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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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