Figuring out the top trees to plant in Austin won’t give you one specific answer or list of trees. That is because everyone has personal preferences. Some homeowners want trees that provide shade while others want fruit-bearing trees. Size preferences can also vary greatly, meaning that the top trees for planting in this area will span a range of sizes and shapes.
How To Choose The Right Tree
Before getting into the top trees to plant in Austin, you need to understand the criteria. The best options will be trees that are native to the area since you know that they will get the proper amount of water, nutrition, and sunlight. You will also need to consider how large of a tree you have and the exact soil and light in the area. An arborist can help you with this so the trees you select thrive on your property.
Live oaks are among the most popular trees to plan in Austin and they are one of the many native trees to the area. The most common local species of live oaks are the interior and escarpment ones, but newer species of them have cross-pollinated, meaning that you have even more options. Most arborists will suggest going with a native live oak, however, since they grow more slowly but become much stronger. If, on the other hand, you need a live oak that will grow quickly and are okay with it being slightly weaker, opt for a Quercus virginiana.
Right after live oaks, the next most common trees in Austin are cedar elms, making them another great option for planting on nearly any property. Because they are native to Austin, these types of elms are tolerant to drought. They are recognized by their thicker cuticles that help them cope with dry and hot weather and smaller leaves. Cedar elms tend to be thicker than live oaks and their wood physiology is weaker. They also don’t compartmentalize rot as well, meaning they are more susceptible to damage.
Those in search of a medium-size tree may enjoy the American holly, which grows well in Texas and is native to the area. This type of tree does well with drought and areas with poor drainage although they prefer areas with heavy shade. It produces evergreen leaves with a glossy appearance along with bright red berries. Your arborist may even suggest American holly for use as a screen.
Bur oaks need a lot of room to grow, but if you have a large property, they are one of the best ways to add shade to your Austin property. After all, they can grow over 70 feet tall and produce large acorns and leaves. This tree traditionally preferred deep soil, but it does well in Austin soil as well. Best of all, it is tolerant to drought, attracts wildlife to beautify your property, and is resistant to deer.
These tree are great screening trees and they are drought resistant as well. They are an evergreen and often have an icy blue appearance to them. They are also fast growing once established.
This small type of tree grows fairly quickly, making it good for Austin homeowners who want to take full advantage of large trees in the near future but plant saplings. As a Texas native, this particular tree prefers heavy shade. Keep in mind, however, that it is prone to developing stem cankers so you will need to work with an arborist to keep eastern redbuds healthy. They do also grow pea-shaped flowers that are purple or pink during the early spring, beautifying your property.
Even though lacebark elms aren’t native to Texas, they do grow well in Austin, showing their ability to adapt. These trees grow fairly quickly and can get over 40 feet tall. They also resist disease and the leaves become a pretty shade of chartreuse before they fall off. You will need to give it an average amount of water.
Many Texas residents love the appearance of Mexican plum trees because of their small size and nice fall color that ranges from purple to red to yellow. Their fruit is edible and accompanied by bright white flowers. The only things to consider is that the fruit can create a mess and borers frequently attack the trunks.
This type of tree is sometimes called Mexican white oak and it is perfect for those who want to add shade to their property. It will usually spread about 40 feet and grow between 30 and 40 tall, creating plenty of shaded area. The medium dark green leaves shed in spring and this tree does best with lots of sunlight and some deep soil.
If you want Texas natives with pretty fruits, the possumhaw holly is a good option. This type of tree can handle drought and poor drainage along with alkaline soils, making them fairly resilient. It is, however, easy to damage the bark because it is thin. The berries grow in female plants and are orange or red in color.
Southern Red Oaks
Southern red oaks are also sometimes known as Spanish oaks and they have adapted to grow on limestone slopes in Austin, getting nutrition from the iron deposits. If your property has deeper soil, Southern red oaks can live for more than 100 years and become large. In areas with poorer soil, they will be smaller. Arborists will typically suggest these trees in areas with shaded root zones as this prevents bacterial leaf scorch.
As the name implies, Texas ash is another native species to Austin. These trees tend to be thinner and only live between 15 and 20 years. Their leaves are usually a deeper green and rounder. As a homeowner, you probably shouldn’t invest in Texas ash since they won’t last as long as other options. That being said, they have evolved to grow well in Austin so they require minimal care.