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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

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