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

Wednesday - June 22, 2011

From: Sugar Land, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Transplants, Watering, Shrubs
Title: Need help with my Mountain Laurel in Sugarland, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Texas Mountain Laurel - My plant's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I don't know if this is caused from over watering or under watering. I have skipped days of watering to see if it will help, but it doesn't seem to be helping. I bought it at a nursery and it is a decent size and at first it appeared to be doing well (in ground), now it is not looking good. Please help. I really, really, really want to grow this beautiful shrub/tree. Thank you so much!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is guessing that it is probably over watering. You didn’t mention how long your plant has been in the ground, but if you have recently planted it, transplant shock may be your problem which is often linked to over watering.

Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is very popular as a native evergreen ornamental tree within its range, valued for its handsome, dark green foliage and lush early spring blooms. It is drought-tolerant, prefers rocky limestone soil, and is native from central Texas west to New Mexico. This USDA Distribution Map shows that it occurs natively in Wharton County, but not Fort Bend County. However, if you can supply its growth requirements, you should be able to get it to grow there as well. From its NPIN page, you see that it requires low to medium water, alkaline soil (pH >7.2), and dry, rocky , well drained (preferably calcareous ) soil. The key words here are alkaline, well drained soil. Like many woody plants native to rocky soils, it is slow growing.

I am going to give you two links that deal with transplant shock, and another concerning proper watering.

Transplant Shock

    Morton Arboretum

    University of Kentucky

Watering Tips
     University of Oregon

We get lots of questions about Mountain Laurel, so I am going to provide you with a link to a previous question which in turn has links to other links.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Watering Questions

Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
January 19, 2012 - My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
view the full question and answer

Dormancy in Pin Oaks without water in Del Rio, TX
August 02, 2011 - Can Pin Oak trees go dormant without enough water? If so how long can they live that way? Can they be brought back to producing leaves? If yes, then what do I need to do besides giving them water. I d...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting native trees from The Woodlands
August 18, 2011 - I've been trying to grow native trees in my yard for the past 3 years and I'm starting to question whether the amount of time required to spend watering them during the long hot season in Texas is r...
view the full question and answer

Recycling bath water from Austin
July 03, 2012 - Is using bath water going to hurt my plants or grass? If I use water from the bath on vegetables and fruits will the soap be absorbed by the fruit and/or vegetables thereby transferring to us when we ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Carolina Laurel Cherry from Pflugerville, TX
September 02, 2011 - In 2007 we planted 7 Carolina Laurelcherry (Prunus caroliniana)across our back fence. Everything was fine until this year. Three of the trees seemed to get sick and a local arborist said the roots ne...
view the full question and answer

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