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Dallas Morning News - July 3, 2019

New Trees for Storm Replacement


Let's look at trees from a little different angle today. We suffered a tremendous loss recently when the big storm came through north Texas. For homeowners wanting to know what's best to plant to fill in the damage voids or just add some trees to your landscape, here you go.


I would plant a mix of Mexican sycamore, Mexican white oak, Texas ash, bur oak and pecan. Those are the fastest growing high quality big trees, especially the sycamore. I've left out live oak and red oak on purpose. They are great trees but there are just so many of them already and they are the two species most susceptible to oak wilt.


structure of sycamore tree
Structure of the sycamore tree 


Mexican sycamore is very fast growing and much more pest free than the common American sycamore. It has beautiful large leaves that are dramatically white on the bottom side. Fall color is typical sycamore yellow. Only slight negative is that it needs a little more water when young than any of the other trees mentioned.


Two views of Mexican sycamore



Texas ash is just fantastic. It grows quickly has few problems and sports dramatic fall color that will range from yellows, to oranges, to corals, to reds, to deep maroons on the same tree. The imported insect, pest emerald ash borer, is being warned of now but under the organic program that should not be a major concern. If it shows up, the Sick Tree Treatment is the solution. The lesser quality green ash and Arizona ash would be more susceptible, and should never be planted.


Mexican white oak
Mexican white oak


Bur oak is a grand tree that grows quickly, has dramatic structure, has few problems but just so-so yellow fall color. The huge acorns are an issue for some spaces. I would not plant this tree close to the house because the fall bombardments on the roof is loud. Ask me how I know.


Texas ash provides beautiful fall color
Texas ash


In the medium size category – bigtooth maple and Lacey oak are really hard to beat. The bigtooth is fairly fast growing, has excellent fall color that ranges from golden yellow to bright red depending on seed source and soil chemistry. It rarely has pest problems of any kind unless severely under stress from improper planting, contaminated soil, too much or too little water. Too little water would be rare because of its drought tolerance. Bigtooth sometimes displays marcescence and holds brown leaves through the winter but usually goes completely bare. Lacey oak has moderate growth with interesting spring and fall color. It's normally completely deciduous with attractive bare limbs in winter.


By the way – the ones I would not recommend planting in north Texas (and I used to recommend some of these trees) include Chinese pistache, hybrid red maples, sweetgum, lacebark elm and Chinese tallow.




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