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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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Thursday - April 28, 2011

From: Henderson, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

How do I prune a Texas Mountain Laurel into a tree? Just bought a 15 gal. with two trunks above the crown. Was told that multiple trunks are their natural growth, which is OK. But all research called it a "shrub" with no pruning instructions for encouraging/training it to become a TREE. Thanks

ANSWER:

Texas Mountain Laurel in Hendersen, Nevada...hmmmm??

The Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular native evergreen (in Texas) 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. This USDA distribution map shows it growing natively only in Texas and New Mexico. However, it is a tough plant  whose growth requirements include full sun to part shade, dry, rocky, well drained, preferably calcareous soil with a pH >7.2. Drainage and pH are critical. If these needs are met, it may survive.
As to making it look like a tree, I received a similar question earlier this year, so I’m providing a link to this previous answer.

Here is a link regarding general care.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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