Pruning Texas Mountain Laurel

tom117(9a)May 18, 2010

I have never mastered bush pruning and need advice.

I have a single trunked 7' tall x 6' wide Texas mountain laurel that is leggy due, I think, to getting not quite enough sun and to my too cowardly clipping of 3 years ago.

It has several thin branches that extend nearly 3' before they bush out with several leafy sub-branches. You can see three years of growth on these branches. Near the trunk, they are woody for about a foot, then green/brown another foot, then new green in the final section before bushing out.

The branches presently droop badly due to weight of new leaves and the few seeds that are forming. It is not very appealing visually, but mostly I am worried that they will break under the weight.

It seems that to make the tree bushier closer to the trunk will require some very aggressive trimming tighter than I performed three years ago. This will just about denude the tree in its lower half.

I don't mind a year with a naked tree, if that's what will happen, but I don't want to permanently damage it. Maybe someone could give some general small tree pruning advice, and maybe someone can specifically tell me if most of the growth cycle is over for the year for a mountain laurel. I'm not concerned about loosing a blooming cycle next spring. It rarely blooms and never profusely, anyway.

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

There was a similar question a few weeks ago and it was answered on the link below.

I've found that Mountain Laurels will put out new growth whenever it is pruned during the growing season. I've never tried to calculate the right time to prune to keep it from blocking the side walk and the mailbox. I just do it when it needs it. It never seems to resent the pruning and bushes out fairly quickly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pruning Mountain Laurel ...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 1:50PM
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bt159_sbcglobal_net

We trimmed our mountauin laurel after it bloomed. It hasgrown and extra 2 to 3 feet since. The thing that has us baffled is it has put out some type of extra bloom or growth. The new growth looks like the shape of moose antlers or a stag horn fern. They are extensions of the branch alomost the same as new blooms. Could you eexplain what this growth is.
Thanks

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:48PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

The only different kind of growth I have are the buds for next years blooms. They are thin brown scaly looking things that stick out at the end of the branches, but I don't think they look like stag horn fern or moose antlers. I'm mystified. Can you take a picture?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:44PM
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steviewin

I too have the "stag horn" looking things on my tree. It's only 4 years old, but I don't remember having these things on it before. I don't know if it has anything to do with it, but my tree didn't bloom this year.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 6:47PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Well, you'll have blooms next year because if the 'stag horn' looking things look like this they are the buds :-)

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 8:06PM
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steviewin

What we're talking about (staghorn like feature) is different than your photo. I had a lot of the new growth (like your picture) on my tree this year.
I took a photo of the odd growth and was going to upload it here, but after reading instructions, I just gave up, overwhelmed by the process. I guess I'm getting as old as my kids say I am! If you can give me specific instructions on how to upload it I will.
I'm still curious...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 1:54AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I never could figure out how to post pictures with the instructions GW gives. Plus the pictures are really small when you post them that way.

Most of us use an online photo storage site like Photobucket.com. Just open an account; it's free. Upload your picture, save it, and then click the HTML code (third one down) under the photo; this automatically copies it.

Paste the code into the Garden Web message box and when you preview the message the photo has 'magically' appeared. Click submit and we can all see it.

I'm very curious to see to growth you and the other poster mentioned. If you need further clarification about Photobucket let us know.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 11:01AM
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steviewin

Thank you so much for the help posting a picture!! I really appreciate it!
So, here goes.....

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 2:21PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Wow - interesting! I think that's a Siamese-septuplet, very misshapen, flower bud which is going to make one terrific bunch of flowers. I don't know what would cause that, but watch it and let us know next spring.

Anyone else seen this?

    Bookmark   June 21, 2011 at 2:38PM
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cam76034(ncentraltexas)

Mine are doing the same thing. I have little experience with Mountain Laurel, last year I pruned off these parts that flower the following year. As for the antler shapes, I was also looking for an answer and ended up here. I wonder if the extreme heat or drought might have something to do with it?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 12:10PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I hope those with the wide misshapen Texas mountain laurel flower buds will see this and let us know what the blooms turned out to look like. Pictures would be especially nice.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 5:38PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I hope those with the wide misshapen Texas mountain laurel flower buds will see this and let us know what the blooms turned out to look like. Pictures would be especially nice.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 5:55PM
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tom117(9a)

I have a night blooming jasmine that puts out a branch or two every year that has that interesting very flat shape. It blooms as well as the other limbs.

Back to Texas Mountain Laurels: I did prune mine in summer 2010 to remove the leggy falling over limbs. It has a much better shape, now, and is blooming profusely for the first time is years. Mine does not get much sun and usually has only a couple of small blooms. I wonder if the drought helped it. But I know much of its root zone was watered by my neighbor's sprinkler system (it's almost on the property line), and they didn't change their watering habits.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2012 at 6:37PM
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NolaCherie

The staghorn growth is called fasciation, an anomaly that Mountain Laurels seem especially susceptible to. Here's en explanation:

http://www.wildflower.org/mobile/expert/show.php?id=8841

Here is a link that might be useful: Fasciation of Mountain Laurel

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:06PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

NolaCherie, thanks for the fascinating information! ;-)

Fascination it is,

Has anyone observed whether blooms occur on the 'fascinated' buds and what they look like?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 2:36PM
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jolanaweb

I'm coming out of the dark for this. Gardening is truly amazing, lol

Here is a link that might be useful: Fascinating bloom

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:43PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Wow Jolana! Welcome back! You are the world's best finder of fascinating facts! This time it's literal ... LOL

Fond thanks for finding the foto!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:00AM
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jolanaweb

Hi Roselee, thanks.
Literally! LOL The nice link NolaCherie supplied has the fascinated bluebonnet that I would love to see

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:19AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

There she is....................now that Jolana is back, we can have ALL our questions answered..........boy, have we missed you.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 7:47AM
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jolanaweb

You silly girls, I wish I knew just a pinch of what you two know.
The first time I saw this, no one could tell me about it and it was long before digital cameras and internet for all, lol

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:42AM
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