En Español

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 - May 05, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Freeze-damaged Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) that is several years old. During this past winter, one of the freezes we had split one of the largest trunk right below the soil line. That trunk is still living and actually bloomed this spring, but I have to prop up the trunk with stakes. Is it possible for this trunk to heal and support itself eventually and is there anything I can do to help it out? If we have to take out this trunk we might as well take out the whole tree and start over since the broken trunk is approximately 50% of the tree. Any other resources you could point us to would be helpful. Thanks.

ANSWER:

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)  is a very popular shrub/tree here in Austin, and it would be a shame to have to remove one that is several years old. However, that is a possibility.

The tree is usually multi-trunked, so Mr. Smarty Plants is wondering how many trunks there are? The other trunks could perhaps take up the slack if you have to remove the damaged trunk.

Since the tree is still living, I think I would give it this growing season to see if the break will heal. Staking the tree to help relieve the pressure on the break is a reasonable approach to encourage healing.

I’m enclosing a link to a previously answered question which also has links to helpful information about growing Mountain Laurel.


Sophora secundiflora

 

 

More Trees Questions

No acorns on mature live oak in Little Rock AR
April 18, 2010 - Why does my very large mature live oak have no acorns?
view the full question and answer

Leaves turning yellow on Banana Shrub in Eutaw. AL
July 28, 2013 - We have a very large (about 12' tall), very old (probably planted in the early 1900s) Banana Shrub in our front yard. It was very healthy until last year when its leaves began turning yellow and fal...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Spruce Pine (Prunus glabra)
September 02, 2015 - I have a Pinus glabra/spruce pine that is approx. 7' tall. It's limbs are few and some have been broken. Will trimming back the longer limbs to give it a Christmas shape harm this tree?
view the full question and answer

Failure to bloom of one of two Texas persimmons from Wimberly TX
May 04, 2013 - Last year my son planted two texas persimmon trees. One is blooming ok this year and the other is not. It does not seem dead. What can I do or is is in fact dying?
view the full question and answer

Should shredded Ashe juniper be composted for mulch?
May 06, 2009 - Our neighbor shredded some Texas Hill Country cedar trees. Can we use it safely as mulch? Do we need to wait until it composts some?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center