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

Saturday - February 18, 2012

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Pruning Agarita in the Winter
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I recently came upon a small grouping of agarita plants that had been somewhat choked by cedar. Having removed the cedar I noticed there were quite a lot of dead branches within the shrubs. Would February be a suitable time to prune these plants? If so, how, and would they benefit from some sort of fertilizer? Thanks.

ANSWER:

  Almost anytime is an OK time to remove true deadwood, but as a general statement – The late winter is not a good time to be pruning Mahonia trifoliolata (Agarita).  I checked with our local experts, the horticulturists at the Wildflower Center, and was reminded that Agarita blooms in February to March and if you want to enjoy the flowers & berries that show in the Spring you should wait for the Fall to prune!

      Similarly, I’d not be giving them any fertilizer.  They are adapted to our Central Texas Hill Country soils and a dosing of fertilizer is not necessary.  You’ve already opened up the plants to air and light, which is what they need.  In reviewing other websites out there, they were pretty uniform that Agarita is a great low-maintenance shrub and that pruning and fertilizer are not required.  The City of Austin publication and the Tree-folks websites are good examples of this.

  Interestingly, one of the more positive responses to pruning Agarita was from an earlier Mr Smarty Plants question!  However, this request was in regard to making a maze from native plants.  Mr Smarty Plants thought that the Agarita would tolerate pruning well – but – would not even consider pruning it as the plant would fight back!

 

More Shrubs Questions

Reason for decline of Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) in Virginia
March 30, 2007 - We have Wax Myrtle bushes in our back yard. They were about 2 feet tall when planted 2 years ago and now are about 7-8 feet tall. The leaves have turned brown and are dropping essentially denuding the...
view the full question and answer

Yellow-blossomed Shrub that Occurs in Arizona and Texas
May 08, 2012 - What is the name of the large shrubs you will see in Arizona with the bright yellow blossoms. They grow wild everywhere, and I also see them in the town. Could you please tell me the name of them, s...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrubs for full sun in North Carolina
October 21, 2009 - We need suggestions for native NC evergreen shrubs that will grow well in full sun for a school garden. Most of what I've found likes part shade. We need something that will not be over 10 feet or ca...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping for slope in Kansas City
October 08, 2008 - We have a down sloping back yard and patio on the lower area. We need some water absorbing plants near the foundation and some in the front of the house, where water isn't a problem. We are allergic ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for Salem IN
September 02, 2014 - We've recently had a new pond dug. It is on a hill side and has some very steep and tall banks. We were advised that our best chance of keeping soil from eroding was to plant fescue. I'm not thrille...
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