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How to Care for Texas Mountain Laurel

By Megan Mattingly-Arthur
Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Texas mountain laurel, known botanically as Sophora secundiflora, is an ornamental evergreen tree that is native to North America. The tree is prized for its drought-resistance and glossy, dark-green foliage. In the spring, Texas mountain laurel puts on a show for the senses with its pendulous clusters of fragrant purple flowers. Despite its lavish beauty, caring for your Texas mountain laurel is simple.

Water Texas mountain laurel trees infrequently to prevent the soil around them from drying out completely. Provide the trees with 1 inch of supplemental irrigation in the absence of rain for three or more weeks. Texas mountain laurel trees usually perform best when watered just once a month.

Fertilize the plant twice each growing season to ensure a growth rate of up to 2 feet per year. Apply the first fertilizer application in the early spring, before new growth is observed; apply the second fertilizer application in the early summer. For best results, fertilize the tree with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer according to label directions.

Monitor Texas mountain laurel trees for problems with common insect pests such as borers and Uresiphita reversalis caterpillars. Treat affected trees with an insecticidal spray if necessary to restore their health. Contact your local agricultural extension office for additional prevention and treatment information.

Prune your Texas mountain laurel trees only when it is necessary to remove diseased, damaged or dead branches and foliage. Use a pair of sharpened and sterilized pruning shears or loppers to make a clean pruning cut just outside of the branch's collar.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Garden hose
  • Balanced, water-soluble fertilizer
  • Insecticidal spray (if needed)
  • Pruning shears or loppers

Tip

  • Start a new Texas mountain laurel tree from seed. Collect the seedpods when they fall from your tree. Nick the seeds with a nail file and soak them in water for 24 hours before planting them in a prepared planting location. Note that it may take up to a year for the seeds to germinate and sprout.

Warning

  • Texas mountain laurels produce seedpods that contain poisonous red berries, which can cause hallucinations when ingested.

About the Author

 

Megan Mattingly-Arthur has been writing professionally since 1998. She has contributed to various publications, including "Teen Voices" and "Positive Teens" magazines, as well as a book, "The Young Writer's Guide to Getting Published." Mattingly-Arthur is studying travel and tourism through Penn Foster Career School.