En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 14, 2008

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Watering, Trees
Title: Sudden death of Texas Mountain Laurel
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Last year, my 15-year-old Mountain Laurel died very suddenly. The leaves began to curl up and turn brown, and it was dead within about 15 days. What happened?

ANSWER:

Since you didn't mention any sort of insect disturbance or contamination from spraying nearby with herbicides, we are guessing that your tree died by drowning. Boerne, between San Antonio and Kerrville on US Hwy. 87, should ordinarily be dry enough to satisfy the needs of the Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) for good drainage. However. last year's weather was very unusual in Central Texas, and we had an awful lot of rain. If your Mountain Laurel had survived that many years, it could mean that the drainage where it was planted had not been challenged. If it was under roof drainage, in the path of runoff, or just in a hole with bad drainage, the roots may have stood in water longer that it could survive. Obviously, there's nothing you can do to recover your lost tree; however, if you choose to replace it, be aware of the drainage needs. Don't plant it somewhere that could be in the path of heavy runoff, work some humus (compost, etc.) into the soil, and make sure it's not at the bottom of a slope or a dip in the property. This tree is accustomed to growing on limestone shelves, with rocks for soil, and water a rarity.


Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Trees Questions

Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
January 01, 2014 - I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
view the full question and answer

Transplant time for small smoke tree from Battle Ground WA
June 01, 2014 - When do I transplant a smoke tree that is still young, about a foot high? It is too close to a fence, which I fear will be a problem as it gets big. I live in Battle Ground, WA which is zone 6.
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf fall causing ivy damage
August 28, 2007 - I read the A/Q in the Austin American-Statesman Saturday, August 25, regarding the leaves falling now from the live oaks. I am experiencing the same thing, but it is the leaves of my post oaks that a...
view the full question and answer

Native trees that will thrive in Amarillo, TX
April 04, 2010 - I need help in finding native Texas trees that will do well in Amarillo's low water and extreme temps.
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Leaf Drop in North Carolina
April 27, 2011 - We planted a 15 foot, approx. 3" caliber live oak tree last summer and it seemed very healthy throughout our unusually cold winter in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. (Winston-Salem). Now it's ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center