Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - May 12, 2015

From: Llano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Mountain Laurel suffering from Spring freeze
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a 4 1/2 ft Texas Mountain Laurel shrub in current location for several years. A hard freeze this spring killed every leaf on the tree, but the stems remained green. My other smaller Mt. Laurels are OK. We are in drouth all the time. What should I do to salvage the plant, if possible?

ANSWER:

Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a tough shrub that has adapted to live in the harsh Hill Country environment, and I’m surprised to hear that the leaves on one of your plants froze but the leaves on your other plants did not. Were they in similar locations? This link talks about cold hardiness, and the Cold Hardiness Map indicates that LLano County is in zone 8b.

The fact that the stems are still green could indicate that the plant is still alive. If it is, it should be putting out new growth soon. After it leafs out, you will probably want to do some careful pruning to maintain a pleasing shape for the tree. This guide from Purdue University should be helpful.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Pruning Questions

Pruning of Hamelia patens, Firebush
June 23, 2006 - I have a Hamelia Patens (Fire Bush) it says it will grow to 12 feet high and 5-6 feet across. Can I keep pruning it to about 5 feet without damaging the shrub?
view the full question and answer

Rose care for Austin
August 18, 2013 - I am a transplant from the Pacific NW and need to relearn rose care for Austin. When is the best time to cut back the roses, or do I even bother? I also need to find out how far back I can trimming a...
view the full question and answer

How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
April 28, 2011 - How do I prune a Texas Mountain Laurel into a tree? Just bought a 15 gal. with two trunks above the crown. Was told that multiple trunks are their natural growth, which is OK. But all research call...
view the full question and answer

Pruning the leaves of Sago Palm.
March 10, 2010 - Is it a cardinal sin to remove all the sago palm branches? This winter they were so badly scorched by the cold that hardly a frond went unaffected. So I cut them all off as I needed to get around the...
view the full question and answer

Hail damage to Cenizo in Austin
August 03, 2009 - We have some Texas sage Silverado. After the latest hail, they look very sad. If about the half of plant is OK and the other half looks dried/dead?, should we prune the dried half? Are they ever comin...
view the full question and answer

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