'Tis the season. 
Crepe Myrtle Tree Pruned
The horror has already begun!
| Credit: Steve Bender

It's that most wonderful time of the year! The time when eagle-eyed, compassionate, and knowledgeable readers like you record senseless pruning of innocent crepe myrtles and send the evidence to Grumpy, so that the ignorant perpetrators may be shamed before the entire world! With the Super Bowl over and millions of manly men furious at the outcome rigged by Vlad Putin, they will quickly transfer their anger to beautiful crepe myrtles on every street—UNLESS YOU AND I STOP THEM.

For the few humans in America unfamiliar with the term "crepe murder," it refers to the senseless, extreme pruning many crepe myrtles endure in late winter and early spring. These most popular of all ornamental trees in the South are chopped and chainsawed down into thick, ugly stumps. This ruins their form, prevents the formation of pretty, flaking bark, and results in weak-stemmed flowers that hang to the ground.

Some defend crepe murder as a form of "pollarding," a pruning practice commonly seen in Europe in which branches of trees are cut back to the same point every year, forming gnarly knobs. Hey, I don't care if they do it in Amsterdam, Paris, and Copenhagen! It's ugly there and it's ugly here too.

If you believe as I (and I know you do), here is what you need to do right now. Wherever you see crepe murder occurring or its hideous aftermath, sneak up when no one's looking and take a photo with your smart phone. Then email the evidence to me at grumpygardensl@gmail.com with "Crepe Murder" in the subject line. Please include your name and the town and state where the crime occurred. OR post the photo with the same info on my Grumpy Facebook page – facebook.com/SLGrumpyGardener.

The contest begins now. Entries will be accepted through March 5, 2017. Ten winners will receive fabulous prizes, but I can't say what they are yet. Extra points will be given for photo quality and photos that blend humor, irony, and tragedy.

So get looking! Let's make Crepe Myrtle 2017 the best contest ever!