Tops of Main Street Crepe Myrtles Cut Off

Three of the nine crepe myrtles that line the fronts of businesses on Main Street in downtown Duluth topped to chest height.

Oops! Tops of three of the nine crepe myrtle trees that line the fronts of businesses on Main Street in downtown Duluth have been cut off to chest height apparently by mistake.

The trunks of the trees are lit with white lights and are a distinctive feature downtown. The lights were kept on the cut-off trees.

After downtown property owner Shelly Howard asked what happened to the trees at Monday (Aug. 6) night’s Duluth City Council work session, City Manager Tim Shearer admitted he had asked the city’s Public Works Department to trim the trees, but “I didn’t effectively communicate the proper way to trim.”

He meant for some of the limbs to be trimmed, not for the tops of the trees to be cut off, Shearer said.

Howard told the council that her new tenant Trish Land, a home décor and garden shop, which opened Aug. 1 in the former Sensibly Chic building on Main Street, “wants to keep her trees.” Howard and her husband David Cossette own the building.

Shearer said that merchants had differing opinions about the trees, which were blocking visibility of downtown retail stores.

The crepe myrtles were hiding signs for the businesses, Shearer said. “Crepe myrtles are the wrong kind of tree there,” he said. “We need some kind of canopy tree that will provide shade and canopy above the signs.”

Shearer assured the council that the hardy crepe myrtles would come back.

Mayor Nancy Harris cautioned, however: “Don’t trim anything in the dead of summer.”



Suzanne Willett August 07, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Once 'topped', crepe myrtles never truly regain their former shape, hence the nickname 'crepe murder' to describe topping. I agree that, though beautiful, the trees have been blocking retailers' storefronts. Maybe now is the time to replace the current trees with something that will still look aesthetically pleasing but allow view of storefronts.
Jana Crump-Aquino August 07, 2012 at 02:46 PM
They will come back, but bush out lower and the signs will be able to be seen and they'll have flowers next year. I hate when they are cut like this, but understand why they did it. Oh well, Duluth is changing in many ways...............not all can be good.
Jeff Haas August 07, 2012 at 03:43 PM
What's the correct spelling, "crepe" or "crape"? I recently received an email from the Atlanta Botanical Gardens that spelled it "crape," and they should know, right?
Faye Edmundson August 07, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I've seen it spelled as both crepe and crape myrtle. Crape Myrtle may be more correct. Thanks for pointing this out.
Courtney August 07, 2012 at 11:43 PM
They can come back fully, but it takes a long time.


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