Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

More Shrubs Questions

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Passiflora and Leucophyllum together in Texas
April 23, 2015 - I've got a Passiflora incarnata that has self-propagated around a cenizo sage. My question is, will the passionflower vine choke out or otherwise damage the cenizo? Do I need to cut back the vine? ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for East Texas
October 31, 2012 - I am looking for a small to medium evergreen shrub (native to east Texas) for a location that receives some sun in the morning but mostly shade. Something that blooms & attracts butterflys & hummingbi...
view the full question and answer

Does Helasia diptera absorb toxic substances from Dover Plains NY
March 09, 2012 - Dear Mr. Plants, Halesia carolina is described as absorbing toxic substances: herbicides, pesticides and pollutants from water, air and soil. Does Halesia diptera do the same? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Doodlebugs in dead area of Coral Bean from Houston
April 10, 2013 - I have a Firemans coralbean tree about 5 years old. I discovered yesterday in the middle of the tree there is some deadwood where we have pruned out branches. A couple of the branches were filled with...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.