of itself or a similar species, it can actually graft and form a strong bond. Otherwise it simply swells and envelopes.

Rude Tree
Move, Get Out of the Way, or…