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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - November 08, 2006

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Winter trimming and shaping of native perennials
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Granted, it's a bit early, but for planning purposes: What is the best care for shrub-like woody perennials, like Lantana, Copper Canyon Daisy, Salvia greggii, Chile Pequin, Eupatorium wrightii, Pavonia? Cut back to the ground? Light shaping? Something in between?

ANSWER:

Something in between is the best plan. At the end of the growing season you can cut these particular plants back by 1/3 to 1/2. However, if there are any berries/fruit left on the plants, you might leave these for the wildlife and trim the plants a bit later—until all the fruits are gone or just before it is time for new growth to form.

 

More Pruning Questions

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
view the full question and answer

Need information about pruning Persimmon trees in Buda, TX.
November 29, 2010 - Mr. Smarty, We have many wild persimmon trees in our yard. Some I want prune to bush size. What is the best way to prune these trees and to what extent can they be safely pruned. Thank you for shari...
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native boxwood in Austin
October 03, 2011 - I have a large maze garden, possibly boxwood, originally planted in the 1950's, in Austin, Texas. About 1/3 of it has died out, probably due to drought, heat and age. Should I attempt to replant ju...
view the full question and answer

Pruning overgrown Texas sage
February 15, 2016 - Texas sage bushes have been left to grow like mini trees. Can we have trimmed back to get a 'full' bush? Bottom 2 feet of plant look so dead. Will it sprout again as a bush if trimmed back and do...
view the full question and answer

Repairing Previous Silver Maple Pruning Damage
May 09, 2015 - I cut a limb off my silver maple wrong and now the trunk is developing a hole. What is the best treatment?
view the full question and answer

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