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

How do I prepare blackfoot daisies for winter in Austin, TX
October 19, 2010 - I have blackfoot daisies in my garden that have bloomed all summer. They are cascading out of the bed onto my lawn/grass. They have been so beautiful that I hate to cut them back. How do I prepare t...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on possumhaw holly in Grandview TX
July 02, 2009 - What would be likely causes for brown leaves on possumhaw holly? We have 2, one was planted in spring 2008, and a slightly larger one planted late winter/early spring this year. Most of the leaves a...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Citrus Suckers
October 06, 2014 - Mr. Smarty Plants, you are the only person that has "not" insisted that the little balls on Satsuma and lemon trees were clumps of bugs. They are surely what you described in the answer to my previo...
view the full question and answer

What is a lawn broom from Cibolo TX
February 15, 2013 - Concerning gulf muhly grass you mention using a lawn broom to get rid of the dead stalks. What is a lawn broom? What does it look like? Where can I purchase one?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Gaura
February 19, 2015 - My Gaura lindheimeri is very "leggy", but is blooming well at the end of the spindly stems. Should I prune it back or leave it?
view the full question and answer

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