The best time to plant trees in Houston is anytime from the beginning of Fall to the end of February, so there is time for them to establish their root system before the heat of summer and monsoons set in.  Whether picking a deciduous, citrus or flowering tree it is important that there is enough room for the roots and mature size of the tree. Research the potential size in the climate you are in and the amount of sun a species will need to decide on the best spot for your new addition.  

A new flowering tree would be a welcome splash of color in your landscape this Spring. Here are a few showy and hardy ornamental trees that will work well in Houston  A tree that is a true Southern beauty is a Magnolia. The stunning large white fragrant blooms last for six months and the leaves are waxy and evergreen. Little Gem will be a great choice for a smaller landscape.  Make sure of the variety because some there can grow to 70 feet tall.  

Crepe Myrtle is another variety that is synonymous with the South.  It can come in a variety of colors. Pick a sunny spot for this tree where you can enjoy the flowers that last from Summer into Fall, known as the flowering tree of 100 days.  The leaves are red in the fall and there is an attractive outer bark that peels off to reveal pink inner bark so there is year round interest. This tree does need proper pruning in the winter to control size and form.

Another long blooming tree is a Desert Willow or Chilopsis and there is a pink or purple variety.  Although it is a very low maintenance and fast growing tree it needs to be in an area that gets good drainage.  As its name suggests it can withstand the heat of the Texas summer. The long leaf is shaped like the willow but it is not part of the Willow family.  The flower is orchid like and it is multi stemmed growing more like a large bush. This tree is actually in the Catalpa family.

The tree that is one of the earliest to bloom is the Texas Redbud.  Their vibrant magenta flowers certainly makes it stand out. This tree a graceful shape reaching only 20 ft at maturity.  They can withstand drought and thrive even in alkaline soil. The leaf is heart shaped and it produces a 4” long seed pod that stays on the tree all winter.



Mulch around a newly planted tree is it’s best friend with these benefits listed by the Arbor Day Foundation.

  • Insulates the soil, helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold.
  • Retains water to help the roots stay moist.
  • Keeps weeds out to avoid root competition.
  • Prevents soil compaction.
  • Reduces lawn mower damage.

Mulching provides so many benefits -most important of all is a fast growing tree.  Research has proven that by placing a 3-6 foot natural mulch ring around your tree can double the growth rate.  

Remove all grass that will compete for the trees water supply.  The mulch should be 2-4 inches deep and not directly touching the bark.  The ring should be like bagel with a 3-6 inch hole in middle. More is not better, although you can see examples of how not to mulch in your neighborhood.  This results in reduced oxygen to the soil and will slow growth or result in death of the tree. The mulch will slowly be reduced as weather decomposes and wind blows it away so this is a yearly maintenance item in your yard.  The best mulch is organic wood chips so choose the one that fits your taste and budget.