Dallas Morning News - November 26, 2020
Best Big and Little Trees for North Texas
Bald Cypress is an excellent, large-growing deciduous tree but Montezuma cypress is more dependable, faster growing, almost evergreen and not fussy about soil type. Dawn redwood is similar in look and also well adapted.
Bigtooth Maple is the best maple choice. Caddo and Trident maples are also good choices but not silver maple, red maple and the smooth bark hybrids such as 'Autumn Blaze'. They have several built-in problems and are short lived.
Trident maple - an imported shade tree that behaves like a native
Bur Oak is an excellent large scale and long lived tree but messy with lots of huge leaves and acorns. Red Oaks and Live Oaks are high quality trees but they are susceptible to oak wilt and they have arguably already been over-planted. Canby oak (evergreen red oak), Mexican White Oak, Lacey Oak, Chinquapin Oak and Loquat Leaf Oak might be better choices – although harder to find.
Cedar Elm is the best elm choice with small leaves and decent fall color. The elms to avoid include American elm, Siberian elm and the imported lacebark elm.
Texas Ash is an excellent choice but Arizona ash, green ash and most of the other hybrids should be left at the nurseries.
Both hybrids and native pecans are excellent shade trees even though not the tidiest of trees. Magnolia is an excellent tree, especially the various evergreen choices. Eastern Red Cedar has an allergy causing reputation but is actually a good evergreen tree, especially the females with blue berries.
Italian Stone Pine is by far the best pine for north Texas. Austrian pine may be second best choice. The pines to avoid include most of the rest of them including slash, loblolly, Japanese black and Afghan pines.
Mexican Sycamore is the highest quality fast growing tree for here and other parts of the country. Our American sycamore is beautiful when healthy but has several pesky disease issues.
Fruiting cherries don't like it here very much, but the Escarpment Black Cherry and Red Canadian Chokecherry are just terrific. Crabapples do well and should be used more often.
Crabapple - one of the best but underused small flowering trees
It's hard to have enough praise for Japanese Maples in general, but my personal favorites include the green species choices, 'Orangeola', 'Crimson Queen' and a true dwarf sold as Murasaki kiyohime.
My favorite flowering trees include Crapemyrtle, Mexican Buckeye, Mexican Plum, Desert Willow, Eve's Necklace, Catclaw Acacia, Rusty Blackhaw Viburnum and Walter's Viburnum. Persian Ironwood and Paperbark Maple are two sleepers that are hard to find in the garden centers but worth the effort. Redbuds are beautiful but will sometimes break your heart with hidden stress leading to insect pests and diseases.
Dwarf Japanese maple - Murasaki kiyohime - Howard's favorite
The best palms -and they do well here in sun or shade- include Sabal Palm, Japanese Fan Palm, Needle Palm, Mediterranean Palm and Pindo Palm.
The best small evergreens include Yaupon Holly, East Palatka Holly and Eagleston Holly.