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
2 ratings

Thursday - January 27, 2005

From: Cibolo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: Late winter pruning of native Texas Sage
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have several Texas Sage bushes that have started to get very woody and have growth only on the top. This seems to have led to a definite listing to one side. Should I trim these to the ground or tear them up? They have managed to lean over and kill all the smaller bushes around them. When should I do what ever I should do? We live in the San Antonio area.

ANSWER:

Texas sage, or cenizo, (Leucophyllum frutescens) tends to get leggy in cultivation, especially if it is growing in the shade. The most likely reason it is leaning is that it is growing towards the direction of the most sunlight. Late winter is the best time to prune it and it sounds as if it would benefit from a severe cutback. Even with an extreme pruning it will probably survive and sprout again and you can then tip prune to keep its shape and size in check. Also, it should be watered only sparingly and it should not be fertilized. Should it not survive the severe pruning, you might consider replacing it with one of the dwarf varieties, such as 'Silverado'(tm).

You can read about the Texas sage in the Native Plants Database on the Wildflower Center web page. Select "Growing Conditions" from the menu at the top of that page to read more about maintaining your Texas sage.

 

More Pruning Questions

Removing Center Stem From Desert Spoon (Sotol) in Phoenix
March 11, 2016 - I have a desert spoon. I hate the center stem. Can I remove the center stem without hurting the rest of the plant? And what is the best way to remove it? I looked for this answer in your questions bu...
view the full question and answer

Bumelia sending up shoots in Austin
November 28, 2010 - I have a bumelia that is sending up shooters everywhere in my yard. Everywhere!! I started to dig them up, but many come from deep roots and my digging seems to have encouraged the tree to send up m...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on possumhaw holly in Grandview TX
July 02, 2009 - What would be likely causes for brown leaves on possumhaw holly? We have 2, one was planted in spring 2008, and a slightly larger one planted late winter/early spring this year. Most of the leaves a...
view the full question and answer

Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
July 10, 2009 - Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

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