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southern wax myrtle

Posted by ggma 8 (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 15, 10 at 13:58

just joined and so eager to learn more. we have the wax myrtles planted in the back along a chain link fence. wanted them to provide privacy, but the myrtles are not quite as thick as I had hoped. Do you all think this is the nature of the plant? They are thick at the top but we keep them pruned to the level of the fence which is about 5ft.


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RE: southern wax myrtle

In its native environment, i.e., the dunes along the Southeastern Atlantic Coast, wax myrtle grows into a small, multi-trunked aromatic evergreen tree--picturesque, frequently wind-swept and gnarled. As an ornamental in the home landscape, wax myrtle responds well to shearing. It can be kept at a desired height, and when sheared, will provide foliage that is dense enough to screen out your neighbors' prying eyes; that is, unless they decide to conceal themselves in the shrubbery to get an even better view.

If you allow your wax myrtle to grow unshorn, it will reward you and the native songbirds with multitudes of gun-metal blue bayberries. The berries, leaves, twigs, and trunks of the wax myrtle are aromatic. Certain songbirds relish the fruit, which will be greatly diminished or nonexistent if your plants are sheared too much.

Years ago, we planted slash pines along the highway right-of-way in front of our house and, then, underplanted the pines with wax myrtles. Over time, this planting has elminated the need for lawn maintenance. Also, over time, the wax myrtle has been sheared at least twice a year by the county road crew, which, as everyone knows, has the well-deserved reputation of being horticultural butchers. But to make a long story short, their wax myrtle butchery has been a good thing. Their chopping has kept the wax myrtle that's within their reach at a low, densely-foliaged height and has encouraged it to colonize, which is another of its natural tendencies. Wax myrtle is particularly attractive in the winter when its evergreen foliage shines in the sun.


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RE: southern wax myrtle

This is one of the few plants that seems agreeable to all kinds of physical 'abuse'. It can be cut back to just a few inches to restore shrubbiness, limbed up to a gorgeous tree form (my favorite), sheared on a regular basis to maintain a screen; it even makes a good topiary specimen.

If you continue to prune them only at the top, you'll never see them fill out at the bottom, as I believe you are wanting. You'll need to perform a proper rejuvenation cut, best accomplished in the late winter/early spring. Cut the shrubs to 6 inch stumps or less at that time. You'll probably see three or four feet of growth that first season.

From then on, you'll need to prune it properly so that new growth continues to be generated all up and down the trunks.


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Removing the stumps of Wax Myrtle

I need advice on removing the stumps. At present I'm digging them up but it's a tough job. I need to get them out this winter so I can plant things in the spring. I have 8 multi rooted stumps. Based on the ones I've removed it looks like the surface roots provide stability and can easily be cut. It's the vertical roots that are the problem to get at. I'm using an axe, splitting axe and landscaping tool. This is a 6 ft steel rod with a small blade on the end.


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