Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Landscaping help for Gilmer, TX
September 01, 2008 - We have just moved to the beautiful hot state of Texas from warm California and we need some help! Our roses are dying, we have a patch about 25ft. by 3ft. that gets the rain run off like a little str...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Silverado Sage in Pearland, TX.
July 28, 2012 - Hi, We have three Silverado Sage bushes we planted last year. They did great during the drought. However, this winter they had a severed leaf drop of mostly just the centers of them. These cente...
view the full question and answer

Noise reduction hedge from Austin
April 17, 2013 - Noise reduction hedge row in Austin. We back up to a very busy street and need a fast growing noise barrier. In a similar post for the Houston area, you recommended Gordonia lasianthus -loblolly bay. ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in California
November 13, 2010 - Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that y...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs for wildlife santuary in Georgia
March 27, 2009 - We live south of Atlanta, GA and are trying to have our backyard certified as a Wildlife Sanctuary. Can you suggest native shrubs that thrive in partial sun, are habitats for bird and are deer resist...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.