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

Wednesday - October 24, 2012

From: Bulverde, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Poisonous Plants, Shrubs
Title: Suitability of Carolina Cherry Laurel for Bulverde TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

The local Home Depot is selling Carolina Cherry Laurel Trees. They look beautiful. Is this a good tree for Bulverde TX..20 miles north of San Antonio? Can it survive? Will it be a high maintenance tree?

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Cherry Laurel grows natively in Travis County, just one county north of Comal County. We believe that is close enough that soils, rainfall and climate should certainly be favorable to this plant. If you will follow this plant link, Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel), to our webpage on that plant, you will get a good summary of information about this plant. 

For planning its use in a landscape, you might want to particularly take note of this:

"Warning: The seeds, twigs, and leaves of all Prunus species contain hydrocyanic acid and should never be eaten. Leaves of Prunus caroliniana are particularly high in this toxin."

If you have small children playing near this plant, or pets that like to chew things, this is something to consider, but at one time we had volunteer cherry laurels coming up in a landscape which we cultivated and pruned and never had a problem with toxicity.

From that same page, here are the Growing Conditions for that plant:

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, deep, loamy, well-drained soils. Clay Loam, Medium Loam, Sandy Loam, Sandy
Conditions Comments: Likes the moist, well-drained soils of its natural range. Prolonged saturation can cause root rot, particularly in clay soils. Shallow, nutrient-poor, rocky soils can cause chlorosis and heat stress."

In Central Texas soils the requirement of "well-drained" soils is nearly universal. Adding some compost to the soil when you return it to the hole dug for the plant can certainly help with that. We usually recommend waiting until cooler weather, like November to January, to transplant woody shrubs and trees, to help prevent transplant shock. Just one more thing to think about is that you should check to make sure the plant you purchase is not rootbound, from being too long in that pot. You can deal with it by root pruning; otherwise, the roots will just continue to circle around and around in the ground until they strangle the tree.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cherry laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Cherry laurel
Prunus caroliniana

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Death of Tecoma stans after heavy rain
July 21, 2008 - I had two esperanza plants. They have been planted for about four months, this spring. They were blooming and growing. We had six inches of rain in five days and they began to wilt - and then they d...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a bioswale in Baltimore
July 22, 2009 - What native plants would suit a bioswale in an urban part of Baltimore City? The clay soil gets waterlogged and the site has part shade.
view the full question and answer

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
view the full question and answer

Late planting plum tree from Lago Vista, TX
May 01, 2014 - I have two plum trees in plastic containers that I purchased in March. For a lot of reasons, we didn't get them planted. I have kept them alive by watering consistently, but I am now wondering what...
view the full question and answer

Seeding wildflowers in Dallas
June 30, 2009 - What is the best way to establish seed for wildflowers in Dallas, TX? The area does get some irrigation from rotors. Would hydromulch be the most effective option?
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