This is the time of the year we really appreciate a good shade tree.
I have a bunch of favorite shade trees, but one of my favorites is a native — Chinkapin oak.
It has yellow fall color but it's not spectacular. It's mostly known for its beautiful structure — it gets really wide. It has really nice texture on the bark.
In fact, the bark is a light color, very distinctive. The acorns are medium sized on this tree. It's a good one for you to try — grows pretty quickly for an oak, as well.
This is Eve's necklace, a small- to medium-size tree. It's a native tree with a couple of unusual features. The foliage is interesting. It's different from many trees in that it has clusters of pinkish flowers in the spring and then in the fall it has chains or beads of black seeds. It is a legume.
Another interesting part of Eve's necklace is that it has green stems on young plants. It will grow in the shade — as an under-story tree or in full sun. It also has fairly decent yellow fall color.
One of the really great landscape trees is the shumard or Texas red oak. This is the best one of them all. Some people think those are two different species, and the only difference is what kind of soil they're growing in.
The red oak adapts to alkaline soils but will also grow in the low Ph soils, the rich sandy loam soils of the state.
The tree almost always has pretty fall color. Sometimes it will range from yellows into maroons. Sometimes it will just be a bright red. Unfortunately sometimes it will just turn brown, and the leaves can stay on the tree all winter or drop all at once in the fall.
Regardless, it's a big tree that lasts a long time. It's very healthy. If it's planted correctly and not over-watered it will live a very long time in your garden.