- Author: Launa Herrmann
When our family moved from the Bay Area to Vacaville five years ago, I looked forward to warm fog-less summers sitting beside the swimming pool in our small backyard. But I found out that sitting is a rare occurrence since seven 20-year old Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) and three Crape myrtles (Lagerstoemia indica) border the pool. When my husband and I aren't scooping out cones and needles, we're glaring at the myrtle trees bursting with aerodynamic blooms fit for the slightest breeze.
We determined that this year would be different. By late-July we hatched a plan to conquer the blossom drop. Before the petals started falling, we started pruning. One by one, flower clusters plopped onto the walkway. By day’s end our green-waste can sat at the curb like a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey. My husband and I sank into our faux wicker chairs with pretzels and cokes in hand. We grinned from ear to ear, thrilled that these skinny-dipping blossoms were history. Finally, time to relax.
“Hey, Honey, we'll have a clean pool for a couple months before the autumn winds shake down the dead redwood needles,” I told my husband.
Wrong. By Labor day, I was staring at Crape myrtle buds—again. In fact, they sprouted from every single cut our pruners had made and by mid-September the trees were thick with flowers. Oops, I had unknowingly coaxed a second bloom out of the trees. Next year we'll return to our usual once-a-year early spring pruning regime of removing the prior year’s seed capsules, enjoying the flower show—and putting up with the maddening scattering mess.