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
1 rating

Wednesday - November 26, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Transplants
Title: Why is my Mountain Laurel in distress?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have planted our 2nd Texas Mountain Laurel in the same spot (after fresh berm built with sandy loam) and it is not looking good in less than 2 weeks. We have an identical berm on the other end of our house with a healthy mountain maurel and lantana but all that died on the other side. WE haven't replaced anything but the laurel which is looking yellowish and has dried up leaves on a branch which appears might have been damaged. There is no shade and we have watered almost daily. Does this sound like we are caring for it properly or a deeper soil issue?

ANSWER:

The Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is  a hardy plant that grows throughout the hill country in some rather inhospitable habitats, eg. growing out of limestone rocks. Therefore, it's disappointing when we try to nurture the plant without success.

I'm wondering about a couple of things. One is what happened to the Mountain Laurel that died, and how have things changed since it's demise? The second is the source of your new plant. The fact that it isn't looking good after less than two weeks since planting seems to indicate that the plant was under stress when you got it. If you bought it from a nursery, you might check on their return policy. If you are moving the plant from another location (ie. transplanting it), Mountain Laurels don't transplant well. The problem is that the tap root is long, and it is hard to get enough of it in the root ball for the plant to survive.

Mountain Laurel can grow in full sun to partial shade in dry rocky, well drained, alkaline soils. In your situation, I would suggest checking the soil pH, and reducing the amount of water.

Click on this link to learn more about caring for Texas Mountain Laurel

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Shy blooming non-native Crape Myrtle, in Littlestown Pennsylvania
July 25, 2011 - My Crape myrtle has been planted about three years, and reached a height of about 4'. It blooms late July and for the past two years, has only had one or two blooms on it. I have a lot of buds whic...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurels are dying in Georgetown, TX.
April 02, 2012 - Ten year old Mountain Laurels both last year and this spring have had entire branches turn brown just after blooming this Feb. Round Rock Arborist suggested I contact you. Last year one of my laurels...
view the full question and answer

Possible mildew on standing cypress
May 29, 2008 - My mother-in-law took some standing cypress seeds from Texas to Virginia several years ago. They have always done very well, but this year they are growing very tall, but the bottom half of the stalk...
view the full question and answer

Need help with dying clumps of Cedar Sedge
June 24, 2015 - Carex planostachys. This grass was planted 2 years ago in light shade. It grew well until this year. Now some clumps are dying. Others in same area look fine. No insects can be detected. Why are...
view the full question and answer

Problems with wax myrtle in Austin
February 01, 2009 - I have been struggling with wax myrtles for the last year! We live in NW Austin, The plants start off great and then thin out, leaves go brown, and die. I then cut off the dead wood in the hope that t...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center