Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Native trees for horse pasture in eastern Washington
October 15, 2008 - Hi. I live in Washington State (eastern)What type of trees can I grow in a pasture for horses? Best Regards,
view the full question and answer

Taproot tree to replace willows by pool
June 23, 2008 - Installing Pool with bomanite decking all around it. We're in process of cutting down 18 year old Weeping Willow due to root invasiveness and small messy leaves. Can you recommend a good shade tree w...
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Care of Styphnolobium affine, Eves necklace
October 05, 2007 - I have an 18 yr old Eve's Necklace tree that is dying from the "bottom up". It has only a few leaves at the very top of the tree. I have, connected to the gutter, a rain barrel from which the exc...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Cedar Elm in Kerrville TX
April 28, 2012 - We live in 10 miles outside Kerrville - have a Cedar Elm tree - planted 4 or 5 years ago, 15-20 foot high, is losing leaves in the top 1/4th. Rest of leaves look healthy and green.
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.