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
1 rating

Monday - February 13, 2006

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Vines
Title: Pruning time for Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Gentlemen: I have a Texas Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus). It's doing very well & I wish to prune it before its leaves come out. I understand there are a few trees you don't prune, among them birch. I pruned a limb on my smoke tree last year & it bled & bled & bled. The limb I want to remove is near 3" across. Can I remove it?

ANSWER:

You need to wait until summer or early fall to prune your Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus. Now (mid-February) is an especially bad time to prune because the sap is just starting to run and the wound is likely to bleed profusely. You should wait at least until after the tree flowers to remove the limb. Michigan State University has an excellent article on pruning trees.

 

More Pruning Questions

Pruning of tree poppy from Livermore CA
May 29, 2013 - We have a Dendromecon rigida which has been in place for about 10 years and is doing fine. But the older growth gets dry, brown and crinkly, while the newer growth is bright and lush. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
October 27, 2010 - Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Maintenance of Bicolor Sage in Austin
February 05, 2009 - I had quite a bit of Bicolor Sage planted when my yard was landscaped. I am now wondering on the proper plant maintenance. Do I prune back and if so, how much and when do I prune?
view the full question and answer

Growing Grapes in Southern Texas on an Arbor
July 02, 2014 - I've redirected several grape vines (from the top third of a broken oak tree) onto an arbor. The base of the vine is about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. Is it feasible to work with (prune) the smaller b...
view the full question and answer

Pruning mature cedar elm trees in San Antonio
September 14, 2008 - When is the right time to prune my several mature cedar elm trees? I'm in San Antonio, and they have never been trimmed in the 55 years we have lived in this home. I have several that are at least 7...
view the full question and answer

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