Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Thursday - March 22, 2012

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Shrubs
Title: Mountain laurel planting over Frederickburg limestone
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We have rocky limestone shelves on our property. We want to plant a mountain laurel. Are the roots strong enough to break through the limestone or should we try to find another location? The limestone is about 14-16 inches under regular soil.

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thinks your chances of the Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel) rooting and thriving over a limestone shelf are pretty good.  The plant record has that "It is drought-tolerant, prefers rocky limestone soil, and is native from Central Texas west to New Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico."  Even in shelves, the limestone tends to have cracks, holes or separations and the Texas mountain laurel roots are adapted to find and penetrate these opportunities.    14-16 inches of soil is quite a bit when compared the pure rocky soil of the Hill Country where they are known to thrive.  This write-up in a Aggie Horticulture record has similar comments.

  To that end, here are previous Mr Smarty Plants answers where Mountain laurel was recommended for a shrub in Frederickburg and as a candidate as a screen plant in Comfort.

I'd give it a try!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

More Shrubs Questions

Is cenizo (Leucophyllum frutescens) edible?
December 21, 2012 - I found a post here about cenizo leaves being used for tea, but I'm wondering if the leaves of the cenizo are edible? I have found many recipes for 'brown butter sage' leaves (sauteed often with on...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a children's playground
April 20, 2015 - We have extensive native gardens on our 2 acre property, but my children want a garden of their own with plants they can hide under and that are good for imaginative play. Are there any native plants...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs that can be pruned to shape in Austin, TX
March 31, 2008 - We have some shrubs in our NE facing front yard in Austin in the Steiner Ranch Area. The shrubs are native, and give good flowers in spring and summer, but are not trimmable and I want something like ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Texas Mountain Laurel to transplant to Dallas
August 29, 2012 - My daughter would like to incorporate a tree planting ceremony in her wedding in Texas. The seedling would be planted in a pot for a few years and later transplanted in a yard when they buy a home. Wo...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping trees and shrubs non-toxic to dogs from Monticello FL
March 08, 2013 - We're landscaping and need advice on large and small evergreen trees and shrubs that are native to or will flourish in North Florida. We plan to put in a treeline (large and semi-large trees) as wel...
view the full question and answer

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