crape murder?

Hi,
I have a crape myrtle in the front yard, probably about 30 years old, about 25 ft high, blooms huge. I had some brush removed on a slope and the guys said they would prune the myrtle also, since it was getting near some power lines. When I checked it out they cut it to about 6 ft high and the branches are 1-2" or so thick. Of course I could choke those guys it looks horrible. Will this thing recover? Should I just remove it and plant a quick growing nellie holly?
itchy
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On 4/12/10 9:00 AM, internaughtfull wrote:

My experience with crape myrtle is that it will indeed survive heavy pruning. But it might take 2-3 years until it looks good again. I don't like crape myrtle because it suckers badly from the base, creating a thicket.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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David E. Ross wrote:

Yes indeed. The local council uses them as street trees hereabouts and they get murdered by 'experts' frequently and come back. They seem almost indestructible.
David
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I took out a small crape myrtle about 5 years ago and it still sends up shoots from tiny root fragments. However, it's really a shame that your tree was butchered.
Albert
: Hi,
: I have a crape myrtle in the front yard, probably about 30 years old, : about : 25 ft high, blooms huge. I had some brush removed on a slope and the : guys : said they would prune the myrtle also, since it was getting near some : power lines. : When I checked it out they cut it to about 6 ft high and the branches : are 1-2" or : so thick. Of course I could choke those guys it looks horrible. Will : this thing : recover? Should I just remove it and plant a quick growing nellie : holly?
: itchy
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wrote:

It will certainly grow back! In a few weeks you'll be able to see tiny little buds randomly over the tree. These will grow into limbs with flowers. Don't worry!
This is probably the best way to prune such an old tree. For a few years it won't look like it used to, but you can shape it as it grows back. Each year take away the suckers near the base, and remove branches that cross or grow into the middle. As to the height, you'll see several new limbs growing vertically out of the cut-offs. This year, let all these grow up and blossom, what a delight :) Next year (or the next after that) prune these about 1 foot above the cut so there are only 2 or 3 growing in the direction that you want the shape of the tree. In this way, you'll keep getting new growth and new blooms from them. After a few more years, the first growth from the cut-off will be getting thicker, and it won't be as easy to see where they were murdered.
Enjoy,
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>

I was wondering if it would help to water and fertilize it to help it recover. Like standard miracle grow solution? If not I'm not going to bother with it. Any particular type of nutrient that would help?
thx,
itchy
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This tree stood absolutely bare for weeks, so I put one gallon regular strength 'general use' miracle grow on it, watered it for a few days, and it sprouted many buds. Possibly I just timed it right though. Put rusty colored mulch around it and its looking much better.
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[...]
That's called "topping". A lot of yard care businesses do it; it is so common that I think many clients actually expect them to do it like that. I always make a point of asking the neighbors who cut their tree, without a whiff of disapproval. That's how I found a business that does not do topping. They do really good work.
Crape myrtle survives severe cutting far better than many other trees. It should come back. You may want to cut it some more, in a year or two, to speed its recovery from the topping.
    Una
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On Mon, 12 Apr 2010 09:00:14 -0700 (PDT), internaughtfull

It will come back just fine. Next time, don't wait so long to trim your myrtle.
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That is exactly the way the Brooklyn Botanical Garden prunes theirs. Though for some reason this year they only pruned the ones on the West side of the path up from the rose garden like that and left the other side tall. I know who pruned them and I could ask.
Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
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This seems to be the new way to prune crape myrtles. I don't have a suckering problem here in West Tennessee. Having said that, I agree with everyone that it will come back quite well. Think of when you prune a woody shrub, for every cut across, the tree or shrub puts out two or more branches. It may even surprise you and bloom! My neighbor in Greeneville had a man who came round and completely whacked her purple crape myrtle to the ground in the late winter, and lo and behold, it not only returned, but grew to close to the same height the older branches were originally (five to six foot) and was COVERED in purple blossoms! I was blown away. Here though where I live, they "knuckle" ALL the crape myrtles. Mine will only get crossing branches removed. I like the natural shape and only tip the spent bloom ends which encourages the twig ends to double up. And unfortunately mine is the old fashioned watermelon pink one. I more like the red ones and there is a really strong white that I used to have that I left behind at olde faerie holler. It was 22 foot tall and too happy where it was planted, and the pink one I had tucked next to it had just gotten it's wind and was blooming with the white so that it seemed to be of two colors. Keep us posted on how it returns and does for you. I'm interested and look forward to seeing how it does.
madgardener, gardening in the lowlands of her new west Faerie Holler somewhere in West Tennessee, zone 7b Sunset zone 33
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On 4/15/10 11:33 AM, madgardener wrote [in part]:

This is true for crape myrtle but not for all woody shrubs. For the salvia family -- rosemary, sage, lavender -- and for many conifers, a cut below the lowest green foliage will result in the entire branch dying back to its base.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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