En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX

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

Wednesday - August 29, 2012

From: Sunrise Beach, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Shrubs
Title: Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods have been bored into and have turned dark. I did plant them according to directions but have forgotten details now and until now they have been healthy. We water them occasionally, mostly allowing them to live on what rain we get at this age. What could be wrong? I have photographed them if there is a way to email you photos.

ANSWER:

We are sorry, but we are no longer able to accept pictures.  You can go to our Plant Identification page which has links to several websites that do accept pictures; you may be able to get more information from that.

However, since Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a plant that is native to the area of Llano County, according to this USDA Plant Profile Map, we can assume that the  soils where you have planted the tree are hospitable to it. And since it is four or five years old, we can be fairly confident that you planted it with provisions for good drainage. If you follow this plant link, Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), to our webpage, you can study the Growing Conditions and Propagation Instructions to make sure everything is as it should be, although it sounds as though you are giving it good care.

So, we have to go looking for some pest or disease that may be causing your problems. Most of the references we found assured us the Mountain Laurel was subject to few problems; don't you hate when they say that and you KNOW there is something? One site, Texas A&M Integrated Pest Management,  has an article Genista Caterpillar on Texas Mountain Laurel, which includes suggestions on management.

In a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on Mountain Laurel, we discussed the possibility of chlorosis, or loss of chlorophyll, in the leaves of the same plant.  Please follow that link and note that we recommended the addition of an iron supplement to the soil because of the difficulty a plant can experience in extracting nitrogen from an alkaline soil. Also, consider our suggestion for adding a shredded bark mulch over the roots of the tree, which will both protect the roots from heat and cold but, as it decomposes, amend the drainage in the soil.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Texas sage near a granite outcropping from Llano TX
June 10, 2013 - I have a large granite outcropping near my house. There are pockets that have spring flowers growing in them and is just beautiful in the spring. I want to plant other native plants in and about the g...
view the full question and answer

Windbreak [Dustbreak] for Shelton, WA
May 31, 2013 - I live on a well traveled, dusty, gravel road in the Pacific North West and would like to plant a barrier to help control the dust.
view the full question and answer

Xeriscaping in clay on a slope in Fort Worth
April 06, 2006 - Xeriscaping in clay (Fort Worth) on a slope -- Please offer suggestions and publications. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and shrubs for Houston project
November 21, 2008 - I am working on a project in Houston. As part of the sustainable approach of the project, I would like to plant native / adaptive, non-invasive grasses and shrubs. It is key that they use little wat...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Long Beach, NY.
August 10, 2011 - I have recently added 1500sq.ft. to my backyard. My backyard faces a busy road. I would like to place native trees and bushes along the fence for added privacy, shade and to protect my house from the...
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