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

Care and fruiting time of pumpkins
October 06, 2007 - This is my first year growing pumpkin. I have a good vine with flowers now & then, but I still don't see a little pumpkin forming. What am I doing wrong?
view the full question and answer

What about the brown dots on my Silver sage?
June 27, 2008 - During the past year, the leaves on my silver sage bushes around the perimeter of the front of my house have turned yellow in places and there are tiny brown dots on virtually all of the leaves. If I ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Cedar Elm in Austin, TX.
August 04, 2012 - Our Cedar Elm has yellowing very dry leaves and something is eating the topmost leaves leaving holes and obviously chewed off leaf segments. Could this be two different things? Aphids and bacteria or ...
view the full question and answer

Oak Bark Loss in Arlington, TX
May 04, 2013 - I have multiple oak trees in my yard (in north texas) that have begun to lose their bark in small chunks. I'm in the middle of the city so their are no deer and yes it's been a dry 2 years but this...
view the full question and answer

Willow woes in Philadelphia, NY
August 22, 2010 - I have a 2 yr old willow; it is August and it looks like the tree has gone dormant, is this normal?
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