FALL – The BEST Time of Year to Plant Trees!
By: Joanne Curley
Fall has arrived and cooler temperatures are finally here! With the exception of fruit trees and rose bushes, this is the perfect time to consider adding trees and shrubs to your landscape. Fall, now thru December, is often an even better time than Spring as the warmth of summer is mostly past but the cold of winter has not arrived yet. Plant roots will grow well anytime the soil temperatures are greater than 40 degrees. In Texas, this could be all or even most of the winter season, giving your new trees a good amount of time to develop and be ready for lots of growth in Spring. During Fall and throughout the winter, the root systems are developing, growing stronger and getting established. This will be really helpful in the Spring when cold temperatures from Winter are over and Spring temperatures arrive. Your trees will be strong and ready to really grow!
When choosing trees, you will want to consider the following factors:
SOIL TYPE: What type of soil and drainage do you have in the area you want to plant your tree(s)? Is it clay, sandy loam, rocky, etc.? Does the soil drain well? Is it mostly dry or wet?
HOW MUCH SPACE: Do you have enough space to plant the tree so it has space to grow as it matures and becomes full grown? Think ahead 5-10 years and what it will look like then. Consider this as you plan where to plant as well as how close to plant trees to each other or even to buildings, fences and utility lines.
HOW MUCH SUNLIGHT: Does the location you are planning have mostly sun, mostly shade, or a combination. As the tree grows, what ratio of sunlight will it have? Again, think
5-10 years ahead, depending on the tree you select. For some trees, you may need to think 10+ years into the future.
NATIVE VS. NON-NATIVE: Keep in mind that native trees are already adapted to the conditions in Texas so they usually grow best. They are usually more drought tolerant so they will require less water, less maintenance, and often less fertilizer than their non-native counterparts. They are also often more pest resistant and they provide shelter and food for native wildlife. All-in-all, native plants are a great option and there are many to choose from!
Below are some native trees you may want to consider. All are rated 10 out of 10 on the Earth-Kind Index which is research proven to “provide maximum garden and landscape enjoyment while preserving and protecting the environment” by Texas Agrilife.1
Desert Willow: A small tree that produces orchid-like flowers on it. It grows up to 20 ft high and 20 ft wide, and requires full exposure to sunlight.
Eve’s Necklace: A small tree that produces beautiful flowers on it in the Spring. It grows 15-25 ft high and 10-15 ft wide, and will tolerate sun or even partial shade. It is known to have excellent heat and drought tolerance and also tolerates poorly drained soil.
Honey Mesquite: Mesquite trees are known to be the most drought resistant trees in North Texas and they produce pale yellow flowers in the Spring which provide nectar to pollinators. It grows up to 30 ft high and 30 ft wide.
Mexican Buckeye: This tree is made up of many skinnier trunks and it produces bright pink flowers in the Spring similar to red bud trees. It is very heat and drought tolerant, but does need soil that has good drainage. It grows in full sun and gets to be about 12-15 ft high and 10 ft wide.