Best Trees for Houston, Texas – Fruit, Palm, Shade & More

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Due to the warmer climate, planting trees in Texas can be more difficult than in greener states. In fact, Texas and every state directly north of the Lone Star State have some of the sparsest tree coverage in America. This can make finding the best trees for Houston landscapes difficult for anyone, especially if you don’t employ services for residential or commercial landscaping in Houston.

There are a few Texas trees that will perform better in Houston than other climates.

Best Fruit Trees to Grow in Houston, TX

If you’re wondering what kind of fruit trees to grow in Texas, you’ve actually got more options than you might imagine. While there are a variety of trees that will bloom here, olive trees are no doubt a contender for the best fruit trees to grow in Houston, TX.

While it may not seem likely that olives could thrive in Texas, Jack Dougherty actually grows all of the olives used in a national olive oil brand right here.

Olive trees can stay green year-round and bring beautiful butterflies and hummingbirds to your property. The trees are very resilient, but they could attract unwanted animals to your property as well.

Citrus Tree Damage After a Freeze

During a hard freeze, many citrus trees in our area will take a big hit. The last thing a homeowner should do is run out and prune the damage. During the cold months, a few more freezes are likely. Pruning a tree in the cold stimulates new growth that is even more susceptible to freeze damage.

best fruit trees for Houston

The first thing to do is assess the damage to the tree, it’s branches, leaves, and fruit. If most of the leaves have dropped, the tree will likely recover as live wood will shed damaged leaves. If the damaged leaves stay on the tree for a prolonged period, there could well be dead branches that will need to be cut back to green wood. You may also find splits on the branches or trunk.

While this damage is unsightly, it does not necessarily mean the tree will die. Damage to the fruit is often dictated by the size of the fruit or the thickness of the rind. If the rind is still firm, check a few pieces to see if there is any damage to the interior. If the interior looks good you can wait to harvest when the fruit ripens naturally. If the rind is soft, the fruit is likely no good.

Bad fruit should be removed from the tree. Lightly trim the trees in late February or early March until you see green in the branches. Once we get to late March or early April you can do any major pruning and shaping of the tree.

Citrus trees that have gone through the stress of freeze damage will need to be fed and watered. We recommend using a slow release organic fertilizer to feed the tree.  In the meantime, use a frost cloth to cover the tree for any additional freezes that may hit us over the next few months. We recommend tenting the tree rather than wrapping the frost cloth around the tree.

Types of Oak Trees in Texas

When it comes to oak trees, there are several that will work great in Houston. Bur Oaks, for instance, are actually native to the Bayou City. They are excellent shade trees and perfect for larger properties. If you have a smaller property, though, keep in mind that the branches can reach out to lengths of 50 feet. Acorns may also attract vermin you don’t particularly enjoy.

Chinese pistache trees, on the other hand, are much smaller than Oaks. They are resistant to pests, drought and other dangers. It should be noted that, although it’s one of the best types of oak trees in Texas, it might not look beautiful during its “adolescent” years. With appropriate pruning, this awkward phase will quickly pass.

Best Shade Trees for Houston

If it’s a break from the sun you’re looking for, the cedar elm might be the best shade tree in Texas. Its luscious green leaves can reach out over 40 feet, and the eventual 50-foot height can provide shade for your entire property. Unfortunately, mistletoe and mildew are potential dangers.

Pecan trees are also great shade trees. They can span up to 50 feet wide. They could attract pests, but these annoyances focus more on the pecans than the actual tree.

Best Palm Trees for Houston

Depending on what you’re looking for, palm trees might just be the best trees for Houston properties. They give that perfect beach vibe for the Gulf of Mexico.

The Pindo Palm has gorgeous bluish-gray foliage, and it can survive temperatures that reach into the 20s. You’ll have to ensure that your property drains well, and you may spend plenty of time pruning the tree.

best palm trees for Houston

The Queen Palm is also a great palm tree for Texas. Since everything is bigger in Texas, it grows up to 50 feet tall and provides plenty of shade. Unfortunately, the Queen Palm is particularly susceptible to Ganoderma butt rot. This disease typically means the tree will die a slow and certain death.

Palm Damage After a Freeze

The only way to truly know if a palm is dead is to inspect the crown. This can certainly be a challenge as most palms are out of reach for the average homeowner. In this situation, I would recommend contacting a reputable tree company to inspect the tree for you.

If you have a smaller palm, and you have access to the crown, pull on the fronds in the middle. If they come out really easily, there is a good chance the plant is dead. If they do not, there is still a chance the plant can make it. Be careful about trimming of the fronds to early. If you trim these off and another cold spell hits our area, this could do more damage to the tree.

How to Grow the Best Trees for Houston

Just because you pick the right species when planting trees in Texas doesn’t guarantee success. Everything from turf competition to improper planting techniques can lead to failure in the growth of your trees. In fact, studies show that anywhere from 7 percent to 30 percent of planted trees die within 3-5 years.

The best plan of action for choosing the best trees in Houston is to hire a landscaper to ensure a better chance of selection and survival. With knowledge ranging from appropriate planting depth to which roots should be removed when transferring from pot to ground, tree professionals can make sure you get the most out of your investment.

Since landscapers can provide tips on how to appropriately care for your trees, you’ll have gorgeous flora for years to come. Contact Zodega today for help with your high-end residential landscaping in Houston.