Only you can stop area crape murders

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It’s time to stop crape murder. OK, maybe it’s not murder, but they sure are getting mangled.

What in the world am I talking about? It’s the things people do to their crape myrtle trees. You whack, you hack, you chop. In the end, we are left to look at your tree trunk and stubs. Why do you do it? Probably because you thought that it was the right thing to do. Well, stop.

Crape myrtles are a stately and beautiful plant in Natchez. There is even a crape myrtle variety that is named Natchez. Many are several hundred years old. Keeping them healthy is really not all that difficult and proper pruning is essential. I could explain it all to you here, but there is nothing like hands-on training. Let us show you.

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The Adams County Master Gardeners are preparing for the annual pruning at the Natchez City Cemetery. To be sure, the best time to prune crape myrtles is while it is cold. We are inviting you to join us for a fun-filled, hard-working, time of education and service.

Each Thursday in January we will meet at 8 a.m. — before the trees wake up — at the cemetery office. Every time we will have an instruction time and then divide into groups, each with a master gardener. After some practice, you can stay and help, or go home and get busy with your own crape myrtles. If you have pruners, please bring them, if not, we will show you what you need. Reminders of classes will be in Tracings in The Democrat.

I also want to invite anyone with an interest in gardening to sign up for the Master Gardener training beginning Feb. 26. In exchange for the 40 hours of excellent instruction each intern is expected to complete 40 hours of service — that’s less than 3. 5 hours a month — in one year. Beginners and experienced gardeners are welcome. Please contact County Extension Director David Carter at 601-445-8201 for details. The deadline is Jan. 31.

Help beautify Natchez. Stop crape murder. And have some fun. See you there.

Susan McKinley was president of the Master Gardeners last year.