The process of selecting the right trees that are suitable for our climate, soil, and heat is crucial for their health and survival. Houston’s climate is characterized by its heat, humidty, rain, mild winters, and occasional “rain events”. These conditions can pose challenges for certain tree species, making it essential to choose trees that are resilient and adaptable our swampy climate. By selecting the right trees you can reap benefits such as enhancing your property or yard’s aesthetics, increasing its value, improving air quality, providing shade, and supporting local wildlife. Let’s take a deep dive into the best native and non-native trees to plant on your property or yard in the greater Houston area.

Native Tree Species for the Houston & Katy Area

Click on the links below to jump to the section about each tree species.

Live Oak (Quercus virginiana)

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The Live Oak is an iconic shade tree in H-Town, known for its majestic appearance and broad, spreading canopy. It is well-adapted to Houston’s climate and soil conditions, making it a popular choice for landscaping. The Live Oak is an evergreen tree that when mature, can provides ample shade throughout the year. Its branches are strong, which helps it withstand storms and high winds. This tree is an excellent option for those looking to create a dramatic focal point in garden or yard.

Southern Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)

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The Southern Magnolia is another stunning native tree that thrives in our muggy climate. With its glossy, dark green leaves and large, fragrant white flowers, this tree adds an elegant touch to any outdoor space or garden. The Southern Magnolia is known for its durability and adaptability, making it an excellent choice for Houston’s weather conditions. It prefers well-drained soils and benefits from regular pruning to maintain its desired shape.

Eastern Red Cedar Trees (Juniperus virginiana)

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Red cedars are fragrant, ornamental trees native to the Katy and Houston area but can also grow toward the eastern seaboard all the way to Virginia. Berries produced by the tree are a staple for local wildlife including birds, squirrels, and other animals. Eastern cedar trees are highly adaptable and can thrive without very much water but still grow healthily in damp soil.

Two-Winged Silverbell (Halesia diptera)

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The American snowdrop tree, aka two-winged silverbell tree is an ornamental tree or large shrub native to East Texas that thrives in moist, swampy soil. Its white flowers resemble a candle in a candleholder and although they can grow to be about thirty feet tall, they are typically pruned back to be 10 to 15 feet tall.

Non-Native Tree Species Suitable for Houston

Click on the links below to jump to the section about each tree species.

While native trees are well-suited to Houston’s climate, there are several non-native species that can also thrive in the region. These trees bring diversity and unique characteristics to our outdoor spaces.

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

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The Crape Myrtle is a popular choice for its vibrant, long-lasting flowers that bloom all year long. Available in a variety of colors, including shades of pink, purple, and white, these trees add a burst of color to gardens, parks, and properties across our area. Crape Myrtles are relatively low-maintenance, adaptable, and resistant to pests and diseases. They require full sun and well-drained soil, making them an ideal choice for our hot, sunny climate.

Red Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

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The Japanese Maple is a stunning ornamental tree with exquisitely bright foliage, ranging in color from bright reds to deep purples and burgundy. Its delicate and intricate leaves create a beautiful contrast against other trees. While our local climate may present some challenges for trees like the Japanese Maple that requires partial shade and well-drained soil, with proper planning, care, and placement Japanese Maples can thrive here and become a captivating focal point.

Planting and Maintenance Tips

Site Selection and Preparation

Before planting a tree, it is essential to consider its growth requirements and choose an appropriate location. Select an area with adequate space for the tree to grow to its mature size without interference from nearby structures or utility lines.

Consider the structural integrity of nearby buildings’ foundations by installing a root barrier to prevent root encroachment when needed. Ensure the soil is well-drained and prepare the hole for planting accordingly, installing rocks, gravel, and/or sand when needed.

Watering and Mulching

Proper watering is crucial, especially during the establishment phase. Young trees require regular watering to develop strong root systems. Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree (but at least 5 inches away from the trunk) helps conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. However, ensure the mulch is not piled against the trunk, as it can lead to rotting, mold, and disease.

Pruning, Maintenance & Fertilizing

Regular pruning helps shape trees and can help you encourage growth in certain directions while discouraging it toward unwanted places such as buildings or your home. It is also important to carefully remove dead or diseased branches to promote healthy growth. It is important to follow proper pruning techniques to avoid damaging the tree. Additionally, monitoring the tree for signs of pests, diseases, or nutrient deficiencies and taking appropriate measures is essential for maintaining tree health.

Young trees may require bracing and supports to stabilize them, especially during hurricane season. They also require species and size-specific fertilization schedules, so have your Arborist document the tree fertilizing schedule, amount, and frequency needed for each.

Request a Tree Planning & Installation Consultation with an Arborist

Selecting the right trees for our local landscape is a decision that requires careful consideration. Contact Cody’s Tree Service, Inc. in Katy, Texas to speak with an Arborist and tree expert. Help promote a visually stunning and sustainable environment by hiring an Arborist to properly plan and plant trees suitable for the East Texas environment. Remember to follow proper planting and maintenance guidelines from your Arborist to ensure the long-term health, vitality, and to prevent drought stressed trees. Happy planting!

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