Editor’s Note: This is the fourth in a five-part series offering tips for better gardening in the New Year.

5. I will never “top” a tree nor mangle my crape myrtle. A tree should never be topped, or dramatically have its crown cut back to the trunk.

Many landscapers cut trees this way in the Metroplex, but it is not a good thing. Trimming a few limbs from time to time is recommended, especially if a tree is rubbing on the roof or some other part of the house or power lines.

You also want to be able to walk under a tree without getting hit in the face.

Crape myrtles can be gently trimmed by removing dead branches and suckers that want to sprout from the base of the plant. Otherwise, crape myrtles should be allowed to bloom in all their glory. What a lovely sight to see crape myrtles blooming in the dead of summer when almost everything else has given up, including many avid gardeners.