Q.Are my wax myrtles still alive?
I bought two wax myrtles in late November. At the time they looked like they were going dormant. I didn’t think evergreens lost leaves like deciduous ones but the nurseryman insisted they were ok. I asked to see the roots and was pleased to see they were not rootbound. In fact, no roots were visible, which seemed odd. Still, I need fast growing shrubs to screen our view of next door neighbors, so I bought them.
These two shrubs never changed appearance since November. Two other wax myrtles we have stayed green all winter even through single-digit temps. I’m wondering if the two new ones were severely root pruned last fall so they could stay in their containers until spring.
I returned to the nursery with pics and showed the same person. He wasn’t very helpful and seemed defensive. He said wax myrtles weren’t “such good shrubs” and that he doesn’t keep many in stock. He told me to check them for green buds. I don’t see any buds on these green or otherwise.
These two plants were $50 and I would hate to think they have to be thrown out. I can be patient and let them recover if you think they were root pruned too hard. What do you think?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
To determine if the plants are still alive, see if there's green tissue in the twigs. The easiest thing to do is to start breaking off small pieces from the ends of twigs inward. Wax myrtle is considered an evergreen shrub, and there are several diseases that might cause severe leaf drop. To determine the cause of the problem, you could dig up one of the plants and take it to your local extension service; this link will help you locate one: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search/
Reputable nurseries and plant stores provide a year's guarantee; this one should return your money if the plants are dead or diseased. Also, if they are determined to have a disease, don't put more wax myrtle where these were in the ground.