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

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: Liberty Hill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Trees
Title: Trimming back freeze damage from Anacacho orchid in Liberty Hill TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

When is it safe to trim back what I think is dead wood on my Anacacho orchid trees (that were hit hard this past winter)? Is there any harm done if I cut back living wood?

ANSWER:

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) is not shown to be growing in this area of Central Texas on this USDA Plant Profile map, but rather south and west of here.

From the webpage on this plant in our Native Plant Database:

"Native Habitat: Canyons & arroyos in limestone hills. Known only from canyons and arroyos in limestone hills in Kinney, Presidio, and Gillespie or Llano counties. Well-drained sand, loam, limestone."

"Conditions Comments: Does best when planted on the south side of a building, protected from winter winds."

We know this tree can and does grow in Central Texas, but the whole state has had harsh weather this year. Since it is not native to this part of Texas and still rather rare, we have very little experience in its habits and problems. Don't try fertilizing, right now the roots are trying to recover from the cold and do not need to be prodded into new growth by the fertilizer. Spring-flowering shrubs bloom on last season's growth and should be pruned soon after they bloom. It could be that you will have to cut it back to the ground because of being frozen back, but you might as well give it time to show some life and not prune during hot weather, always a problem in Texas. Since you have suckers, you know the roots are alive. Make sure the roots are in a well-drained situation; like many desert plants, this one cannot tolerate wet feet. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

Bauhinia lunarioides

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Tree for a Missouri yard
March 10, 2012 - Our front yard tree died. We have landscaping that needs shade. We are in Zone 5, looking for a fast/medium growing shade tree that does not produce anything that falls into the grass and will allow t...
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to burn Cedar in a fireplace?
December 04, 2014 - Is it safe to burn Cedar in our fireplace? I'm trying to thin out the population of Ashe Junipers on my property in Spicewood Tx. to give the young Live Oaks a chance to compete for sunlight and w...
view the full question and answer

Anacacho orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) and the freeze in Austin
February 03, 2010 - I just wanted to say that your answer in today's Austin American-Statesman about recent freeze damage to Anacacho orchid trees was right on for ours as well. We're in north central Austin and all t...
view the full question and answer

Damage from Hurricane Irene in Burgaw, NC
August 27, 2011 - We live in Burgaw, NC and have begun the clean up efforts of Hurricane Irene which has made a full grown crape myrtle lean to one side. Its a very large tree and it is not uprooted. Is there anyway ...
view the full question and answer

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