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 Watering Questions

protecting native trees during drought
June 07, 2011 - We are very concerned about our mature live oaks and cedar elms because they are so stressed due to the drought. We have lost several of our mountain juniper and I really don't want to lose our more...
view the full question and answer

Mulching tree root in San Angelo, TX
April 02, 2014 - San Angelo, Texas is in a drought stage. Will it help our trees to mulch the base of them?
view the full question and answer

Restoring fire damage in Bastrop TX
November 03, 2011 - I live in the Bastrop State Park area. We were severely affected by the wildfire and as we are trying to rebuild our home, we are being very aware of the particularities of the recovery process. We lo...
view the full question and answer

Decline of indoor lemon cypress
June 25, 2008 - I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
view the full question and answer

Proper watering of cedar elm trees in Sachse, TX
August 15, 2008 - I've just planted two Cedar elm trees in clay soil, each about four inches in diameter, and I want to water them correctly. I'm aware that too much water can be bad as well as too little water. I ...
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