En Español

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

Thursday - April 09, 2009

From: Portage, IN
Region: Midwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Plant ID and pruning in Portage IN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm looking for information on trimming a bush about 6 feet in diameter with orange horns in bloom and its name.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves to identify plants, but even with a very extensive description, we often are unable to do so. Please go to our Plant Identification  page for instructions on submitting a photo, and we will take another crack at it.

However, we can probably give you instructions on pruning it, without knowing exactly what it is. A bush of that size would most likely be a woody plant. If it is a Spring blooming plant, it should be pruned back after the bloom has ended, taking out any dead branches, and cleaning up to make it the size and shape you want. Otherwise, it is better to trim woody plants during their dormant season; even though we don't yet know what the plant is, that would still be a satisfactory time to do your pruning. If the plant blooms on new wood, you should do the trimming in the fall, to give it a chance to grow new flowering branches. 

We found an article from The Country Gardener, stating that it "serves communities in Northwest Indiana..." which would apply to you, and it has more specific pruning information for your locale: Pruning Tips by Kristopher Wulff, Master Gardener.

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Reducing the Height of a Redbud Tree
January 23, 2016 - We have a very large, about 15-year old, Redbud tree that is growing so tall it's obstructing our view of the river. How and when can we prune this tree back so it does not hurt the tree.
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Cold damage to Texas wild olive tree in San Antonio
May 02, 2010 - I have a Texas Olive tree that was unprotected from the 2010 cold winter here in San Antonio, TX. It is the end of April and there is no sign of growth on any of the branches. If the tree is still a...
view the full question and answer

Removal of pods when pruning Tecoma stans
May 10, 2013 - When pruning Tecoma stans for growth and shape control,should I cut off the pods?
view the full question and answer

Trimming of turkscap
November 16, 2009 - I have a Mexican Turk's cap, it is in its second year of growth and is doing well. However, I feel a need to prune it? do I need to?
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center