Photo by Steve Bender.

Sometimes when I condemn crepe murder, people only think about the grisly carnage left immediately after the crime is committed. They forget about the disaster that's looming when the tree starts growing back and gets ready to bloom. Here's a photo I took this week in my neighborhood of exactly the horror each murderer can expect. People with sensitive stomachs should look away.

This poor tree once stood about 12 feet tall with trunks about 4-inches thick. Then last winter, in a fit of pique over not being able to find two socks that matched, its owner grabbed a chainsaw and decapitated it at about five feet high. This is why guys with chainsaw and crepe myrtles should never buy anything other than black socks.

Look at the poor tree now. As Grumpy has warned you time and time again, pruning a crepe myrtle this way results in a spring flush of dozens of long, spindly shoots from the end of each stump. Too weak to hold themselves up, they now weep to the ground. Now imagine how they'll look when heavy clusters of blooms pull them down even more.