Tony Avent, horticulturist extraordinaire, plant explorer, and proprietor of Plant Delights Nursery, is known for his sometimes outrageous humor and his insistence on doing things right. If you haven't met Tony, look him up here. (Ya gotta love a person who posts all his hate mail on his website.)
His most recent newsletter rant (Plant Delights Nursery E-Newsletter, February 2013) is worth repeating here:
"While there are many things to love about the end of winter, the one thing I don’t look forward to is the annual rite of tree-topping...the only fad that’s spreading around the country faster than body art. Tree topping, aka butchering, especially of crape myrtles, is truly one of the most bizarre rituals to ever affect the gardening community. I’ve almost concluded that alien mind control must be at work here, causing Homo sapiens males with power tools and no critical thinking skills to bizarrely butcher any tree in their yard they think might possibly look like a crape myrtle. Other than releasing extra testosterone and making their carbon footprint the size of Sasquatch, there is absolutely no logical reason to top trees. Tree topping does not keep the tree shorter and it does not make it flower better. It does, however, make your tree decrepitly ugly, weak-branched, and more susceptible to disease while putting on display your low gardening IQ to all your neighbors. Please, mow your grass an extra time or two, but leave the trees alone."
A word to the wise . . .