The Q&A Archives: How to prune a Wax Myrtle (not Crepe Myrtle)

Question: I have 4 large Wax Myrtles planted as a screen. They are growing nicely but I think they need to be trimmed as they are becoming leggy. What is the best way to do this as they are about 7 feet tall?

Answer: These plants (Myrica cerifera) can grow up to five feet a year, they are very fast growers. Generally they are pruned twice a year, once in late winter/early spring and again in midsummer, if desired as a hedge. If the new hedge is looking sparse, next spring cut the plants back quite hard to encourage branching near the base. Then prune to shape so that the top of the hedge is narrower than the bottom. This allows light to reach the lower branches and keeps them leafy as a result. Remove any root suckers (shoots coming from the ground) as they appear. Otherwise, these can be trained as small trees by gradually removing the lower branches as the plants grow taller. Enjoy your wax myrtles!

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