Trees benefit us in countless ways on a personal level and as a society:
Despite these gifts to our world, there's a lack of awareness of the urban forest. Trees are often overlooked until there is a significant problem. Learning about trees will help you appreciate the existing trees on your property. And you'll select and plant trees that are more appropriate for the site and conditions.
Tree Selection. A large number of native or adapted trees are suitable for planting in Central Texas. Many nurseries carry only the most common species or varieties. Shop at two or three locations, especially locally-owned businesses, to find a better selection of trees and species for your planting site.
Choose from shade trees, ornamentals (flowering), evergreens, fruit/nut, and under-story plants. The more variety in species, size, and age of plants, the healthier your landscape and the state of our urban forest will be.
For a list of resources and/or common tree species, refer to the Native Plant Society of Texas-Austin chapter website at http://npsot.org/Austin/ and the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center plant database found at http://wildflower.org/plants/.
Planting trees. The rule is: “Never dig a $5 hole for a $50 tree.” This means you should prepare a hole that is appropriate for the long-term health and vigor of the plant.
Planting holes should be no deeper than the container or root ball the tree arrived in. (A shovel handle laid across the planting hole of a newly planted tree should lie flat—indicating the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding ground.)
Also, the hole should be dug two to three times wider than the root ball to allow for lateral root growth. Always reuse the soil that came out of the hole to back-fill when planting. Note that a small amount of organic material such as com-post may be mixed in the top two inches of soil.
Newly planted trees should always be well-watered. If we are not receiving adequate rainfall, add enough water to soak the root ball and surrounding soil once a week for the first 1-1/2 years.
If necessary, new trees may be staked to temporarily lend support. Be sure to remove the stakes after the first year.
MAJOR SHADE TREES
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muhlenbergii)
American Elm (Ulmus americana)
Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)
Western Soapberry (Sapindus drummondii)
Monterey Oak (Quercus polymorpha)
Pecan (Carya illinoensis)
Escarpment Black Cherry
Anaqua (Ehretia anacua)
Texas Ash (Fraxinus texensis)
Mexican Ash (Fraxinus berlandieriana)
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Sabal Palm (Sabal texana)
Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliniana)
Arizona Cypress (Cupressus arizonica)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Bois D’Arc (Maclura pomifera)
*Live Oak (Quercus fusiforma and quercus virginiana)
*Spanish Oak (Quercus buckleyi)
*Red Oak (Quercus shumardii)
*Note: Members of the red oak family are highly susceptible to contracting Oak Wilt disease.
SMALLER ORNAMENTAL TREES
Lacey Oak (Quercus laceyii)
Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)
Carolina Buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana)
Anacacho Orchid (Bauhinia congesta)
Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis)
Eve's Necklace (Sophora affinis)
Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Possumhaw Holly (Ilex deciduous)
Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)
Texas Pistachio (Pistacia texana)