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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - March 04, 2009

From: Euless, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Wax myrtle for screening in Euless, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We need something to use as a screen along our back fence, to block the view of our neighbor's storage building. We are looking for a tall shrub that we can shape into a multi-trunked tree that will grow quickly to 12 feet tall and will spread to about 15 feet. We also would like it to be a bird-friendly native plant. Our local nursery suggested a Wax Myrtle. I have read several websites and find confusing info on the size to expect from a Wax Myrtle. Will it grow large enough in our location - - 12 feet tall and 15 foot spread?

ANSWER:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) is an excellent choice for your purposes. It has fragrant foliage, is evergreen, seems to have few pests, and the birds love it. It is dioecious, which means that only the female tree will have berries, and there must be a male within about 50 feet for pollination and berry production to occur. According to our Native Plant Database, it can grow to 20 feet tall, although this could take it a while, but we're not sure you could expect that 15-foot spread. Why don't you plant two or three of the shrubs? You will get quicker coverage, and can include a male in the grouping to be sure you get berries for the birds. Wax myrtle is also a larval and/or nectar source to the Banded Hairstreak and Red-Banded Hairstreak butterflies.


Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

 

 

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