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

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Liberty Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Trees
Title: Trimming back freeze damage from Anacacho orchid in Liberty Hill TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is it safe to trim back what I think is dead wood on my Anacacho orchid trees (that were hit hard this past winter)? Is there any harm done if I cut back living wood?

ANSWER:

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) is not shown to be growing in this area of Central Texas on this USDA Plant Profile map, but rather south and west of here.

From the webpage on this plant in our Native Plant Database:

"Native Habitat: Canyons & arroyos in limestone hills. Known only from canyons and arroyos in limestone hills in Kinney, Presidio, and Gillespie or Llano counties. Well-drained sand, loam, limestone."

"Conditions Comments: Does best when planted on the south side of a building, protected from winter winds."

We know this tree can and does grow in Central Texas, but the whole state has had harsh weather this year. Since it is not native to this part of Texas and still rather rare, we have very little experience in its habits and problems. Don't try fertilizing, right now the roots are trying to recover from the cold and do not need to be prodded into new growth by the fertilizer. Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on last season's growth and should be pruned soon after they bloom. It could be that you will have to cut it back to the ground because of being frozen back, but you might as well give it time to show some life and not prune during hot weather, always a problem in Texas. Since you have suckers, you know the roots are alive. Make sure the roots are in a well-drained situation; like many desert plants, this one cannot tolerate wet feet. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

 

 

 

 

More Pruning Questions

Young yaupon trunks bending in Houston
April 26, 2010 - I have new yaupon in this their second summer which are bending over about half-way up their trunk, at around two feet - do I trim them or stake them?
view the full question and answer

Winter pruning of lantana from Austin
February 12, 2013 - I live in north Austin. Due to our mild winter, my lantana has not died off this season as it usually does after a freeze - and so I have not cut it back yet this year which I typically do about right...
view the full question and answer

Eradication of mahonia repens
July 27, 2008 - What is the best way to kill and/or remove mahonia repens?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Wax Myrtle trees & bushes
February 28, 2016 - When is the best time of year to prune Wax Myrtle trees & bushes.
view the full question and answer

Failure of Bald Cypress to fully leaf out
April 14, 2008 - My family just moved to a house in Burnet County, about 7 miles south of Bertram, close to the Balcones Canyonlands NWR, with very rocky limestone soil. We bought several trees last fall, including a ...
view the full question and answer

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