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Dallas Morning News - September 9, 2021

Tree Choices Part 2


For the next group of wonderful trees to consider, let's discuss Chinquapin Oak, Lacey Oak, Mexican White Oak, Bald Cypress and Bigtooth Maple.


Chinquapin oak is a large growing, graceful tree


Chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergi) is a graceful, large-growing, dramatically open tree with true chinquapin-type leaves and light gray flaky bark. Fall color is yellowish brown and not spectacular. Acorns are less of a clean up problem than other oaks because they are smaller and preferred by wildlife.


Lacey oak fall color


Lacey oak (Quercus laceyi) is a beautiful, drought tolerant, medium size shade tree with blue-green mature foliage and peach colored fall color. New growth in the spring is a similar color and a very pleasant feature. It would not be able to stand wet soil continuously. It is an excellent size for residential gardens and should be used more often.


Mexican white oak, sometimes sold as Monterrey oak


Mexican white oak (Quercus polymorpha) Confusingly sold often as Monterrey oak, this evergreen tree has leathery dark green distinctive foliage, is much cleaner than live oak and doesn't get overpoweringly large. It is a very tidy oak that is one of my favorites. The hard February freeze hurt it some but most of trees have bounced back well.


Montezuma bald cypress is almost evergreen in much of much of Texas


Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) is a deciduous conifer with a dramatic upright form, usually a strong central stem, pyramidal when young but spreading with age. Foliage is light green, lacy in texture and has reddish-brown fall color. The branching structure is layered and distinctive. Regular bald cypress does have knees.


Chlorosis (mineral deficiency) can be an issue when bald cypress is planted in alkaline soils. Trees from acid soil nursery conditions can sometimes struggle in our black and white soils. Bald Cypress trees propagated and grown in alkaline nursery conditions will grow well in most any soil. The difference is why you see beautifully healthy bald cypresses in Texas and others that are yellow, sick and not growing. Crown gall, spider mites, and bagworms will also attack these stressed trees. The Basic Organic Program will deter the pests, the Sick Tree Treatment will heal stressed trees but it's best to purchase bald cypress that are bred to be happy in high pH, alkaline soils.


Pond cypress and Montezuma cypress don't have that problem. Upright growing Pond Cypress has unfolded leaves forming a filament effect. Montezuma bald cypress leafs out earlier and holds its foliage longer in the fall, is fast growing, knee-less and my favorite cypress.


Bigtooth maple has golden and sometimes reddish fall color


Bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) is a beautiful upright to spreading tree with yellow to golden fall color. It can be easily grown in a variety of well-drained soils from sand to clays and even rocky areas. This wonderful tree has few pests, little if any cosmetic foliage damage in summer and should be planted more often. It’s the best maple choice.


Find more detailed info about these great plants in my Texas Trees book or on





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