En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - January 24, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late winter or should I wait until after it blooms in the spring - April? I also want to prune my Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) so that it has a tree shape (vs. large shrub). Is it ok to prune now or should I wait until after it blooms in the spring? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We often get questions about pruning, and they generally fall into three categories; why do I prune?  how do I prune? and when do I prune? This link to Aggie-horticulture provides good answers to all three categories.  Pruning now will give you fewer blooms to enjoy this spring, so you might want to wait until flowering is past.

We get a lot of questions about Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), so I’m going to refer you to two previously answered questions that address pruning issues as well as having good general  information about this popular plant.

#23941

#4377

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Pruning Questions

Maintenance of milkweed from Austin
September 12, 2013 - I help plant and maintain a Monarch Waystation Garden in San Leanna, Texas (South Austin). Should milkweed plants be cut back during the winter? Last year we cut them back a bit late and some died c...
view the full question and answer

Decline of sheared dwarf hollies from Rockwall TX
May 31, 2014 - I have 20 year old established dwarf yaupon hollies in front of the house that I trim every year and shape the same. This year the new growth that was 2 1/2 " long I noticed the new leaves were curli...
view the full question and answer

Branching on plants
March 14, 2008 - Hi Mr SmartyPlants, I would like to cause my cerus peruvinesus (sp?) to branch low to the ground and another plant to branch higher up..what causes branching & how can I duplicate this?
view the full question and answer

Deadheading cannas and geraniums
August 17, 2007 - I'm new to gardening. Your help would be appreciated. 1) I think I read that canna flowers can be deadheaded so they will continue to bloom throughout the summer. What part is actually taken off? ...
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

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center