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: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Problems with Anacacho Orchid tree in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have an Anacacho Orchid that is about 9ft tall. It is early May and has not started to put out leaves yet on the old growth. I can't even see any noticeable buds yet. It is still alive because I have scratched off some bark on the ends of some branches and it's green. There are some suckers growing from underneath the soil at the trunk. Is this normal for an Anacacho Orchid after a cold winter? It has always started leafing out in March/April prior to this year.

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. This allows for vigorous summertime growth and results in plenty of flower buds the following year.  Pruning these shrubs in the fall would remove the buds, and diminish spring flowering. 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

How to remove plume from Yucca elephantipes in NJ?
August 02, 2011 - In Manahawkin, NJ, how do we cut plume (2" diameter) off 10' Yucca elephantipes?
view the full question and answer

Corkscrew willow damage to roof in Detroit, MI.
August 13, 2009 - I have a corkscrew willow (Detroit, MI) that is huge and whose branches hang on top of the asphalt shingles of my mobile home. It has now been discovered that these shingles, under the branches, are ...
view the full question and answer

Yaupon sprouts from Bennettsville SC
May 29, 2013 - I have Yaupons in a flower bed and they have too many shoots to pull up, can I spray them with roundup and not kill the bush and what strength should I use?
view the full question and answer

Pruning a rough-leaf dogwood in spring
May 04, 2012 - Is it OK to trim a rough leaf dogwood now? Should I spray after trimming? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Due to drought is pruning live oaks beneficial from Houston
December 07, 2011 - Would it be beneficial (presuming a continued spring drought) to prune live oak trees more severely than usual this winter? I'm thinking that it might help them to have less mass to support.
view the full question and answer

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