Misery Row. Photo: Steve Bender

Southerners are fixated on crepe myrtles -- mainly because they butchered so many this winter and now want them fixed. Following Crepe Murder 2015, scores of pitiful emails from crepe criminals needing their consciences scrubbed flooded Grumpy's email box. "Have I killed my crepe myrtle?" they ask. "Is there any way to fix what I did?"

No, you probably haven't killed it. And yes, you can fix it -- but you must follow Grumpy's infallible instructions to the letter.

The first thing to do is to punish yourself appropriately. If you're a man, you must watch a "Say Yes to the Dress" marathon. If you're a woman, you must listen intently to the lyrics of a Kanye West song.

Now that you have paid your debt to society in the most horrible possible ways, Grumpy presents a step-by-step recovery plan for the victim of your woeful boobery.

1. Examine the tops of the stumps you left. Are they cut clean like those above? Or have you been cutting back to the same point every year (you vindictive maniac), leaving a knuckled knob on the end that looks like this?

emJust so wrong. Photo: Steve Bender/em

2. If there are knobs, cut them off now. Then proceed along with everybody else to step 3.

3. Bunches of thin shoots will now grow from the cut end of each stump. Select one or two of them that are growing up and out and let them be. Prune off all of the others.

4. Keep doing this every spring for the next three years. Don't let any new shoots grow from the ends of the stumps next to the ones you saved.

5. Train the saved shoots to grow up and out. Remove any side branches that grow from them towards the center of the tree. The saved shoots will become the new main trunks.

6. Rejoice! Eventually, your crepe myrtle will look beautiful again. Go and sin no more.