Texas Trees:  The Most Important Landscaping Decision and Action

Planting trees is the most important landscape decision you will make. They can reduce your power bills, increase the value of your home and beautify your neighborhood. Find out which trees are best ..(besides oaks ... they are ALL good).

Planting trees is the most important landscape decision you will make. They can reduce your power bills, increase the value of your home and beautify your neighborhood. Find out which trees are best for your landscape design … (besides oaks … because all oaks are good oaks).




These cedars and magnolia are about 25 years old.

These cedars and magnolia are about 25 years old.  The best time to take a good hard look at how large your landscaping choices will become vis-a-vis structures and other landscaping elements is when you plant them.   I advise homeowners to flatten out a large cardboard box and place it where the new small plant will be planted.  That way you can really see how much space the tree will require when mature.

That being said, I have with success moved 40 foot crapes in the winter.  This was done with close supervision, digging well beyond the drip line and digging deep.  Also by very well preparing the soil in their new location.  Still … the best time is before you plant.  Do you think that possibly the cedars against the home should have been planted out about three more feet?  The magnolias are perfectly placed.

These Live Oaks were obviously planted by the homeowner and are about 25 years old.

These Live Oaks were obviously planted by the homeowner and are about 25 years old. That is the most important landscaping decision they made and in my opinion, the wisest.  Check out the crape myrtles on the right!  No one has topped these and I will photograph them when they bloom next.

These cedars are about 20 years old. I love the barberry that has been allowed to grow naturally and has not been sheared.

These cedars are about 20 years old. I love the barberry that has been allowed to grow naturally and has not been sheared.  The nandina are a good compliment.  I cannot wait to see what they plant in front of the beautiful natural barberry and nandina.

My Fundamental Gardening Tools


Magnolia about 20 years old.

Magnolia about 20 years old.

Cedar about 20 years old.

Cedar about 20 years old.

 I would kindly and respectfully ask that you join me in preserving the health of our planet and recognize the reality and impact of climate change for the next generations.

Support the Sierra Club:  http://www.sierraclub.org/

Bur Oak, Quercus marcocarpa, is one of the largest and longest-lived hardwood trees reaching a mature height of 50 to 80 feet and a crown spread of 40 to 60 feet.
Bur Oak, Quercus marcocarpa, is one of the largest and longest-lived hardwood trees reaching a mature height of 50 to 80 feet and a crown spread of 40 to 60 feet.  Once I had a yard with three three hundred year old Bur Oaks and I lost two of them.  I was sad.

Aspidistra Cast Iron Plant Texas Shade Perennial

Aspidistra or Cast Iron Plant with a Live Oak. A bit out of favor but I love it. The classic combination for mature oaks but you probably already know that if you have mature Live or Burr Oaks.

The magnolia has become one of the most popular trees in Dallas. This is Brackens Brown Beauty but it is not for the impatient! It may take ten years to bloom.

The magnolia has become one of the most popular trees in Dallas. This is Brackens Brown Beauty but it is not for the impatient! It may take ten years to bloom. It has what I consider to be essential to a magnolia, the brown fuzzy underside (which Little Gem and Teddy Bear do not have — Teddy Bear is just a smaller Little Gem with larger flowers).

Deep Watering Devices for Trees

It is crucial to water and feed your trees until they are established, the first two or three years.  Here are some deep watering devices for trees that I have used and recommend.

Crape Myrtles:  Texas Workhorse

Pink Velour Crape Myrtle

  Pink Velour Crape Myrtle

Tonto

Tonto, a small crape reaching roughly ten feet maximum

Tonto, a small crape reaching roughly ten feet maximum

Centennial Spirit

Centennial Spirit, the most magnificent Texas crape myrtle

Centennial Spirit, the most magnificent Texas crape myrtle.

Fantasy White Crape Myrtle

FantasyWhiteCrapeMyrtles

Fantasy White Crape Myrtles one of the largest crapes.

 Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
 
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
 
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
 

In the fifth grade we had to learn 100 lines of poetry and this poem was mandatory.  Thank you Mrs. Crowder, one of my favorite teachers.  The had thick wavey brown hair that was dyed, braided and pulled on top of her head.  She wore floral dusters usually in golden and brown tones to protect her clothes from the chalk dust.  She was energetic and fair.

One time I was invited to her home.  In her ‘den’ a bank of window were opened to shrubs outside.  There in the tall nandinas was a birds nest filled with baby birds.  On the dark stained fire place were what seemed like hundreds of brass candlesticks.  In retrospect I am sure there were no more than 25.  I loved Mrs. Crowder, a fine lady.

World Collection Park

Purple Crape Myrtle Grove
Lovely grouping of dwarf crape myrtles at the World Collection Park. Good substitute for hard hit Texas roses with Rose Rosette disease.

Texas A&M Crape Myrtle SuperStar(TM)

Basham’s Party Pink has been named a Texas A&M SuperStar. The purple Vitex Tree had already been named a SuperStar. The problem with naming a crape myrtle a SuperStar for Texas is that virtually ALL crapes are “super stars” in Texas. Our weather, hot and dry, short winters, is ideal for all crapes. This is
one SuperStar that has little meaning, unlike so many others which recognized legitimate breakthroughs for Texas such as Basket of Gold Columbine. Pictured below is Basham’s Party Pink blooming along side the Texas Vitex tree.

The irrefutable proof that crape myrtles are Texas hardy and Texas friendly is found in the crape below. Its trunk is damaged from repeated careless weed eaters, it is located in a parking median at a building abandoned for at least five years and yet with no water, no fertilizer and no care, this little crape is a powerhouse bloomer!
Crape Myrtle 2016

Arapaho Crape Myrtles

Lovely crape myrtle alley with Arapaho crapes

Lovely crape myrtle alley with Arapaho crapes

Texas Lavender Vitex Tree

Texas Lilac Vitex Tree
This is a Texas A&M pick and gaining in popularity in Texas.  It can be cut to the ground each year and used as a shrub or allowed to grow into a tree.
Read more about the Texas Lavender Vitex Tree here …

Chitalpa

Chitalp Tree - Morning Cloud

The Chiltalpa is a cross between the native Desert Willow (which is a poisonous tree) and the Catalpa tree.  See the Catalpa tree below.

Chitalpa Tree Pink Flowers of Morning Cloud

Chitalpa:  Morning Cloud.
Read more about poisonous plants here …
Read more about planting native Texas plants here …

Smoke Tree:  Pink Champagne

  Smoke Tree - Dallas Landscaping Lee Ann Torrans
Smoke Tree - Dallas Landscaping and Gardening Lee Ann Torrans
Purple Smoke Tree

Hardy Hibiscus

Hardy Hibiscus
Hardy Hibiscus is often grown as a substitute flowering tree.

Hardy Hibiscus Shrub Dallas

Hardy Hibiscus

Read more about the hardy hibiscus and the althea tree here.

Purple Flowering Althea Tree

The althea can be shaped into a single trunked tree or multi-trunked tree.
Read more about the althea tree here.

Althea Purple Flowering Shrub

Althea Pruned into single trunk tree.

Althea Tree also known as Rose of Sharon pruned into a tree.

Double_Altheas_Arboretum_Lee_Ann_Torrans-2

Fireworks, a Double Althea left as a shrub.

Fireworks is a double althea.   This is how an althea not pruned into a tree looks.

Read more here.

Viburnum

Viburnum is often considered to be a shrub but it can grow tree size, 30 feet and more.
Snowball Viburnum blooming shrub / Tree for Texas

Snowball Viburnum blooming shrub / Tree for Texas

Snowball Viburnum blooming shrub / Tree for Texas

Snowball Viburnum blooming shrub / Tree for Texas

Flowering Tree Texas White Bloom Yellow Center Shade

Flowering Tree Texas White Bloom Yellow Center Shade

Texas-Blooming-Tree-White-Petals-Yellow-Center (1 of 1)

Texas-Blooming-Tree-White-Petals-Yellow-Center- Dogwood-Four Petals

Below is a climbing rose that blooms in March / April.  Above is a Dogwood that blooms in March and April.  Wouldn’t these two be lovely, lovely together?
 

White climbing rose with yellow center. March / April Texas bloomer.

White climbing rose with yellow center. March / April Texas bloomer.  Five petals.

The Japanese Maple – A World of Its Own!

Read about the Top Ten Japanese Maples  Here.

This is the Crimson Queen.  A dwarf Japanese Maple with deeply cut leaves.

Laceleaf Japanese Maple

Crimson Queen Laceleaf Japanese Maple

Acer japonicum ‘Vitifolium‘.  This is  larger Japanese Maple.  The leaves are not deeply cut and the tree grows to 20 or 30 feet.
There are many decision to be made prior to purchasing a Japanese Maple.

Read about Japanese Maples here …

Acer japonicum 'Vitifolium'
Japanese Maple Landscape Design Dallas Texas
Red Emperor or Emperor One Japanese Maple
Japanese Maple Landscape Design Dallas Texas

Dwarf Japanese Maples used as shrubs are very common.

 

Dwarf Japanese Maples used as shrubs are very common.

Dwarf Japanese Maples used as shrubs are very common.

Skeeters Broom Japanese Maple

Skeeters Broom Japanese Maple

  Golden Full Moon Japanese Maple grow five to seven feet.  Acer shirasawanum ‘Aureum’ – I doubt it was an ‘accident’ this beautiful tree was planted to capture the western sun, setting its colors on fire!

Golden Ember Japanese Maple

Golden Ember Japanese Maple

Blood Good Japanese Maples

Blood Good Japanese Maple

Blood Good a deep red Japanese Maple

 Read more about Japanese Maples here.
 

Twilight Purple Crape Myrtle

Twilight Crape Myrtle - Darkest Purple Large Crape Myrtle

Twilight Crape Myrtle – Darkest Purple Large Crape Myrtle

 Muskogee Lavender Crape Myrtle

Muskogee Crape Myrtle

Muskogee Crape Myrtle – a pale lavender.

Read more about purple Crape Myrtles here …

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

Natchez White Crape Myrtles a prolific bloomer than can reach 15 to 20 feet.  Read more here.

Natchez White Crape Myrtle

Natchez White Crape Myrtle grows 15 to 20 feet.

Read more about white crape myrtles here …

Fantasy Crape Myrtle

Fantasy Crape Myrtle is the largest of the white crapes reaching over 30 feet. Not as prolific a bloomer as Natchez.

Fantasy Crape Myrtle

Fantasy Crape Myrtle reaches over 30 feet but not a strong bloomer unless vigorously fertilized.

 Tuscarora

 The most popular crape myrtle in Texas with the largest, fluffiest pannicles and longest bloom time.  Read an honest Tuscarora evaluation …

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle

Tuscarora Crape Myrtle


Bradford Pears

 Much better alternative to the trouble ridden Bradford Pear.  Read more here.

Bradford_Pear_Dallas_October

Fall Bradford Pear

Dogwood Trees

Dogwood_White_Texas_Lee_Ann_Torrans-3
 A dogwood tree is known as an ‘understory’ tree — especially in Texas.  The more delicate dogwood tree needs the sun protection from the shade of larger trees.  Typically a dogwood reaches 15 to 25 feet and 30 to 40 feet in some environments.
 The dogwood tree is an early bloomer in Texas, blooming with azaleas and a bit after the early daffodils.   It blooms simultaneously with the Lady Banks Lutea Rose and Confederate Jasmine.  The blooms last 2 to 4 weeks depending on the weather. Dianthus typically bloom just as the dogwood is losing its blooms and fading into a delicate green foliage which will turn deeper green.
 Upright Branching Dogwood with larger flowers.
  Dogwoods-Dallas

 

Azaleas_Dogwood_Dallas_April

Pink Dog Wood

Pink Dogwood in Texas
Pink_Dogwood_Texas_Lee_Ann_Torrans-2

Forest Pansy Redbud Tree

More on the Redbud Tree Here.

Forest Pansy Redbud

Forest Pansy Redbud

Forest Pansy Redbud

Forest Pansy Redbud Year Two!

‘Forest Pansy’ is a purple-leaved cultivar of the popular Missouri native red bud tree. Fall color is generally reddish-purple and orange.
Forest Pansy Redbud Tree

 Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud Tree

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud Tree

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud Tree

Ruby Falls Weeping Japanese Maple Top Texas Tree

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud Tree

Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud Tree more on the Redbud Tree Here

Oklahoma Redbud

More on the Redbud Tree Here

The Red Bud is an old, old Texas favorite.  The Oklahoma Red Bud is a much improved version!  Its leaves are waxy, its buds are closer and thicker, its shape is arching.  This is a understory tree.   I love the Red Bud, and who does not, the Oklahoma Red Bud is a super charged version. This Red Bud is in its prime in mid-March.   The Oklahoma Redbud tree, Cercis reniformis was discovered growing wild in the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma in 1964. It typically grows to 12-18′ tall.    The Texas Flowering Trees have expanded in scope and quality.
 The heart-shaped leaves open soft pink but gradually mature to a glossy rich green. Oklahoma redbud trees have fall color that is variable, but often includes attractive shades of reddish-purple and orange.
 There is absolutely no reason to plant the ‘original’ Red Bud, with the Oklahoma Red Bud out there!  The color is the bud is deeper, the tree is sturdier, the leaves are deeper and glossier.  This tree blooms before the dogwood, so if you are searching to extend your spring tree flowering impact, plant BOTH!

Oklahoma Redbud Tree Mid-March Dallas

Oklahoma Redbud Tree Mid-March Dallas

Oklahoma Redbud

Oklahoma Redbud

Standard Red Bud Tree in bloom.  

Its colors are not as intense, the bark is not as deeply colored in a rose hue, and the blooms are not as dense. Still, it is a lovely, lovely understory tree with beautiful foliage to follow the blooms and lovely fall color.

Standard Red Bud Tree

Standard Red Bud Tree

Catalpa Tree

Catalpa Tree in Dallas Landscape Garden Design

Catalpa Tree in Dallas Landscape Garden Design.  The Catalpa is the father of the very popular Chitalpa.   Chitalpa is a cross between the Dessert Willow and the Catalpa.  It blooms in April.

Desert Willow a Poisonous Plant

Desert Willow – Native Texas Plant. This tree is claimed to be poisonous.

Catalpa Tree Blooms in April in Texas

Catalpa Tree Blooms in April in Texas

Chitalpa Tree Pink Flowers of Morning Cloud

Chitalpa can be purchased with either pink or white flowers. None other as far as I know.

American Holly

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

American Holly in Texas Mid-March

The American Holly The American Holly is incredibly hardy.  Its berries spring forth in early March.  This is the second most popular hedge row plant in Dallas, with Magnolia being the first.
Read more on the American Holly here …

 

Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia Trees – Smaller (20 to 40 feet)

Magnolia Trees  Read More Here on the various types of magnolia trees here ..

Little Gem Magnolia – The Most Popular of the Smaller Southern Magnolia Trees

 Little Gem Magnolia Tree  is the most popular of the ‘small’ Southern Magnolias growing at one and half feet a year to 20 feet and the most prolific of the bloomers. Below you will recognize the golden underleaf of this Magnolia Tree which indicates it is not a Little Gem but more likely D.D. Bradford.

Little Gem Japanese Maple Dallas Landscaping Lee Ann Torrans

Little Gem Magnolia reaches over 40 feet with soft, pliable leaves.

While Little Gem is the most common I much prefer the sturdier leafed magnolias such as the D.D. Bradford below or Claudia Wannamaker.  This represents a lifetime investment in a tree.  Selecting a Magnolia tree which has the potential to live well over 100 years represents and important investment for your home.  I love the bronze undertones of the leaves – and that is NOT found in Little Gem.
Esplairier Magnolias
Espladier Magnoia.  Read more about best magnolias to esplaier here.
Teddy Bear is very like the Little Gem with soft pliable leaves and no golden underside, and while it is smaller than Little Gem its flowers are larger than Little Gem.

D.D. Bradford Magnolia

DD Bradberry Magnolia with golden underleaves.

DD Bradberry Magnolia with golden under-leaves.

Wannamaker Magnolias at University of Texas at Dallas

This is the Magnolia I would plant, bar none.  Read more here.

Claudia Wannamaker Magnolia

Magnolia Wannamaker

Claudia Wannamaker Magnolia Tree

Claudia Wannamaker Magnolia Tree

Claudia Wannamaker Magnolia Tree

D.D. Bradberry Southern Magnolia below is the fastest growing at two feet per year and the tallest with a conical shape and golden under leafs.

Magnolia Hedge Row

D.D. Bradberry Magnolias have lovely conical shape.

Magnolia_Tree_Bud_Dallas_Lee_Ann_Torrans

 

Crabapple Tree

Crabapple Tree One of the very earliest flowering blooming trees in Texas is the Crabapple.  This tree blooms shortly after the forsythia and daffodils.

LeeAnnTorrans-Crabapple-Tree-Dallas-22
Cherry_Blossom_Tree-2-2
SLIDER-9

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom Tree In Texas we do not have many successful cherry blossom trees.  Crabapple trees make an excellent substitute.  However, you can find an excellent planting of Cherry Blossom Trees and the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth.
These bloom with the mid to late azaleas beginning in late March and blooming by the first of April.  Purple Crabapple Cherry Blossom Trees
Cherry_Blossom_Tree-2 Cherry_Blossom_October_Dallas-1
Cherry_Blossom_Branch

 

 Tulip Tree

Tulip Trees are the first bloomers in spring.
Tulip_Tree
Tulip Tree After the Blooms
  Tulip Tree - Pin Cushion Perennials and Roses

Fragrant Ash / Fringe Tree

Fragrant Ash Blooming Tree

Fragrant Ash Spring Blooming Tree

Fragrant Ash Texas Flowering Tree with Swett Smell

Fragrant Ash Spring Blooming Tree

Fringe Tree Size: 8-20 feet tall, 8-10 feet wideIt is found in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9.  Bloom time: Flowers from April to May with masses of beautiful drooping white flowers  Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade; seems to perform well with some afternoon shade in my Zone 7b garden.  

Yellow Blooming Summer Trees

Rain Tree

Golden Rain Tree - Blooming Texas Tree - Mid-May

Golden Rain Tree

Golden_Rain_Tree_Lee_Ann_Torrans

Golden Rain Tree with pink and yellow yuccas.

The Laburnum Tree

 
The laburnum tree above is a poisonous tree.

Chinese Parasol Tree

Chinese Parasol Tree

Chinese Parasol Tree

Chinese_Parasol_Tree

Seedpods of the Chinese Parasol Tree

Relatively new to North America from Asia.  There are concerns about this tree becoming invasive.  With these seedpods you can see how that could occur.

Yellow Vitex Tree

Yellow Vitex Tree

The Vitex Tree in yellow.

 Banana Trees in Texas

Banana Tree at Dallas Arboretum

Banana trees die back each year but return from the roots.  Generally, I would prefer my precious gardening space to go to a more appealing plant.  However, this combination of Banana Tree, Variegated Tapioca (a Texas Superstar) orange globe amaranthus and orange coleus has made me a banana tree convert!
More on Banana Trees here.

Beautiful Live Oak trees at Fort Worth Botanical Garden.

Beautiful Live Oak Trees at Fort Worth Botanical Garden.

  Bird of Paradise in Bloom April Texas

Bird of Paradise in Bloom April Texas

 

Lace Bark Elm

 Not a flowering tree but a beautiful Elm that does well in Texas.

  Lace-Bark-Elm-Texas-Tree_Lee_Ann_Torrans-2

  Lace-Bark-Elm-Texas-Tree_Lee_Ann_Torrans-3

Weeping Willow

I know a weeping willow is not a blooming tree but it is just so pretty.

Weeping Willow Spring Showing

If you love it:  Pin IT!

Dogwood and Climbing Rose blooming at the same time

Dogwood and Climbing Rose blooming at the same time