Grumpy presents the best of the worst of this copycat crime

By Steve Bender

I know the suspense has been driving you crazy. You've had to sit through the nearly the entire NCAA March Madness Basketball Tournament, when only one concern filled your mind. When is Grumpy going to reveal the winners of Crepe Murder 2018? Well, break out the good stuff, because today is the day! Thanks to your fantastic and sneaky entries, we can now marvel at these crimes against nature, pity the poor victims, and hold the perpetrators in righteous loathing. Shall we begin? Okay!

Crepe Murder 2018
Credit: Marilyn Kaple

Our first winner, shown above, comes from Marilyn Kaple, who photographed this masterpiece in front of the local Bi-Lo in Summerville, Georgia. Summerville is widely considered the folk-art capital of western Georgia, as the blue, red, yellow, and aqua Office People vehicle in the background ably demonstrates. Let's all give Summerville a big "V" sign, just as the crepe myrtle does. You guys rock!

Crepe Murder 2018
Credit: Linda Burns

Our next winner, sent in from St. Johns, Florida by Linda Burns, nearly leaves Grumpy speechless. Is this pathetic or what? Then again, it is always my goal to find good in everyone, so I'm going to assume this presumed crime is really a reclamation effort. Yes, previous owners had butchered this tree by reducing it to a pair of stumps. Now, new owners are following my directions on how to restore victims by letting several well-spaced shoots grow from each stump and become new trunks. Why then did they top the new trunks, so the tree now looks like a pair of rakes shoved handle-first into the ground? I haven't a clue. Obviously, they don't either.

Crepe Murder 2018
Credit: Austin Coomer

Winner #3 comes to us from Gulfport, Mississippi courtesy of Austin Coomer. This one is simply painful to look at. I think of "The Old Man and the Tree." This is what happens when you plant a large-growing crepe myrtle like ‘Natchez' too close to the house. There's – what? – maybe 24 inches between the walk and the house. And people planted a tree that grows 30-35 feet tall in there? What could possibly go wrong? I suggest replacing it with something smaller, like a redwood.

Crepe Murder 2018
Credit: Colleen Hart

"Welcome to death row," writes Colleen Hart, describing a neighborhood street in Newnan, Georgia. It's winner #4. Viewed through the windshield of her Gran Torino muscle car, this scene is obviously the work of a very strict HOA. The purpose of HOAs is to set standards and ensure uniformity, so that one misguided soul doesn't ruin things for everyone. Notice how all these crepe myrtles are butchered in identical fashion! Take pride, Newnan!

Crepe Murder 2018
Credit: Bill Holcombe

Winner #5 is a luxury hotel in Oklahoma City sent in by Bill Holcombe. I'd love to tell you which one, but I wouldn't love to be sued. I don't know why they'd sue me, though, because this establishment offers the finest of amenities. Free breakfast, free wi-fi, and complementary loppers.

Well, that's it for this first installment of "Holster Those Pruners." Part Deux will appear in a few days. Try to get some sleep until then. It's hard, I know.

What's the Right Way to Prune?
Lots of people ask me this question after witnessing horrors like those above. For the answer, just Google "Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-By-Step."