En Español

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 Pruning Questions

Leggy purple coneflower
August 20, 2007 - Last year I planted purple coneflowers and this year when they bloomed they were extremely tall & leggy. I'd like next year to get them to be shorter and fuller. How do I do that & is it something ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of Salvia greggii from San Antonio
June 29, 2011 - We bought Salvia greggii at the Wildflower Center Plant Sale three years ago and planted them in a well drained area. We cut them back early in the year as recommended at Go Native U classes. ...
view the full question and answer

Spanish Dagger plant interfering with walkway in Ingram TX
April 09, 2010 - I have a Spanish Dagger that is now 8 feet tall and about to fall over in a walkway. Due to the danger of these very sharp tips I need to either cut down the plant or try to root in and replant. If ...
view the full question and answer

Trimming back freeze damage from Anacacho orchid in Liberty Hill TX
May 17, 2010 - When is it safe to trim back what I think is dead wood on my Anacacho orchid trees (that were hit hard this past winter)? Is there any harm done if I cut back living wood?
view the full question and answer

Best time of year to trim oak trees from Beloit WI
July 23, 2010 - What is the best time of year to trim oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center