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

Friday - March 13, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Soils, Transplants, Watering, Trees
Title: My newly planted Mountain Laurel isn\'t doing well.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My mountain laurel was planted from a container in Dec. It is in part sun, clay soil, and its leaves are turning yellow. should I move it or will that kill it?

ANSWER:

 Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is a hardy, slow growing evergreen with showy purple flowers. It prefers rocky, well drained soils with sand, loam, clay, caliche, limestone. It can live in full sun or partial shade, but blooms more abundantly in full sun. It is not very tolerant of being transplanted, so please don't move it.

You didn't mention the size/age of the plant, but it could be suffering from transplant shock. You say it is in clay soil which isn't the preferred type, and there is a tendency  for people to over water newly planted plants; so the combination of poorly drained soil with too much watering could be causing the problem.

I would suggest that you, without disturbing the roots any more than you have to, try to incorporate some organic material like compost or leaf mold into the soil to improve the drainage. Water deeply but infrequently. Trim up to 1/3 of the upper structure the foliage including the dying leaves. Leave enough leaves to nourish the plant, but not so many as to put undue stress on the developing root system.

This Plant Answers link has a lot of good information about caring for your Mountain Laurel.

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Native plants for under a pine tree in Vevay IN
June 29, 2009 - At our office we have a very nice garden however, in the front we have a large pine tree. We cannot get anything to take root & live there. Do you have any suggestions for a native shrub or perennia...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Failure to come up of blackeyed susans in Lancaster PA
June 28, 2009 - My blackeyed susans have been blooming for ten years. All of a sudden this year they didn't come up at all..why?
view the full question and answer

When and how to transplant a Texas persimmon
January 02, 2009 - When and how should I transplant a 12' Texas persimmon? How much root ball do I need to get?
view the full question and answer

Perennials for flower bed in Humble TX
July 28, 2010 - I have a 10 foot by 10 foot flower bed that needs to be replanted and I am located in Houston, TX so what would be some good perennials to plant that are good to grow in this heat? I have been told L...
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