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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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Thursday - April 28, 2011

From: Henderson, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs
Title: How to Prune a Mountain Laurel to make it more tree like in Hendersen, NV
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

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 called it a "shrub" with no pruning instructions for encouraging/training it to become a TREE. Thanks

ANSWER:

Texas Mountain Laurel in Hendersen, Nevada...hmmmm??

The Texas Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) is a popular native evergreen (in Texas) that is described as a multi-trunked shrub or small tree that can range in size from a few feet to over 30 ft tall. This USDA distribution map shows it growing natively only in Texas and New Mexico. However, it is a tough plant  whose growth requirements include full sun to part shade, dry, rocky, well drained, preferably calcareous soil with a pH >7.2. Drainage and pH are critical. If these needs are met, it may survive.
As to making it look like a tree, I received a similar question earlier this year, so I’m providing a link to this previous answer.

Here is a link regarding general care.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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