En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Thursday - March 24, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where do I make my cuts to remove the smaller trunks and encourage a tree-like shape?

ANSWER:

The Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular native evergreen that is described as a multi-trunked shrub or small tree that can range in size from a few feet to over 30 ft tall. Generally, 10 - 15 ft is the usual mature size. I am going to provide several links that give general information about growning Mountain Laurel, and suggestions about pruning. The common theme is that it is a slow grower. To train it as a tree, cut the smaller trunks at or near ground level, leaving from one to five trunks to grow.

Plantanswers.com

Houston Chronicle  (this is an abbreviated version of a previously answered Mr. Smarty Plants question)

City of Austin

Texas Gardener  (scroll down to Mountain Laurel)

Aridzonetrees.com

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Trees Questions

Care in planting native Shumard oaks
April 16, 2008 - I am going to plant 3 shumard red oaks on the west side of my property. The land is basically rocky. What should I put in the holes to help the tree grow?
view the full question and answer

Shumard Oak failing to leaf out in Pflugerville TX
March 27, 2010 - I planted a five gallon container grown Shumard Red Oak late last October and so far this spring there is no sign of any leaves on the tree. The branches are not brittle so I don't think that the tre...
view the full question and answer

Shaping of native hawthorns
October 21, 2007 - I have three young hawthorns that were propagated from a nearby Blackland prairie stand. If I limb them up, will that encourage them to branch more near the top, or will it just ruin the form altoget...
view the full question and answer

Recently planted live oak tree in Boerne, TX
February 07, 2009 - My brother planted a live oak in August. It was from a nursery and had a root ball. It looks dead but I keep watering it. The trunk is about 6 inches around. The leaves died but when the winds came th...
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant shade tree seedlings from San Antonio
September 28, 2013 - What month do you transplant shade tree seedlings in San Antonio, TX<
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center