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
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

Texas Ash secreting sap in Lockhart, TX
July 05, 2012 - I have what I believe is a Texas Ash in my front yard that is secreting a sap with what looks like some wounds on it with some white stuff and with black and red looking ants as well as it has a lot o...
view the full question and answer

Safe time to trim live oak trees
June 20, 2008 - Our live oak trees need a little trimming, as some of the branches are hanging too low, almost to the ground. We planted them about 5 years ago, so they are well established, healthy trees. My husband...
view the full question and answer

Screen Tree for Lockhart, TX.
March 30, 2015 - What is a good screening tree for a ranch in the Lockhart area that won't get much water.
view the full question and answer

Small native evergreen tree for Long Island, NY
October 06, 2008 - Hi, I am looking for an evergreen tree to plant on Long Island NY. I plan on planting it in my front yard. At maturity to about 10-15ft about 5 ft wide. Not sure about soil, the area gets good AM sun ...
view the full question and answer

pruning Chinkapin oak, Loquat and Monterrey oak trees
December 07, 2012 - What is the best time to plant a 45-65 gal. Chinkapin oak tree in Pflugerville. Also, when can i prune fig trees, Loquat trees and a Monterrey oak. Thanks for the information.
view the full question and answer

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