Right Tree, Right Place: Fall is Prime Planting Season in Texas
September 19, 2018
Did you know? Fall is the prime time for planting new trees in Texas. New trees planted now benefit from cooler temperatures and increased rainfall during the fall season. Fall planting gives trees a better chance to put down new roots before the next hot summer rolls around. But, you don’t want to just simply dig a hole and drop in just any tree. If you don’t select the right tree - and the right place - you could just be setting your new tree up for failure!
First and foremost, the space you have available will dictate the type of tree you should plant. Keep in mind that small, tight spaces will not accommodate a large shade tree, such as an Oak – especially once full grown. Not only does an oak canopy need a lot of room to spread, but the root system does as well. Take into consideration the proximity of sidewalks, driveways, utility lines and of course, your home’s foundation. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than removing a big beautiful tree that’s outgrown it’s space - becoming a danger to people or property.
The Right Climate?
After you decide how much space you have, you should pick a tree that is acclimated to our climate and its temperatures. Look for trees that are suited for the 7B/8A hardiness zones or are native to our region.
Recommended Tree Species for the Dallas/Fort Worth Area
Small trees (less that 20’) - Ideal for small spaces and under power lines
- Crape Myrtle
- Desert Willow
- Japanese Maple
- Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum
- Possumhaw Holly
Medium (20-50’) - Ideal for shading smaller areas, good fit for most urban yards
- Chinese Pistache
- Shantung Maple
- Crape Myrtle
- Eve’s Necklace
- Lacey Oak
- Monterrey Oak
Large (50’ and over) - Only for locations with lots of room
- Live Oak
- Bald Cypress
- Chinquipin Oak
- Cedar Elm
- Ginkgo (often stay in the medium size range in the DFW area, so size will vary)
Each tree has its own preferred soil, moisture, and sun exposure conditions. If you plan to plant a sun-loving tree in an area that is heavily shaded by neighboring buildings or trees, you won’t have much success. Too often, we see crape myrtles planted in too much shade, resulting in leggy plants that don’t flower very much. If you expect a shade-loving Japanese Maple to thrive in full sun, you will be probably be disappointed. Scorched foliage isn’t terribly attractive!
The soils in North Texas are heavy clay, alkaline with a high pH, and are often shallow. Therefore, native and adapted trees establish and grow best. You have probably noticed that pine trees suffer in North Texas – this is due to poor soil fertility. The do, however, grow much better in East Texas where soils have a more acidic pH.
Finally, you must take into consideration the moisture requirements of the tree. We very commonly experience periods of drought followed by flooding rains. If you have a low spot where water pools in your landscape, and bald cypress may flourish, while a desert willow may not. No matter the species, newly planted trees will always require supplemental watering until they become established.
Don't Forget the Mess
There are a few commonly overlooked aspects when choosing the proper tree species to plant. Excessive flower, fruit, or seed drop can get downright messy and frustrating. Female Ginkgo trees, while stunning in the fall, drop fruits that have a distinct odor & make a mess. Crape myrtles drop a lot of flowers and seed which can cover your car and driveway. Deciduous trees - those that drop their leaves in winter - can make a total mess of your pool if they overhang it.
Also, be sure to take any ongoing maintenance into consideration. All trees need preventative pruning, but faster growing trees tend to have softer wood that breaks easier during high winds or heavy rain.
Not sure which new tree is right for your landscape? Call in our expert arborists for a site evaluation. We’ll help you pick the right tree, then source and plant it for you the right way.