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bjb817

Good VS Evil Trees for Central Tx

15 years ago

Hey guys-

Judging from all the gardening publications I've read, there's trees that are considered pretty much universally desirable in this area, those that are universally undesirable and then those in that "gray" area. I'd just like the thoughts of those on here. Here's my understanding on some of the more common ones:

Good:

Oaks, particularly wilt resistant types such as Chinquapin and Monterrey

Bald Cypress

Pecan

Texas Ash

Bigtooth Maple (even though these are impossible to find)

TX Redbud

Crape Myrtle

Cedar Elm (although not one of my personal favorites)

Lacebark Elm

Bad:

AZ Ash

Chinaberry

Cedar

Hackberry

Ligustrum

Silver Maple

Gray:

Bradford Pear

Chinese Pistache

Sycamore

Mesquite

Thoughts?

Comments (42)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would put bradford pear in bad category. I would put chinese pistache in good category as long as it is male. Female would be in the bad category. I would chose montezuma cypress over bald cypress due to better drought tolerance and a lot faster growth. It is easy to find bigtooth maple... just go to Love Creek Nursery website and find where to get it. it is nearby San Antonio. You may want to check out shantung maple. Seems to be a fast grower than big tooth maple and better fall color for me up here so far. I live on limestone rubbles and suffered 3 out of last 4 years so it's not too bad.

    Pecan is alright as long as it is planted far away from the house and the soil is deep enough. Pecan has the tendency to drop large branches during severe thunderstorms...

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    We have a bald cypress and just love it! However, ours seems to be a bit of a freak of nature because it grew from 6' to approx 20' (and very bushy) in 2 years and loses its foliage long after all of the other BC's in the area do...

    Also, depending on where you live, It's About Thyme in south Austin carries bigtooth maples. That's where we got ours.

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  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Cseim,

    Are you sure that's BC, not Montezuma cypress because that's what it sounded like what you have. They look alike except that Montezuma is semi-evergreen and a lot faster growing. MCs are still green up here while BCs are bald.

    Natural Gardener in Austin may have big tooth maples plus nice selection of oak trees.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The bald cypress is a moderate grower, but can be a rapid grower if fertility is good and water is available. I have one that was about 5' tall when I moved here 12 years ago. Today it is about 25' tall. And it is deciduous and puts out "knees" all over the place. I read somewhere that the Montezum cypress is evergreen but leaves become deciduous when planted north of San Antonio. And I don't think that they put out the "knees" that the bald cypress puts out.

    Here are a couple of good websites on trees:

    Native Trees of Texas

    Texas Tree Planting Guide

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    LTcollins-

    According to several sources, Central Texas BCs have less tendency to put out knees than eastern Texas ones. I planted some MCs at the park right across the street from me and have seen 16th night of 32*F or colder and they are mostly still green so I don't know about "deciduous when planted north of San Antonio". I would at least call them "Semi-evergreen" up here. MCs are much faster growers. It can easily be over 30,40 feet in 10 years when it gets enough rainfall/water and the ground is deep enough. I also have 'Nanjing Beauty' hybrid cypress (between bald and montezuma) and it is still green in my front yard, the only tree of 11 trees that is still green (and much faster grower than BC as well). Anyway, from what I've observed, they probably will stay green into January before dropping leaves then start new growth during Febuary well before BCs. That's in Dallas-Ft Worth area.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I know that down here in south Texas the MC is recommended over the BC, but since mine was already here when I moved, I just left it. But the knees are really bad and going every where. I worry about the knees damaging my garage.

    Right now, my BC is totally without leaves. Some years, when the weather isn't so harsh, the leaves stay on, but not this year.

    Your 'Nanjing Beauty' hybrid sounds interesting. Does it get the "knees"?

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Interesting that your BC is totally bald that far south. I planted what may turn out to be cental Texas BC at my mom's in Houston and is starting to turn color.

    'Nanjing Beauty' do not produce knees. They are grown from cuttings. China scientists are the one that discovered this plant after many years of breeding between MC,BC and PC in China. They literally have millions of them in China grown from cuttings. My college Stephen F Austin State University is the one that brought it into USA in 2001 and has done numerous evaluations on this plant. They gave me free ones to try out. I've given rest of them away after planting some around here so I'm out at the moment. So far, it sounds like a great plant to have. Highly sodic tolerant, alkaline/pH tolerant and others I don't recall exactly.

    http://www.botanyshop.com/NanjingBeauty/NanjingBeauty.htm for information

    Here is a link that might be useful: Nanjing Beauty picture

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just curious, why is cedar bad and mesquite gray? I guess it depends on what you want them for. ERC feeds lots of birds, has great shade, nice wood and is easy to get rid of if you get to many.

    Although I like them, mesquite has little shade, limited food value and are extreamly tough to get rid of should they overpopulate. Has nice wood though. I've killed about 10,000 of them over the last 4 years but I wouldn't kill 'em all.

    I also like sycamore and blackjack oaks so I can't be believed too much. :)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My guess is that OP is talking about allergy problem from ERC. A lot of people complain about pollens from ERC that caused allergy reaction. They are pretty good plant. Very tough plant but nothing spectacular since they are so common in Central Texas to North Texas.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    kossetx, I also have hackberry trees for my birds. This morning, my DH and I sat at the breakfast table watching the bluebirds eat berries. This makes the job of pulling up all the unwanted seedlings worth every minute of it. Bad trees have good uses, IMHO !!!!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lou,
    I'm not 100% sure since I'm no tree expert, but it was sold to us as a container grown bald cypress by a very reputable nurseryman who has never steered us wrong. The funny thing is, we put in a 12' monterrey oak at the same time and this 6 footer was supposed to be our cheaper tree. It has really outshined the oak! We did get a lot of rain that first summer, we had a bubbler on it, and the bed it's in has gotten a lot of compost and stuff from Natural Gardner, but it is still baffling.

    BTW I've never seen bigtooth maples at Natural Gardener (we go there very often) only at It's About Thyme, but NG is having an end-of-year clearance and all trees and plants are 30% off.

    Chrissy

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lou,

    Thanks for the information on the Nanjing Beauty. I'm going to look for one, and I like the fact that there are no knees.

    Actually, I have two BC, and both of them are without leaves. I think between the cold and the wind that they just couldn't keep their leaves this fall.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Chrissy,

    Could it be a case of mistaken identify? I can't tell a young BC from MC until it is December when BC has lost all of their leaves and MC still is green. MC tend to have small seeds. Central Texas BC tend to have intermediate size seeds and East Texas BC tends to have the largest seeds. Perhaps you have a unique BC that grows fast and hold foliage longer. Monterrey oak is a nice tree. I have it as well. Grew more than I expected. I planted it in August of 2007 as 5g size and it already grew about 4 feet since then. Like with other oak trees, I didn't expect much growth during first full growing season and it still grew 3 feet this year despite lack of rain and soil is full of limestone rubbles. I did water deeply every 2 weeks so I suppose that helped some. It is a weird tree. Does most of growing at the end of the summer into fall.

    LtCollins,

    Botany Shop Garden (internet store) is the only place that I know of that is selling to public so you probably will have to order one online there.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Bald Cypress is horrible in San Antonio unless it's near water.

    Pecan is not good for typical residential shade trees. They are poorly adapted. I'm stuck with them and they are an eyesore. They are also grafted. Not recommended, except for backyards, parks, large yards etc.

    Monterrey Oak, is the best. Very drought tolerant. Tolerates our shallow soils.

    Chinkapin, and Bur Oak are also very good.

    Montezuma Cypress is excellent, fast growing.

    Cedar is a confusing name. Trees have common names and scientific names. The true cedars are not native and poorly adapted.

    The local mountain cedar is not a cedar, but a juniper.

    The common "mountain cedar" is actually : Juniper Ashei.


    "Eastern Red Cedar " (Juniper Virginiana) is a highly desirable small evergreen. Native to east Texas, extremely adaptable. I got some from the forestry service 13 years ago and I love them. Better adapted to urban landscapes than J. Ashei. (Tolerates sun, shade, drought and flood.) It is also more compact.

    The reason I'm promoting Eastern Red Cedar or J. Virginiana is because we don't have much choice for conifers. Pines don't survive here etc.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lou,
    My husband has researched it and swears it's not a MC, but I suppose anything is possible. We had another former nursery owner in our yard to install our fountain and he was shocked that we'd only had it 2 years. He said we must have just gotten a really good cultivar. Right now the interior foliage is rust-colored, but the exterior is still 75% green while all of the other BC's I've seen in our area are totally rust colored or bald already. I haven't seen any seeds. Maybe it's a hybrid? Either way, it's a great tree.

    Chrissy

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Chrissy,

    What you are describing of your cypress does sound like what I'm seeing in MCs right now. Interesting. Perhaps, your cypress got lost during the handling and ended up as BC instead of MC, who knows? What were the reasons that your husband believed that it is BC? I thought the most obvious reason is keeping green foliage significantly longer into fall/winter than BCs. What type of soil do you have that your cypress is growing in? I am trying 'Nanjing Beauty' in limestone rubbles as a test plant. I planted 7 MCs including 2 Nanjing Beauty at the park across the street from me but the park has 2-3 feet of gumbo topsoil unlike mine which is only 4-6 inches! Some that were planted last year sure did great during first year going from 1 inch to 3-4 inches trunk at the base just like that but not that kind of top growth like yours did. It was just too windy, dry and hot. I only gave them one deep watering once a month with the sprinkler system at the park that I turned on all night long. I'm just surprised that they did that well with once a month of deep watering...

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Lou,
    Apparently my husband actually had a professional arborist come look at it that identified it as a BC vs. a MC, just to be sure. He said it had something to do with the way the foliage came away from the branches and the angles that the branches came away from the tree. I suppose that the arborist and the guy that sold us the tree could both be wrong. Then again, our yard could just be really weird because our bigtooth maple hasn't lost it's leaves yet either.

    As far as soil, I couldn't really tell you. We're on the west side of Austin so it's pretty alkaline. Lots of loose rock in there, but I think you can go pretty deep before hitting solid limestone or anything. It did get a lot of live tea when we first planted, and we feed and water our trees pretty well.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would put the Pecan in the gray category, unless you have space to plant it far away from a house, fence, etc. the limbs fall easily and they are very messy with the seeds in the spring. Also the big tree roaches seem to love them as well as the web worms.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    What do you guys think about sweetgums? I've had one for a few years, and while it's grown taller, I don't think it's had a chance to really shine, since we've had a terrible problem with voles and I suspect they're chewing its roots. I've also heard their spiny fruit is a hazard, but I do a lot of crafting, so I'm kinda hoping for some one day for fall crafts!

    My neighbor has a chinese tallow tree. While I've heard them called trash trees, I kinda like it. It's got beautiful fall foliage. It does send up seedlings, but I'm already pulling hackberry seedlings, so the tallow trees aren't so annoying! They just get pulled up too.

    I'd like to add "Fire Dragon" Shantung Maple, since I hadn't seen that one added. Though I might have missed it. Also redbud, especially Forest Pansy and the weeping variety, Lavender Twist.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Evil trees, it conjures up such pictures. I have hackberries, which I hate, they are great for the birds but the unruly growth, suckers, seeds that sprout everywhere. Also a pecan that I would love to see gone, it breaks easily, is messy, always takes a beating in storms.

    On the coast any tree that stays upright, with most of it's branches intact is a good tree. Except maybe chinaberries.
    Tally HO!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My neighbors got an Acer (big toothed) Maple at the Shoal Creek Nursery on Hancock, in Austin.

    My thoughts are the same as expressed above; it all depends on what you are looking for in a tree. Do you want one to shade a patio or driveway? In that case, I'd stay away from several of the "good" trees - such as pecan, crepe and possibly even a live oak.

    It looks as if you may already be referencing the City of Austin Planting guide - if not - check the link below.

    Here is a link that might be useful: City of Austin Grow Green Guide

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Does anyone in Austin carry the Fire Dragon Shantung Maple?

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    "Fire Dragon" Shantung Maple is only carried by Metro Maples in Fort Worth.

    http://www.metromaples.com/Shantung.htm

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    They look like cypresses (at first . . . )
    Hopefully I am wrong as the things are monsters in time.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    In this area, Cedar Elms are great native trees. Beautiful too. Their only problem is susceptibility to mistletoe.

    Bur Oaks definitely belong in the Good category.

    Personally, I would never consider Crape Myrtle to be in the Good category due to their problems with powdery mildew, non-stop suckering, & agressive roots.

    Lacebark Elms are great looking trees where there is really good drainage. They'll live a short life in anything close to poor drainage.

    Big Tooth Maples are an investment-quality tree. Very much worth the effort to find one, and the lengthy wait for it to grow.

    Texas Redbuds are great as long as they are in a sheltered position. Otherwise wind storms will brutalize them over time.

    If you are okay with the odd branching structure of Chinese Pistache, it is a superior tree, if you are lucky enough to have a male, as Lou said. And fall color can be spectacular.

    Never trust a garden center that sells Silver Maple trees or Bradford Pear. They obviously are willing to perform a dis-service to their customers.

    Randy

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I love Crepe Myrtles, but for Austin I would put them in the 'gray' category. They only look fabulous twice a decade--and those years everybody in Austin buys one. They do alright, but for a really good show they need more water than Austin usually gets.
    For a flowering tree try a Texas Mountain Laurel or a Desert Willow.

    Mesquite is beautiful and indestructible. Indestructible can be a good or bad thing. I also like Huisache trees--pretty in the spring.

    Oaks are the prettiest.

    Texan/Mexican Persimmon is beautiful--go to Lady Bird Johnson's Wildflower Center to see it and other great trees.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, glad I was able to kick off such a great discussion!

    Maybe I should clarify why I categorized these trees as I did... Most of it is a combination of what I've read/heard and witnessed firsthand.

    Good:

    Oaks- Chinquapin and Monterrey Oaks particularly due to their wilt resistance. Yes, I should've added Burr Oaks to the list as well. I consider Live Oaks and Shumards to be a little more "gray" due to being over-planted and supposed wilt vulnerablility.

    Bald Cypress- It sounds as though Montezuma Cypress is preferable due to greater drought resistance? I've only seen the Bald Cypress get knees once in culture, which was strange since it was nowhere near water. I can see where that would be a problem. One thing I did notice this summer is alot of Bald Cypress around here turned brown, I'm assuming due to the drought.

    Pecan- I guess I didn't realize how weak wooded they can be. We have some monsters in the park across the road from us. That's in river bottom soil though. Maybe that makes a difference?

    Texas Ash- Everywhere I read this is supposedly the only Ash well suited for central TX, even though they're extremely rare in culture. I did see an Ash called "Urbanite" at Lowes a few weeks back though that had a nice branching structure. It looked like a variety of Green Ash though.

    Bigtooth Maple- The handful I see are attractive trees with great fall color.

    TX Redbud- Us, as well as many others in our neighborhood have them and they seem to do great. Some, such as ours are in protected locations, some aren't. I haven't notices a significant difference between them.

    Crape Myrtle- I know, they're WAY overplanted and don't bloom as well without a good amount of water. Even though I tend to stay away from overplanted trees, I couldn't refuse the temptation to plant just one! It didn't disappoint either with a solid 3+ months of blooming in its first season.

    Elm- Cedar Elm I listed as good because of what I read, not what I've experienced firsthand. We inherited one that was poorly shaped and had mistletoe. Even after significant pruning and mistletoe removal, it kept breaking branches on windy days and the mistletoe came back. After that it was time to say goodbye. We replaced it with a Monterrey Oak which I convinced will fare much better in the long run. If I had to pick an Elm, it would be a Lacebark since they don't seem to be a susceptable to mistletoe.

    Bad:

    AZ Ash- Invasive roots, poor branch structure, did I mention roots?

    Chinaberry- These are probably my least favorite of all. After removing several dying ones from our yard and having the stumps ground, any tiny piece of root left in the ground keeps re-sprouting. Then there's the messy berries...

    Cedar- I'm not a huge fan of the Eastern Red Cedar or Ashe Juniper. Now, granted, I think alot of the negatives you hear are perhaps only half truths, but they do seem to spread like crazy and crowd out everything in their path. Plus you have the whole allergy issue. On top of it all, they're just plain ugly in my opinion too.

    Hackberry- Nasty surface roots, mistletoe and nothing seems to grow under them.

    Ligustrum- Invasive! They're everywhere in greenbelts around here.

    Silver Maple- These just don't appear well suited to our climate or soils around here. My neighbor's turned yellow and dropped its leaves in late summer. I'm guessing it's a combination of iron deficiency and drought. On top of that they have invasive surface roots.

    Gray:

    Bradford Pear- Just plain overplanted! I've read they can be invasive also, but I haven't seen evidence of that around here.

    Chinese Pistache- I've read some places where they're considered desirable and some where they're considered and invasive. One of our neighbors has one that's a beautiful tree, but loaded with berries, so I guess I can see where it could be invasive.

    Sycamore- I know there's the Mexican and American Sycamore, with the Mexican variety having the better form and supposedly being more disease resistant. That said, there's some monster Americans down by the river here.

    Mesquite- This is one I personally don't like, but the Austin Grow Green guide recommends. I just don't care for the fact that they're spiny, come up all over the place and don't have a great form. Yes, I know, they're native and tough as nails... Fine out in a pasture, but not in my yard.

    So anyway, that's where I was coming from in my categorizations.

    As for Sweetgum, from what I can tell, they're just not well suited to our alkaline soils. Of the few I see in the area, many are yellow. I believe they also prefer a wetter environment.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Redbud can be good in Central Texas if they are Texas or Mexican type, not the eastern type. Go over to Madrone Nursery website and check out 'Traveller' and 'Sanderson'.

    The problem with Bald Cypress is that you don't know where they came from. You want the central Texas source, not East Texas. That makes a huge difference. For that, avoid big box stores at all costs.

    Mommy Fox mentioned 'Fire Dragon' shantung maple... I have several ones growing in caliche soil so I can say safely that they tolerate alkaline soil just fine. You just have to make sure to water deeply every once in a while if you get a drought like central Texas is seeing right now. I have Bigtooth maple that I planted last fall but so far, I'd give shantung maple a big plus for growth rate and fall color. My bigtooth maple is rather disappointing for its fall color. Maybe it's only a small young tree trying to establish during first year, who knows? It did grow almost 2 feet but it is just a central leader, not much for branches.

    I really like Texas Red oak. I think it's worth it because of the fall color. I don't think Shumard red oak offers much of red fall color like Texas Red oak does. I know about oak wilt but if you maintain it properly, it should do fine regardless of oak wilt risk.

    Please, don't plant any more live oak. I just came home from central Texas over Christmas holiday and all I ever see is Live oak and ERC. I'm just tired of them. Plant something else, please... Do plant more Texas Red oak though. It was great seeing them over thanksgiving holiday in Central Texas with red fall color. It made my driving back home worth it.

    I don't know why Texas Ash isn't commonly sold. Madrone Nursery sells them but I never seem them elsewhere except for a couple places in Dallas area. All i see is Arizona hybrid ash at big box stores. Who knows how they will fare in the long run but they do grow fast! I planted Texas Ash at the park but I don't think it is a great spot for it. It may hold too much moisture due to high clay content topsoil (I expected mostly limestone rubbles).

    We have sweetgums in my town but i suspect that they are growing in deeper topsoil consisting of clay type aka gumbo rather than limestone rubbles in other parts of town which is a pain in the butt. They seem to do fine and seemed to have nice fall color this year.

    I have seen a monster Sycamore in Marble Falls in my parents' in law neighborhood. I also saw some pine trees but I'm not sure what they are exactly. I thought one looked like Italian Stone Pine but I couldn't find pine cones to confirm that because the seeds tend to be big. It is granite rock area. It was very painful to plant a small montezuma cypress tree in the backyard as a Christmas gift.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Make a trip to Highland Park Village Shopping Center in Dallas, and you will NEVER get tired of seeing Live Oaks. Just beautiful, especially with the Christmas lights wrapped on them from trunk to branch tips. With their twisting branches, they look like giant sculptures.

    Randy

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I grew up in south central Texas, and could never tire of live oaks either, Randy. The oldest one in LaGrange is a thing of true beauty.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I meant for the houses with live oak with not much else. I just would like to see more varieties of trees but I suppose they are much better than Bradford pears. They sure are everywhere in the wild in Central Texas. Not overly huge like you'd see in Houston.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    By Central Texas, I'm assuming that you are talking Austin-to-Waco-to-San Angelo region. Not sure why AZ Ash are in the bad category. I live an hour north of Austin and they are very popular here. Fast growing, good shade, nice yellow foliage in the Fall. The only consistent downside I've found is raking the leaves. As far as Bradford Pear, they are also very popular in my area. They are good for small lots, moderate to fast growing, have beautiful white flowers in the Spring, and gorgeous red leaves in the Fall. Also, both seem to handle the dry spells and high heat well.

    I would put both of these species in the Good category.

    "Bug"

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think trees should be a thing of choice!! I truly believe the saying "different strokes for different folks" works as not everyone feels the same way. And, oh, what a dull world it would be if we did. I would have to say that for me, trees are on a sliding scale from my most favorite to my least favorite, but I love ALL trees.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree that for the most part, what trees you like are a matter of taste.

    That said, there are some trees that, while having some nice ornamental properties are highly invasive. Chinaberry, Ligustrum and Chinese Tallow (another "evil" one) are extremely invasive around here, displacing native species. I think most of us can agree that's a bad thing.

    I also agree with Lou that over planting any variety of tree, native or not can be a bad thing. Ask anyone in the northern part of the country where American Elm was the dominant boulevard tree if a little more variety wouldn't have been nice when the majority of them succumbed to Dutch Elm disease in the 80's. Like the Live Oak around here, it was a quality, native tree that was just over-used.

    I hope our neighborhood never experiences Oak Wilt since the builder planted Live Oaks almost exclusively and they are mostly now 20' to 30' trees, along with some mature ones that were preserved.

    I'm seeing Monterrey Oaks planted more and more, which I find encouraging as they are supposed to be wilt resistant and are also evergreen or nearly so.

    Bug-the reason I dislike AZ Ash, above all else, is the root system. We have a neighbor that has one on the west side of their house that's about 25' tall, so it's giving off nice shade. The problem is the roots are on top of the ground everywhere, including large ones pushing up against their foundation. I can't see that situation getting any better... If in doubt, go over to Dave's Garden and check out some of the pictures and reviews of AZ Ash.

    I think if TX Ash was more widely available and it was more well known it would help. People are going to keep planting AZ Ash and its cultivars if nurseries and the big boxes keep selling them. After all, they wouldn't be selling it if it was a "trash" tree, would they? ;^)

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I just noticed that Snyder Plaza in University Park is lined with Sweetgums. I keep hearing they don't do well in Dallas, but there they are on the hilltop, seemingly doing fine.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I can concur that planting AZ Ash near the house/on small lot is not a good idea. The one I had had one root that peeked above the ground about an inch, but that was all, and it was 20'-25' I guess it may depend on what kind of soil is underneath the ground as to how many roots come up above the soil.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Shutterbug,

    Bradford pears are very short lived. They tend to fall apart rather easily after 15-25 years. I would never put them in the good category if you're talking about shade tree! If you want strong long lived tree with nice fall color, shantung maples would be better choice. Mine grow in caliche soil with no apparent problems. 'Fire Dragon' produces red fall color while most regular shantung maples produce yellow to orange reddish. I have one that produced bright yellow fall color. Rated one of best wind and ice storm resistant trees as well. Same size as bradford pear. They produce yellow spring flowers when they get big enough. Arizona ash isn't that great either. Short lived and falls apart rather soon. Texas white ash would have been a better choice but for some reason, it's not widely sold.

    You know, you don't have to rake leaves. We have mulching mower for that....I've been doing that for 15 years and never could imagine raking leaves ever again. You are simply recycling nutrients back to soil whenever you mulch mow leaves. When you bag them, you're only removing nutrients from the soil....

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Well, there's a tree for every application. Most trees aren't perfect for every situation. A list of 'good' and 'bad' isn't as helpful as perhaps a list with categories of 'native' or 'non-invasive' or 'adapted non-native'...etc.

    Cedar Elms and Pecans fall into a category the Natural Gardener calls 'Self-Pruning'. So yes, branches will fall during a storm. I find this preferable to looking at dead wood year after year in a high spot I can't get to w/ my pruning saw. :-) Self Pruners tidy up themselves and stay healthy looking.

    I inherited a Chinese Pistache and it is one of the ugliest trees I've experienced. Branches die and it just keeps growing around them, producing a gnarled, splintered pattern w/ branches growing in every direction.

    Can I ask what is the big deal about mistletoe? Yes, it grows on trees. But I don't think it does them a great deal of harm. I mean, there would have to be so much mistletoe that you couldn't see the leaves anymore before it could really kill a tree. I think it is sad people will chop down a healthy, well-established tree just b/c it has a bit of mistletoe in it. The birds like the seeds and they are what spread it around. Do we start shooting all the birds next to keep them from planting fresh starts of mistletoe in the new trees?

    I'm excited to hear about the fast growth rate on the Bald Cypress! I've been thinking of planting one next to the creek in my backyard. I think the cypress on the Frio River are so beautiful and would love to have a few back here to look at.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    maden theshade, I love my bald cypress despite the many knees they send up everywhere. Planting it by the creek is an excellent idea as it will send it's knees to the water.
    And as for the Chinese pistache, the one female I have is also an ugly tree, but the males are beautiful, and offer so much color in the fall.

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I have many happy memories of jumping into the Frio River from the large roots of a cypress tree. It would give me great pleasure to plant a natural diving platform at the edge of this swimming hole. :-)

    I've heard much raving about the fall color of the Chinese Pistache. I just haven't seen it myself. The tree in my backyard is chlorophoric (sp?) for some reason. All the Live Oaks, Hackberry, and Chinaberry trees around it are fit as a fiddle. The Pistache had a smattering of leaves in the summer and then suddenly started dropping them in August. By Fall, most of them were gone. So no fall display here. But have to say the CP's planted out at I-35 and 79 also didn't seem to have any great color either. The tree in my yard looks so bad it makes the Hackberry look good!

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Could it be that your CP wasn't planted properly like planting too deep? I've seen nice red fall colors on them up here in Dallas area.

    I have Frio Bald cypress seeds that I received from another person who went there last fall. I'm going to try and grow them in a couple months when it warms up.They are undergoing cold stratification right now... Native Texas red oak trees sure looked good this fall in central Texas. brilliant red fall color everywhere, better than larger Shumard red oak. That's pretty much it for the fall color. I don't know about Big Tooth maple?? Mine didn't do much. Shantung maples had nice fall color for me. i had been searching for Texas Red oak but nobody sells them so I collected some off them and attempting to grow them right now...

  • 15 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    our house is on a ridge overlooking a creek. A previous owner had terraced down to the creek. The CP is a volunteer, growing out of one of these walls. It could be hampered by bedrock...there is just no way to know w/o digging. I wish I knew b/c I'd like to replace it...but hesitate to plant something else there.

    There is also one other chlorophoric tree across the street...a bur oak. It's a shame to see that tree struggle. Everything is healthy. There are a wide variety of trees on this street, which is nice.

    Lou, if you were closer I'd get you hooked up w/ the Red Oak! The ridge back here is full of them!