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
Not Yet Rated

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

More Shrubs Questions

Erosion controlling plants for a shady Minnesota lakeside
August 11, 2015 - I live about 50 yards from a lake and there is a steep embankment. Recently someone decided to cut the trees off the embankment and now the dirt is eroding off the embankment as well as off my back ya...
view the full question and answer

What is the name of the Texas Wildflower that smells like grape koolaid?
March 28, 2014 - Can you tell me the name of the Texas wildflower that smells like grape koolaid? I live in north west Texas and every spring, the low growing purple flowers line spots along the roadside. It's a joy ...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil recipe for azaleas
October 07, 2007 - I have a couple of Azaleas in pots that need repotting.I can't remember the recipe for the medium I put them in last time other than pine bark mulch. I think there were three ingredients. What is ...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Connecticut Plants for a Steep Slope
September 09, 2015 - I am looking for the best plants to retain a steep, dry, fully shaded slope in zone 5, Connecticut. It must be deer resistant. Plant height is not a factor.
view the full question and answer

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