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

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

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of Burning Bush in Missouri
October 15, 2008 - I live in MO and am pretty sure I have burning bushes on either side of my deck. My question is that they are huge and overgrown but I feel if I cut them lower and shape the sides up I will be left w...
view the full question and answer

Time for pruning wax myrtle in Texas
January 31, 2015 - We live in Houston. Can we prune back our southern wax myrtle now?
view the full question and answer

Pruning a rough-leaf dogwood in spring
May 04, 2012 - Is it OK to trim a rough leaf dogwood now? Should I spray after trimming? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Care of poppy plants
July 10, 2013 - I bought a tiny poppy grow kit at Target for 99 cents. Amazingly, they have grown into numerous large and very healthy plants, though they don't all appear to be the same species. Some have grown to ...
view the full question and answer

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