Wax Myrtle Pruning How too & when North Carolina

cambooOctober 18, 2006

I have Wax Myrtle trees. They are getting too big now, about 20 feet tall or more and are not doing the job of privacy from the neighbors. I have a hot tub in the back yard that I like the privacy for it. Do I have to replace them and loose privacy for others to grow up?

Or can they be cut them back so they will grow out thick again? Can they be started from cuttings?

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I expect that the trunks of these wax myrtles are quite large at this point, which puts quite a stress on them when you prune them. However, if they are not like big tree trunks, you can cut them ALL the way back to 6 inch stumps and they will regrow very quickly (in the Spring) with wonderful, new shrubby growth. If you were to cut them just part of the way, you would be sorely disappointed in the results, as they just won't regrow much on that old wood. This type of pruning procedure, by the way, is called 'rejuvenation pruning' and is an accepted and highly successful method of beginning all over again with many species of woody shrubs. Wax myrtle is one of them.

Should you decide to do this (and I recommend it highly), you will probably see 4 feet (more?) of brand new growth the very first year. I advise that you maintain your 'new' shrubs by pruning them once or twice a year from then on out, so that you can avoid this BIG procedure in the future.

Do this pruning (remember 6 inch stumps....I mean it.) in the late winter, early spring just before the new spring growth is about to occur. And I would not fertilize these shrubs for a year after pruning.

If your shrubs are fairly old, you might want to consider the purchase of some nice three gallon plants rather than take a chance of losing them.

Wax myrtles can be grown from cuttings made in the spring or early summer. There's quite a bit of information on line about how to take soft-wood or semi-hardwood cuttings from woody plants.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 12:56PM
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How big is too big for 'rejuvenation pruning'? The largest of my 10 wax myrtles is 4-5 inches in diamater. Should I cut them down to 6" or leave them. I have the same problem as the above member!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 8:11AM
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I purchased a home with mature Wax Myrtles 20' tall, 20' wide. It does not appear they have been pruned by close inspection, size and age. I would like to get them back to about 10' wide tall, or maybe to more of a hedge shape 8' wide and 10' tall. Are either of these results achievable without taking them back to 6" stumps and starting over?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 12:36PM
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