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

Sunday - August 19, 2012

From: Utopia, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Pruning Texas madrone trees from Utopia TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a number of large Texas Madrone trees on my ranch in Utopia Texas. A few of them have dead limbs and I was wondering whether I should cut off the dead limbs or just leave the tree alone. I want to protect the tree at all costs. Thanks

ANSWER:

You are very fortunate to have Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone) growing natively on your property. Probably one reason, as this USDA Plant Profile Map shows, is that it is native to Uvalde County. Follow our plant link above to read our webpage on the Texas Madrone.

From the webpage:

"Conditions Comments: One of the most interesting and beautiful native trees of Texas, but temperamental to propagate or grow. Propagation requirements are complex, and it is very difficult to transplant successfully from the wild. In the landscape, it grows best in well-drained areas."

Since this member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has no personal experience with the care of this tree, we went looking on the Internet for some more information.

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants Answer

From the USDA Forest Service, here is an article on the Texas Madrone.

From the Texas A&M Native Plant Database: Texas Madrone

None of these sources yielded any information about pruning. Frankly, we think you would be more comfortable if you could bring in a  certified arborist, with some experience with this tree. Go to our National Suppliers Directory, and enter your town and state or zipcode in the "Enter Search Location" box. This will produce a list of native plant seed companies, nurseries and consultants in your general area. All have contact information, so you can check with arborists on their licensing and experience with the Arbutus xalapensis (Texas madrone).

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

More Trees Questions

Control of Juniperus ashei
August 08, 2007 - We have just purchased 2 acres in Burnet County at an elevation of 1604 feet above sea level. The land is almost flat, bedrock, with lots of Juniper, Cactus Apple and between these plants grasses and...
view the full question and answer

Distance for Escarpment oak to house from Lewisville TX
August 22, 2010 - I am planting an Escarpment Live Oak about 15' from my house. Thats as far away as I can plant it. Will this be a safe distance? How large will it be in 20 years?
view the full question and answer

Cherry Laurel for North Central Texas
May 16, 2010 - I want a small evergreen tree (approx 20'x 15')and would like to plant a Cherry Laurel. Would this be a good choice in North Central Texas (DFW area)? If not, any suggestions? Thank You.
view the full question and answer

Pin Oak Dropping Leaves Early
December 17, 2015 - I have a large pin oak that's losing it's leaves at this time. Is this too early? I have been watering the tree during the hot, dry weather and overall the tree looks healthy and has a good crop of ...
view the full question and answer

Probably non-native crapemyrtle trees damaged by hurricane
January 15, 2009 - I have 5 crape myrtle trees. I live in Galveston, Tx and when Hurricane Ike came through in September the salt water I think killed them. They have not come back since then and are brown with no leave...
view the full question and answer

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