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

Sunday - August 19, 2012

From: Utopia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Pruning Texas madrone trees from Utopia TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a number of large Texas Madrone trees on my ranch in Utopia Texas. A few of them have dead limbs and I was wondering whether I should cut off the dead limbs or just leave the tree alone. I want to protect the tree at all costs. Thanks

ANSWER:

You are very fortunate to have Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone) growing natively on your property. Probably one reason, as this USDA Plant Profile Map shows, is that it is native to Uvalde County. Follow our plant link above to read our webpage on the Texas Madrone.

From the webpage:

"Conditions Comments: One of the most interesting and beautiful native trees of Texas, but temperamental to propagate or grow. Propagation requirements are complex, and it is very difficult to transplant successfully from the wild. In the landscape, it grows best in well-drained areas."

Since this member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has no personal experience with the care of this tree, we went looking on the Internet for some more information.

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants Answer

From the USDA Forest Service, here is an article on the Texas Madrone.

From the Texas A&M Native Plant Database: Texas Madrone

None of these sources yielded any information about pruning. Frankly, we think you would be more comfortable if you could bring in a  certified arborist, with some experience with this tree. Go to our National Suppliers Directory, and enter your town and state or zipcode in the "Enter Search Location" box. This will produce a list of native plant seed companies, nurseries and consultants in your general area. All have contact information, so you can check with arborists on their licensing and experience with the Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone).

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

More Trees Questions

Could hickory leaves be used as seasoning from Waynesboro VA
September 17, 2011 - I have a hickory tree. If I pull a leaf off and rip it then smell, there is a strong wonderful scent of hickory much like when I rip a mint leaf there is a strong smell of mint. So my question is, can...
view the full question and answer

Need a Replacement for Chinese Tallow tree in Austin, TX
November 26, 2014 - I live in Austin and have a large Chinese Tallow in my front yard. I would like to cut the tree down, but it provides shade to my home. I was hoping to start growing a native fruit/nut tree near the C...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
January 31, 2011 - What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Understory trees for large trees in Austin
October 18, 2010 - I'm blessed with some beautiful large live oaks, burr oaks, and cedar elms in my front yard in southwest Austin. I'd like to plant some understory trees among them. The trees would get dappled lig...
view the full question and answer

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