How to Prune Myrtle

Whenever your climate calls for drought-tolerant plants, then you do not have to forego the lush appearance of a flowering evergreen tree. Myrtle (Myrtus communis) is a Mediterranean native with shiny, deep green leaves and white early summer blooms that belie its water-thrifty temperament. The tree grows 12 to 15 feet tall and wide and compact 2-foot varieties will also be widely planted. Myrtle prefers full sun and is evergreen in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. It may be pruned as a casual or formal hedge, left to grow in its natural curved contour, or transformed into a little tree.

Remove any broken or dead myrtle branches at the base of the affected stem whenever you notice them.

Clip off any frost-damaged increase or thin, spindly increase back to the upcoming healthier node or grass with bypass pruners in early spring as new growth begins in your own myrtle tree. Frost-damaged branches are blackened at the tips with wilted, brown leaves.

Deadhead the short flowering shoots as they fade in the late spring to early summer to prompt a new flush of bloom.

Prune out one third of the oldest, longest branches at their foundations with loppers in summertime after booming, to reduce the height of an everyday myrtle, as desired.

Shear formal myrtle hedges after booming to within a inch of the last cut. Formal hedges should always be trimmed so that they are at least 6 inches narrower at the top than at the base of the plant, therefore all parts of its face get sun. Prune out any dead plant material from the inside of the myrtle and open tiny spaces throughout the canopy to let in light and also improve air circulation, preventing future dead spots inside the hedge. Myrtle shrubs are slow-growing, but might need another light shearing in late summer.

Cut off the lower limbs of larger, based myrtles even with the main trunks of the tree to make an attractive multi-trunked little tree.

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