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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.

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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 - January 24, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late winter or should I wait until after it blooms in the spring - April? I also want to prune my Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) so that it has a tree shape (vs. large shrub). Is it ok to prune now or should I wait until after it blooms in the spring? Thanks!

ANSWER:

We often get questions about pruning, and they generally fall into three categories; why do I prune?  how do I prune? and when do I prune? This link to Aggie-horticulture provides good answers to all three categories.  Pruning now will give you fewer blooms to enjoy this spring, so you might want to wait until flowering is past.

We get a lot of questions about Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel), so I’m going to refer you to two previously answered questions that address pruning issues as well as having good general  information about this popular plant.

#23941

#4377

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

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