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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Saturday - May 30, 2009

From: St. Augustine, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning of wax myrtle in St. Augustine FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How severely can we prune our wax myrtle? It had grown 10 feet tall and very spindly and we want it to be a border hedge in front of the preserve in back of our yard.

ANSWER:

On our webpage on Morella cerifera (wax myrtle), this description of the plant is given: "A wispy, 6-12 ft., multi-trunked, evergreen shrub, southern bayberry or wax myrtle can reach 20 ft. in height." The word "wispy" rather infers that this plant is not going to grow into a dense bush. It can certainly be pruned and that might induce more growth in the center of the plant, and add some density, but don't count too much on it. It would be better for the plant if you did not prune it in the heat of summer (like now, in Florida), but wait for December or January when the plant is semi-dormant. When a plant is pruned, the first thing that happens is new growth appears where the pruning has occurred, which means it will start growing up again. We would recommend some gradual shaping, lowering its height, and giving it some fertilizer to encourage more leafing out.


Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera

 

 

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