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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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.

 

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