Thursday, October 22, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 62: southern bayberry (aka wax myrtle)

 Yesterday my super farm helper put in 23 of the 25 southern bayberries I ordered last spring. We’ve put them in in front of our front pasture fencing, where they will not only offer a native plant benefit to pollinators, birds, and other wildlife, they’ll also provide privacy screening for us as they grow. 

These bushes are evergreen, deer resistant, hardy once established, and they can grow up to 8 feet per year, which means you get your privacy very quickly. They can be pruned or let go to create a very thick hedgerow effect, and you can let them grow to the ground for a full shrub effect, or limb them up to get more of a single trunk/tree effect. 

Right now, I’m just thrilled they are in the ground, watered, and waiting for mulch. Up near the gate, we will put them in behind the fence instead of in front, to give a layered effect and keep the gateway from the road tidy and distinct. 

I love the idea of a dense thicket effect and spaced them such that they will definitely grow to meet in the middle unless we intervene. One more thing checked off the list!

We also finally had the barn electric box updated, a line run to the barnyard/camper, and new outlets installed in the barn aisle. I have more projects for the electrician in the barn and the house, but this was a full day of work, and got done what we needed for now. Check, and onward. 

More info on the bayberries:

Morella cerifera

Morella cerifera (L.) Small

Wax Myrtle , Southern Wax Myrtle, Southern Bayberry, Eastern Bayberry, Bayberry, Candleberry, Tallow Shrub

Myricaceae (Bayberry Family)

Synonym(s): Cerothamnus ceriferusCerothamnus pumilusMorella ceriferavar. pumilaMyrica ceriferaMyrica cerifera var. pumilaMyrica pusilla

USDA Symbol: moce2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), HI (I), PR (N)

A wispy, 6-12 ft., multi-trunked, evergreen shrub, southern bayberry or wax myrtle can reach 20 ft. in height. The light olive-green foliage has a spicy fragrance. Pale blue berries occur on female plants in the winter. Handsome gray bark is almost white on some plants. 

Native from New Jersey west to eastern Oklahoma and east Texas, south through Mexico to Central America as well as through much of the Caribbean, this popular evergreen ornamental is used for screens, hedges, landscaping, wetland gardens, habitat restoration, and as a source of honey. Essentially a shrub, it serves as an excellent screen plant, with both standard and dwarf varieties available. Because there are separate male and female plants, if you want berries you must have male plants close enough to the berry-producing female plants for pollination to occur. The leaves are aromatic, with an appealing, piquant fragrance when crushed. Colonists separated the fruits waxy covering in boiling water to make fragrant-burning candles, a custom still followed in some countries.


Grey Horse Matters said...

I think they'll look great and the best part is the privacy they will offer. We've been looking for something to put along our fence line for privacy too. These might be a good idea. Thanks.

billie said...

A, they tick every box for this kind of use. There’s a northern species that you might look into - it might work better for you up there!