Don’t Take Crapes for Granted!

Unfortunately, many people do take crapemyrtles for taken for granted in our area. Personally, I love crapemyrtles because they are always at their peak just in time for my birthday on July 18. But for some people, we see them so often that they almost blend into the background. Some people say they are over-used. If so, it’s for good reason. They are spectacular!

It’s always refreshing to me when I meet someone visiting Williamsburg in the summer for the first time. They stare, eyes popping, and waste an entire roll of film shooting pictures trying to capture their amazing flowers. Take a look at the slideshow above to see our attempts.

Here are some of the reasons I like them so much:

  • Spring – Crapemyrtles are one of the last trees in our area to leaf out in the spring. When everything around them is in leaf, the crape’s bare branches add an interesting final echo of winter. When they do leaf out, the foliage is a nice light green.
  •  Summer – Summer in Virginia would not be the same without this remarkable tree. “100 days of bloom” is their claim to fame, and the bloom is certainly what catches one’s attention. But there are other reasons why this plant is great in summer: it is incredibly drought tolerant, so much so that it is often used as a parking lot tree, and there are very few disease and pest problems to deal with.
  •  Fall – Crapes have an incredible display of fall color. They turn from yellow to orange to red.
  • Winter – The “bones” of this tree is one of its greatest features. As a garden designer, I look for plants that have interesting architecture (the underlying form of their trunk and branches). Here again, crapes do not disappoint. Their trunks and main branches ripple like lean muscle. And they have a wonderful variety of bark colors ranging from blonde to rust red, forming an attractive silhouette against the winter sky. Some even have peeling bark for extra textural interest.

Crape Murder

However, any discussion of crapemyrtles would not be complete without mentioning the unfortunate practice of topping crapes in late winter, often called “Crape Murder.” This is when crape limbs are cut back to short ugly stumps on the main trunk, without regard for the tree’s natural shape. Many people perform this ritual  every year believing it is the proper way to get the trees to bloom. While this may have been necessary many, many years ago, today’s hybridized crapemyrtles no longer need it. They’ll bloom profusely all on their own. And while it doesn’t hurt the plant, it sure does ruin their fabulous branching pattern.

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Brian came out last week to try to assess a problem we are having in our yard.  He arrived on time, was extremely courteous and took a considerable amount of time analyzing our situation.  While he was unable to reach a solution, he did take the time to research and recommend another business that might be able to help us.  That kind of customer service will make us more likely to call on Hertzler & George if other issues arise.  Thanks, Brian!


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We hired H&G to help us re-do our landscaping after a different local landscaping company did a sub par job with plant selections and installations. That company also was very hard to deal with. H&G stepped right up with Jennifer creating a new planting scheme comprising of native plants with some we had never seen before and which we love! She is extremely knowledgeable and pleasant to work with – a true landscaping charm! Jon did the installations and also did a fantastic job. He was very meticulous on planting and finishing the job neatly with mulch. Unlike that other company’s installer, Jon left us extremely happy with the job done. Customer service on the phone – pleasant, patient and helpful. The only, and ever so minor aspect of their work, is they don’t offer a guarantee on the plants or install. I suppose that’s becoming industry standard. However, now looking over all the plantings with a bit of time passing, I am confident that there won’t need to be any replacements. Watering is of course the key element. Thank you H&G, the country cottage landscaping we’ve wanted is now ours – FIVE STARS!

Chris Dombrowski
Ford's Colony | Homeowner

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Had these guys build a surface-grade patio in May 2023. They looked at the project, sent me a proposed scope of work and contract via email, took a deposit of 1/2 the total via bank transfer. They set a date weeks later to start the job. They showed up on time, worked professionally and cleaned up at the end of the day. Whole job took 3 days, and they even replaced all the patio furniture on the last day. The final product was precisely what I asked for, done in a high-quality, workmanlike way.

H&G are not the cheapest guys out there, but for the extra money you get a professional product, professionally executed, on time, on budget. Honestly: I don’t think it gets any better than that.


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We had an ugly uneven weedy patio and a driveway that needed reshaping and gravel. The transformation is stunning. Your representative Brian was patient and helpful in designing repairs to our satisfaction and your work crew was exceptional. Edwardo the work site foreman was extremely knowledgeable and professional and created a beautiful patio. His crew was superior.

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Hertzler and George were contracted to perform some landscaping for a seller of mine to get the home ready to show. They had just finished an extensive re-landscaping of the next door neighbors entire yard. I was very impressed by their attention to detail and their desire to satisfy their client. Joe Hertzler goes the extra mile to achieve complete client satisfaction. They provide a complete mix of landscaping design services and maintenance of existing landscaping

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Liz Moore Real Estate