Cutting Back Wax Myrtle Shurbs ??

brownthumb65(8B Florida)January 19, 2010

I have been having issues with some shrubs I planted back in May. I had to transplant them last month, because I installed a fence for the nasty neighbors instead and the shrubs weren't getting enough sun after the fence was installed.

They are LEGGY!!. Someone suggested that in the spring to just cut them way down to the ground and they will produce new branches and won't be leggy anymore.

You think it will work? Or will I kill them?


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It won't kill your wax myrtle.
It will make it nicer looking really. It'll fill in a little bushier and look fuller.
Wax murtle loves sun.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 12:07AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I agree. Cut them all the way back to 6 inch stubs and let them regrow. In your location, I would wait until late winter/ very early spring.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 2:13PM
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Just as the armadillo has been on an eastward migration for several decades, in South Carolina, wax myrtle has been on a westward migration from the Coastal Plain into the Piedmont for quite a long time. More than thirty years ago, we collected wax myrtle seedlings in Greenwood and McCormick counties in the lower South Carolina Piedmont and transplanted them to our farm near Clemson University in the upper Piedmont. We planted the wax myrtles along several hundred yards of our roadbank fronting a county road. They're too close to the road and, therefore, suffer the depradations of the county road crew several times a year--most recently just a few weeks ago. Even though the road crew's whacking is totally unnecessary and bothersome, the butchering seems to envigorate (sp.?) the wax myrtle hedge. In the spring, the wax myrtles rebound with great energy. This plant also tends to colonize, or sucker, which makes it an excellent native selection for screening as well as providing a food source, i.e., berries, to feed the wild birds. I love wax myrtle with its aromatic, shiny evergreen leaves. I'm pleased to say our wax murt;e has begun the cycle of colonizing the local landscape, thanks to the birds scattering its seeds.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 3:13PM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida)

Wow Jay thanks for all the info and thanks to everyone else who answered. I will cut them back in early spring/late winter.

I am such a newbie gardener I just want to make sure that it will be ok to cut them way back even though they wouldn't be established since I transplanted them the 2nd week of last December?

Also, do I cut back every branch and just leave stubs? It doesn't matter that there won't be any leaves exposed to the sun?


    Bookmark   January 20, 2010 at 11:25PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Yes, cut back every branch to the ground, or nearly so. If you do so at the time when the shrub is ready to burst with new growth in the spring, you'll likely see all kinds of sprouts within a few days.

Yes, too, in that there is more risk since your plants aren't firmly established. (You neglected to tell us that in your original post, naughty brownthumb.) Even so, it's the only way to rejuvenate such a plant.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:05AM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida) guys are funny.....

rhizo1 In my original post I said " I planted back in May. I had to transplant them last month"

I thought you guys would understand that they weren't established yet.
Anyway, I appreciate all the tips and will whack them in late winter.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 11:57PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sorry about that, brownthumb. My brain wasn't reading as fast as my eyes, or something like that.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 11:51AM
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brownthumb65(8B Florida)

That's ok rhizo :-)

The Wax Myrtles did end up getting "freezer burn" a couple of weeks ago from the record lows we had here in Northern, FL and by golly now we are just getting over some record WARMTH!!

I just don't know if I should stay in shorts or bundle up, keep the heat on or turn on the a/c?! Really weird here lately!

Anyway since I was too lazy to cover them up I read that I should just leave them alone and whack 'em when late winter early spring get here and we shall see what happens. I've heard they are tough little buggers and we shall find out.

Thanks again for everyones input!
You guys are THE best.


    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 1:31AM
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