Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Sun-scorched Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in south Central Texas 30 miles north of San Antonio. I am looking for a good evergreen hedge plant that once established will not die if I forget to water it a few days and is deer resistant. I would like something that grows fast provided I take care of it, but it has to be able to take the full sun for over 6 hours a day. I was thinking of Cherry Laurel Compacta but I bought a test plant and put it out in the sun and now the leaves are looking like they are being burned, and I am making sure it is not getting too dry. They had their Cherry Laurels under a tree at the nursery but they indicated they could take full sun but my test plant does not seem too happy with the change to full sun so far. Any suggestions on good privacy hedge for my area of Texas that the deer will not chew to the ground the first night they see them?

ANSWER:

Your test Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) likely got sun scorched because it had been growing in the shade.  Plants secrete a sort of sunscreen to protect the leaves from direct sun when they’re in a sunny location.  If they’re growing in the shade, they don’t produce the waxy coating.  This allows more light to penetrate to the leaves where it can be put to work in the photosynthetic process. 

Prunus caroliniana will grow in Comal County, but nearly all of the plants of this species we've seen in Central Texas have suffered from iron chlorosis.  That is, the foliage on Carolina Cherry-laurel around here is usually yellow and unattractive due to high soil pH.  So instead of an "evergreen" shrub, it'll likely be more of an "everyellow" plant.

Here are some other evergreen shrubs for Comal County that are reportedly deer resistant:

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel) moderately deer resistant

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) highly deer resistant

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) moderately deer resistant

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry) highly deer resistant

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita) highly deer resistant

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) moderately deer resistant

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) highly deer resistant


Prunus caroliniana

Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Mahonia swaseyi

Mahonia trifoliolata

Ilex vomitoria

Sophora secundiflora

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Why has my Kidneywood tree not put out leaves this year in Lockhart, TX?
July 06, 2010 - I have a native Kidneywood which I planted in 2003. It has grown enthusiastically since that time. It has always leafed late in the Spring, late April - mid - May. It bloomed several times in 2009. Th...
view the full question and answer

Are palm tree seeds toxic?
July 08, 2011 - Are palm tree seeds toxic to other plants? I have palm trees around my pool and it seems that nothing will grow very good where the old seeds are in the ground.
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees dropping leaves in clumps
December 08, 2009 - We have several large mature Live Oak trees in our Austin TX neighborhood. Now that the rains have come back and the acorns are falling, two of our four trees are also dropping large amounts of leave...
view the full question and answer

Non-toxic trees for cattle, horses and swine in Washington state.
December 04, 2015 - What non-toxic trees can be planted in cattle pastures in Central Washington? We also have horses and swine on the property.
view the full question and answer

Need a tree that grows only 15 feet tall in Hopewell, VA.
May 26, 2010 - We would like to landscape an area of our yard with a tree that grows no higher than 15 feet. This location receives full sun most of the day and we would prefer a drought tolerant species or one tha...
view the full question and answer

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