Recommended Landscape Trees
By: Donna J. Ward, Certified Texas Master Gardener
Following is a list of trees and a brief description of each that you may wish to consider for your landscape. The larger trees are excellent shade providers, and the flowering trees lend themselves to specimen plantings. They should all do well under the conditions we have to offer and would be an asset to our landscapes. These trees are native and/or adapted for the Houston/Galveston area.
- Bradford Pear - The tree is pyramidal in form when young and becomes more oval with age. White flowers in the spring, with red to purple autumn color. Small nut-like pears can be a nuisance in well-maintained landscapes, but attractive to wildlife. The tree attains an average height and width of 30 feet by 25 feet.
- Bur Oak - It is a relatively fast-growing, long-lived tree with heavy spreading limbs. The large acorns attract wildlife. The tree is tolerant of alkaline soils and urban stresses. It attains an average height and width of 75 feet by 75 feet.
- Chinese Pistache - This is a relatively small tree with a rounded canopy and often provides good yellow fall color. The male trees are preferred as female trees provide copious amounts of messy fruit. The tree attains an average height and width of 40 feet by 30 feet.
- Crape Myrtle - This tree is unrivaled among small flowering trees in ease of culture and tolerance of most growing conditions. It has picturesque form, autumn color (varies with cultivars) and interesting exfoliating bark. The tree attains an average height and width of 30 feet by 15 feet.
- Drummond Red Maple - One of the better fast-growing trees with small red spring flowers, it has a rounded canopy and new growth provides red color in early spring. The tree attains an average height and width of 70 feet by 40 feet.
- Golden-Rain Tree - One of the most popular of small flowering trees because of its fast growth, spectacular flowers, and coral colored seed capsules. The tree has a highly irregular form and attains an average height and width of 30 feet by 25 feet.
- Green Ash - Long-lived with good yellow fall color, the Green Ash tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. It has a rounded canopy and grows rapidly. The tree attains an average height and width of 80 feet by 49 feet.
- Live Oak - The tree has a broad spreading form, evergreen leaves, and a tolerance of a wide range of local soil conditions. It attains an average height and width of 80 feet by 80 feet.
- Mexican Plum - Small understory tree with open density and highly irregular form, it tolerates most sites. The tree has a medium to fast growth rate and prefers good drainage. It does not produce an abundance of shade but valued for its fragrant, white flowers and attractive peeling bark. The tree does attract wildlife. It attains an average height and width of 20 feet by 20 feet.
- Nuttall Oak - The tree has an oval to rounded canopy and tolerance of poorly drained clay soil. Its large acorns attract wildlife. It is a long-lived tree with yellow autumn color. The tree attains an average height and width of 40 feet by 25 feet.
- Saucer Magnolia - The Saucer Magnolia is a small flowering tree with a moderate growth rate. It has an upright, oval form with upright single or multiple trunks and purplish to rose saucer-shaped flowers (4 to 6 inches across) that appear in late winter or early spring before foliage. It is a good specimen/accent plant. The tree attains an average height and width of 20 feet by 15 feet.
- Sawtooth Oak - This tree is a relatively fast-growing oak with a spreading canopy that produces large acorn crops at an early age making it especially desirable for wildlife plantings. It is suited to a wide range of soil conditions. The tree attains an average height and width of 80 feet by 50 feet.
- Shumard Red Oak - This oak tree has a rounded canopy and glossy foliage and is tolerant of mildly alkaline soils. It has a bright scarlet fall color and attains an average height and width of 50 feet by 50 feet.
- Southern Magnolia - This stately evergreen with dense, upright pyramidal form, becomes more irregular with advanced age. It has a moderately-slow rate of growth, but large, highly fragrant white flowers (7 to 8 inches across). The tree attains an average height and width of 40 feet by 25 feet.