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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Sun-scorched Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in south Central Texas 30 miles north of San Antonio. I am looking for a good evergreen hedge plant that once established will not die if I forget to water it a few days and is deer resistant. I would like something that grows fast provided I take care of it, but it has to be able to take the full sun for over 6 hours a day. I was thinking of Cherry Laurel Compacta but I bought a test plant and put it out in the sun and now the leaves are looking like they are being burned, and I am making sure it is not getting too dry. They had their Cherry Laurels under a tree at the nursery but they indicated they could take full sun but my test plant does not seem too happy with the change to full sun so far. Any suggestions on good privacy hedge for my area of Texas that the deer will not chew to the ground the first night they see them?

ANSWER:

Your test Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) likely got sun scorched because it had been growing in the shade.  Plants secrete a sort of sunscreen to protect the leaves from direct sun when they’re in a sunny location.  If they’re growing in the shade, they don’t produce the waxy coating.  This allows more light to penetrate to the leaves where it can be put to work in the photosynthetic process. 

Prunus caroliniana will grow in Comal County, but nearly all of the plants of this species we've seen in Central Texas have suffered from iron chlorosis.  That is, the foliage on Carolina Cherry-laurel around here is usually yellow and unattractive due to high soil pH.  So instead of an "evergreen" shrub, it'll likely be more of an "everyellow" plant.

Here are some other evergreen shrubs for Comal County that are reportedly deer resistant:

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel) moderately deer resistant

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) highly deer resistant

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) moderately deer resistant

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) highly deer resistant

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) highly deer resistant

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) moderately deer resistant

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) highly deer resistant


Prunus caroliniana

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Ilex vomitoria

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Rocky Mountain Juniper Grazed by Deer
April 29, 2013 - I have four Colorado red cedar (Juniperus scopulorum). The deer have eaten from their height down. Now these narrow top to bottom evergreens have only tops left. Will the bottom fill in if I protect t...
view the full question and answer

Young oak tree with dead branches
April 10, 2009 - I purchased my home new a year ago and we have three young oak trees that came with the house. Two of the trees are doing great and their new leaves have grown in. One tree however still has dead le...
view the full question and answer

Magnolia species are allelopathic
August 02, 2014 - Have a healthy Southern Magnolia tree around 8 years old. It seems like everything I plant next to it dies.: Variegated Spirea, Stokes Aster, Hydrangeas. Is there something it secretes like the waln...
view the full question and answer

care of Red Oak seedling; Quercus buckleyi
October 30, 2007 - We purchased one of the Red Oaks seedlings for sale to members from the LBJ Ranch ($45). Now that we have it at home we are wondering about the care and feeding. We failed to ask any questions or pi...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Spruce Pine (Prunus glabra)
September 02, 2015 - I have a Pinus glabra/spruce pine that is approx. 7' tall. It's limbs are few and some have been broken. Will trimming back the longer limbs to give it a Christmas shape harm this tree?
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