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

Death of mature Eve's necklace in Fredericksburg, TX
July 12, 2010 - A friend mentioned his mature Eve's necklace had died this year. The next day I walked past my own mature Eve's necklace(about 5 years old)and it was dead! What could have happened? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
view the full question and answer

Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
July 11, 2011 - I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?
view the full question and answer

Windbreaks for Monterey County, CA
May 31, 2013 - I am trying to find good wind breakers for Monterey County area, very windy in the valley.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for privacy hedge in Northern NJ.
May 01, 2012 - Hi, I'm looking for advice on what plant would make an excellent privacy hedge in Northern NJ (Bergen County). Ideally something low maintenance, about 5 feet tall, would act as a fence. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

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