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Friday - March 30, 2007

From: Williamsburg, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Shrubs
Title: Reason for decline of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) in Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus


We have Wax Myrtle bushes in our back yard. They were about 2 feet tall when planted 2 years ago and now are about 7-8 feet tall. The leaves have turned brown and are dropping essentially denuding the bush. Is something wrong? If so what can we do to protect them and have them flourish? Thanks.


It does sound as if your Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is dying. Typically, wax myrtle is resistant to disease and pest problems, but yours obviously has a problem. Your best bet for determining why they are dying is to contact a professional arborist or your local county extension agent in Virginia.

Your immediate action, however, should be to cut them back hard, at least by 1/2, until you find green, living tissue in the stems. Do NOT feed them at all right now. You might possibly be able to save them until you can find the cause of their decline.

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera



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