Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Soils Questions

Potting soil mixture at Wildflower Center from Austin
August 14, 2012 - What potting soil mixture does the Wildflower Center use in its greenhouses for the native plants grown for the Austin Native Plant sales? Is the pH adjusted to match the alkaline soils in this area? ...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil recipe for azaleas
October 07, 2007 - I have a couple of Azaleas in pots that need repotting.I can't remember the recipe for the medium I put them in last time other than pine bark mulch. I think there were three ingredients. What is ...
view the full question and answer

Member of Taxus genus native to southern Illinois from Granite City IL
July 12, 2013 - Is there a native Southern Illinois similar to Taxus baccata? I live in Granite City IL and am looking for a native plant/scrub that stays green year round about 2-3 feet tall to it helps insulate the...
view the full question and answer

Hybridized Indigo Spires having problems in Wimberley, TX
August 19, 2010 - I planted 7 Indigo Spires from one gallon containers in May and now each plant is about 18" tall. 4 of the 7 fell over about 2 weeks are. The plants still look healthy with no dropped or curled leav...
view the full question and answer

Wisconsin Ground Cover for Acid Soil
July 09, 2012 - What type of native wisconsin ground cover plants do best on acidic bare areas under pine trees such as blue spruce?...and where is best source for these plants or seeds? Thanks so much for your help
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.