When we moved into this house a bit over 2 years ago, we noticed that a number of the foundation plants were sited too close to walls and steps.
Some of those (the Nellie Stevens hollies) we removed.
Some of them (the camellias flanking the front steps, another camellia planted alongside the front wall) have stayed. I can't bear to part with them and I'm concerned any attempt to moved them by 1-2 feet would be detrimental to their health.
But there's one plant that's planted WAY too close for comfort to a side wall - the lavender crape myrtle pictured in the photo above.
I can't be sure (since there are so many crape myrtle cultivars), but I think this could be Muskogee, one of the superior USDA introductions that is resistant to powdery mildew.
Personally, I've decided that I like the white-flowered crape myrtles (such as Natchez) best. Most of the others seem a bit too garish for my tastes. Plus the white-flowered ones seem to attract the most bees! But I do think that the light-lavender flowers of Muskogee (if that's what it is) are probably my favorite among the colored varieties.
So it's painful to think of getting rid of the tree, but we're talking about a plant that will wants to grow 25-feet tall and 20-feet wide being planted 3-inches from the wall!!
|Really? Who thought it was OK to plant a full-size crape myrtle this close to a house??|
(What on Earth were the builders thinking when they plopped the plant alongside the foundation originally? Did they get it mixed up with a dwarf crape -- although even that should have been planted at least a couple of feet from the wall. Or were they just being cruel and sadistic?)
This is a beautiful plant, but it's just in the wrong place. Even if it were a couple-feet away from the wall, that still wouldn't make any sense with this type of crape myrtle.
|The lavender crape myrtle (Muskogee?) blooms are really beautiful. It's just a shame that the tree was planted so close to the house...|
So unfortunately I think I have to commit real crape murder (not the crape murder that involves drastic annual pruning techniques).
My plan is to cut the plant down to the ground using loppers and a chainsaw.
From what I understand, crape myrtles don't die easy. Most likely, the plant will send up a thicket of suckers in an effort to survive.
Now many websites suggest drilling a hole into the trunk and pouring in concentrated herbicide, but I am reluctant to use such chemicals.
I thought I could try to dig out as many of the roots as possible and then regularly cut off any suckers that sprout. I imagine it might take a few years, but that the tree would eventually weaken and die.
What do you think? Is this a foolhardy idea? Should I bite the bullet and ask a trained landscaper to come over and remove the tree and/or inject poison into the stump?
Also...Should I be worried about a large Natchez crape (15-20 feet tall already) that is planted perhaps 4-feet away from another wall of the house -- again, that seems way too close to me.
Thoughts and advice are welcome!!
PS - I probably will also be removing 2 of the 3 crape myrtles that I planted just last year. One of those, Petite Snow, has not put on any new growth at all, nor has it bloomed this year. And the leaves do not even resemble the Petite Snow photos I've seen online, which makes me think that it might have been mislabeled.
The other crape that I'll be removing is called Geronino, from Flowerwood Nursery. There are two things that really tick me off about this plant:
|New Geronimo crape myrtle leaves afflicted by powdery mildew are twisted and disfigured. Not what you want to see at the front foundation of your home .|
|Geronimo crape myrtle flower buds afflicted with powdery mildew. Based on my experience with mildew on a different crape, these buds will not open.|
The thing that bugs me is that Flowerwood chose a Native American-sounding name for this crape myrtle. And it just so happens that many of the highest-rated mildew-resistant crape myrtle cultivars from the US National Arboretum (USNA) are known for having Native American names.
Texas A&M even says: "As a general rule, cultivars with name of a Native American tribe will be resistant to powdery mildew." Guess they'll have to revise that general rule now thanks to Geronimo. Caveat emptor!