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Controlling the Wax Myrtle

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The leaves of wax myrtles are covered on both the upper and lower surface with resinous glands that are responsible for the fresh, aromatic scent released when you brush against them. These glands, however, make wax myrtle plants extremely flammable. In communities that are periodically threatened by fires, wax myrtles and other plants (yaupon holly, eastern red cedar, palmetto and others) are prohibited. In Florida cattle pastures and in Southern forests managed for timber, wax myrtles become so numerous that they are considered a nuisance, even though they are a native species. Prescribed winter burns can keep them from taking over too much space, but it takes a regular routine. In managed pine forests where wax myrtles complete for nutrients, foresters must burn for four consecutive winters to eliminate these plants.