Trees are a very important part of our landscape, whether it be our own home property, or in public places—parks, along our streets, cemeteries, or any public grounds. Trees provide us with shade, oxygen, shelter for birds and small animals. Some trees provide fruit or nuts, some adorn themselves with beautiful blossoms in the springtime. When a person is in a position to purchase a new tree to plant, consideration should be taken as to what type of tree is desired, and what type of tree is best suited to the place it will be planted.
Choosing A General Species
If you desire a quality tree, one that will last throughout your lifetime, it’s best to choose a tree with a medium or slower rate of growth. A tree that grows fast usually produces weak wood. This makes the tree somewhat more unsafe than its slower growing counterpart, and it will have a shorter life.
Choosing A Specific Type
There are quite a number of shade trees that seem to be best suited for the Austin, Texas, area. Included in this selection are some that are flowering trees, which add beauty to any landscaping location. Many of the trees listed here are chosen for their rate of growth and their toughness, as well as their attractiveness. Some of the trees are oaks, elms, and ash trees. Take a look at some of the trees recommended for the Austin area and consider each one’s characteristics. Then you’ll be better able to make an informed choice as to the tree that you would like for your place.
Oak Trees Make The Best Shade Tree
Many oak trees grow to be quite large trees, so it is essential to plant an oak tree well away from your house, garage, or other building. The Monterey Oak grows 30–40 feet tall and spreads up to 40 feet. Also known as a Mexican white oak, it needs to be planted in deep soil where it will get plenty of sun.
Other oak varieties that are suitable for the Austin area are the Bur Oak, Live Oak, Shumard Oak, and the Lacey Oak. The Bur Oak is a huge tree with a maximum height of 70+ feet. It adapts well to the Austin soil, is somewhat drought tolerant, attracts butterflies, and is deer-resistant.
The native Texas Red Oak is a stately tree with a rounded canopy and grows to a height of 35 to 45 feet. So named because of its flaming red autumn leaves, it makes a fine shade tree for a large yard.
Oak trees are susceptible to a devastating and deadly disease called Oak Wilt. White oaks To avoid this disease, don’t prune your oak tree between the months of February and June.
The Lacebark Elm, while not a Texas native, still grows well here, is disease-resistant and grows more than 40 feet high. The leaves turn beautifully chartreuse in the fall, and the bark is an interesting peeling bark.
The Cedar Elm grows to heights between 50 and 70 feet, is drought tolerant, and will grow in the shallow rocky soil of the Austin area. This elm’s leaves turn a brilliant buttery yellow in the fall, adding to the beauty of your yard or street.
The only ash tree that’s suitable for Texas grows from 30 to 50 feet tall, needs good drainage, and is relatively long-lived. This tree is not to be confused with the Arizona Ash.
If you’d like to attract hummingbirds to your yard, choose the Desert Willow. With its pink trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom all summer and a modest height of 25 feet, it will thrive in full sun. It won’t need water unless the heat is extreme and drought is experienced.
Eve’s Necklace grows from 15 to 25 feet and produces pink flowers that resemble wisteria. The seed pods will remind you of a section of a necklace, but be careful—they’re poisonous.
The Mexican Plum tree is a small tree with lovely white blossoms in the springtime. An especially beautiful tree, it will enhance any location it is planted. It also produces small, tart plums.
Texas Redbud trees are covered with pretty pink blooms in the spring. With a height of only 15 to 20 feet, they add a splash of spring color to any location.
Both the Carolina Buckthorn and Holly trees produce red berries. The Carolina Buckthorn will grow from 15 to 30 feet tall, while most varieties of holly are much smaller and more of a large bush than a tree. The Yaupon Holly will grow to become a small tree. Check your holly, though, because only the female trees have the red berries. Purchasing one in the fall when the berries are on will ensure you getting a female tree.
For brilliant red color in the fall, choose a Chinese Pistache. This medium-size tree grows to approximately 40 feet and can grow in heavy clay.
The Gum Burnelia produces blossoms in the spring that feed the honey bees, then in the summer its fruit is food for birds and deer. So if you’d like to attract wildlife to your place, this is a tree to choose. It grows to a mature height of from 40 to 50 feet.