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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - August 06, 2014

From: Cedar park, TX, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Lack of Blooms and Low Hanging Limbs on Mountain Laurels
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

My mountain laurel didn't bloom this year but has a few hard pods on it. It is 9 ft tall but very top heavy with most growth low. I need to prune it a lot at the bottom because it has branches hanging a foot from the ground.

ANSWER:

You didn't ask a question! That means Mr. Smarty Plants gets to talk about whatever he wants to. I think I'll talk about blooms and pruning of Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel).

First, about the blooms. 2014 was not a good year for mountain laurel blooms. The ones in my yard did not bloom at all and the ones I saw at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center had very few or no blooms. Why? Probably the drought, but who knows for sure. Hopefully they are storing energy for a really good show next spring. The pods you describe sound like seed pods left over from last year.

As for pruning the low hanging limbs, here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that pretty thouroughly answers that question.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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