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psithurism - The sound of wind in the trees and rustling of leaves. Related to rustling.

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Mark Trail by Jack Elrod 4/10/22

Mark Trail by Jack Elrod 3/27/22

Rhymes with Orange by Hilary Price 3/22/22

Agnes by Tony Cochran 3/21/22

Wizard of Id by Parker and Hart 3/18/22

The Argyle Sweater by Scott Hilburn for March 01, 2022

B.C. By Mason Mastroianni, Mick Mastroianni and Johnny Hart 2/21/22

Baby Blues by Jerry Scott and Rick Kirkman 12/5/21

Don't mock 'tree equity.' It has health benefits. WP By Max Jordan Nguemeni Tiako and Eugenia C. South 12/9/21

As physician-scientists who conduct research on the impact of urban environments on health and safety, we are troubled by the casual disparagement of the Biden administration's proposal to plant trees in communities that lack them. The overall mocking tone of some criticisms of “tree equity” would be easy to ignore if our surroundings, generally, and trees, specifically, did not have a profound influence on our physical, mental and social health. But they indisputably do.

Equally indisputable is the fact that trees are not evenly distributed across communities. Formerly redlined Black neighborhoods have the least amount of green space today, while predominantly White neighborhoods have seen an increase in tree canopy cover.

We all have a right to benefit from trees, and numerous studies have demonstrated their value in addressing health disparities across the country.

Take, for example, the leading cause of death in the United States - heart disease. Living in a green neighborhood is associated with lower rates of heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes in older adults. A 2015 study estimated that living on a city block with at least 11 trees decreased the risk of heart-related conditions in ways similar to increasing an individual’s income by $20,000 or being 1.4 years younger. Our own research this year showed that lack of tree canopy cover in urban neighborhoods is associated with higher risk of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Do we need $3 billion for trees in cities?

Trees also help people feel happier, enhance well-being and improve mental health. In a randomized controlled trial, our team found that people living near newly greened spaces reported feeling less depressed than those who did not. Other studies show that people walking in green spaces show a decrease in blood flow to the part of the brain that fuels negative thoughts. People even write happier social media postings after spending time in a park.

Many may view nature as having primarily a decorative, beautifying role. But this beautification itself, the visual experience of nature, directly influences our body chemistry.

One example of this is the experience of stress, which can be a toxic antecedent to many health problems. Our team found that people who walked by a recently greened lot with new trees had a significant drop in their heart rate compared with people walking past vacant spaces, a marker of real-time stress reduction. We've also demonstrated a decrease in prenatal stress among pregnant people with depression and anxiety based on the number of trees near their house. And trees help people feel more connected to one another, which is an underappreciated boon to health.

Public safety is also impacted by trees. Well-controlled studies have found that drivers pay closer attention and are less stressed when driving on highways with trees compared with barren landscapes. In Philadelphia, our lab's work has shown that greening leads to reductions in violent crime and improvements in how safe people feel. Also in Philadelphia, research has found a correlation between more trees and fewer incidents of gun assaults among adolescents.

We don't need to just plant trees. We also need to take care of them.

One of the costs of being a lover of old trees is the all-too-frequent loss of a beautiful soul you’ve grown fond of. In nature, death is intimately bound to rebirth: old trees fall, decompose and become nurseries for new saplings. It’s a beautiful, life-sustaining cycle. In cities, that cycle is broken. There’s no room to allow fallen trees to decay; they are usually shoved unceremoniously into the wood chipper and consigned to a short, pathetic afterlife as mulch. And a gaping hole is left in the canopy; sky intrudes where there were leaves and life. There is no regenerative salve to soothe a grieving heart.

Trees are well known for filtering pollutants and thus improving air quality, which is linked to a range of health benefits. In hotter months, their shade significantly reduces ambient temperature; a study of 108 U.S. cities found that the difference in temperature between the hottest and the coolest neighborhoods was as great as 13 degrees Fahrenheit, much of it attributable to uneven distribution in the tree canopy. Extreme heat not only sends people to the emergency room for heat stroke - it also exacerbates chronic diseases such as renal disease, with increased rates of acute kidney injury during hotter months.

All these beneficial effects of trees are disproportionately lacking in poorer neighborhoods across the country. Unfortunately, the history of state disinvestment has rendered some residents in neglected neighborhoods skeptical of more recent tree-planting initiatives, seeing them as "disruptive green landscapes" that cities too often use for branding and attracting developers.

Natural outdoor environments' health effects in gentrifying neighborhoods: Disruptive green landscapes for underprivileged neighborhood residents

Elected officials must address these concerns by implementing policies to prevent disruptive gentrification, while guiding tree-planting to communities with the highest need.

Trees are not nice-to-have amenities, reserved for people and communities that have benefited from long-standing public and private investment. And the $3 billion proposed for tree equity is not a frivolous investment. Rather, trees are a vital part of neighborhood infrastructure. The Build Back Better plan to fund tree planting is an important step that would undoubtedly make us all safer and healthier.

The Fierce Politics of Dust: A small town in Utah wanted to suppress dust on its roads. Not everyone was pleased. WP By Joan Meiners November 30, 2021

All-terrain vehicles on untreated dirt roads and trails generate clouds of dust near homes in Duck Creek Village in southern Utah.

On a sunny afternoon in June 2019, in southern Utah’s remote alpine hamlet of Duck Creek Village, an elderly man shuffled between the ponderosa pines lining Erin DeLoe’s gravel driveway and asked her for $200. It was for the dust, she recalls him saying, a shared neighborhood problem. In response to increasing traffic from outdoor tourists on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and weekend visitors escaping Las Vegas or Salt Lake City, residents had hired a Wyoming-based company called Dustbusters Enterprises to spray their roads with a magnesium chloride solution meant to tamp down the dirt surface.

DeLoe, an accountant, was just back from a trail run and, admittedly, covered in dust. She told him she didn’t think she wanted to support that. Then she went inside to scour the Internet for information about magnesium chloride.

According to the research DeLoe found, magnesium chloride, a salt, can dry out roadside vegetation and even cause tree death. She would soon set out to bring this trade-off to light, sparking a two-year-long battle with her community over the health hazards of dust — and how best to keep a drought-stricken mountain town safe from the threat of wildfire and the downsides of tourism.

This past Labor Day weekend, DeLoe, her engineer husband, Matt, and their three young daughters led me around the side of their cabin, where they live when the girls are not in school in Las Vegas, to their forested backyard. Every few seconds, an ATV loaded with thrill-seekers and American flags zoomed into view along a network of hilly trails, leaving behind plumes of fine dirt. Over nearly 40 summers spent at the cabin, DeLoe has watched these paths multiply and widen.

In DeLoe’s view, the aspens, pines and white firs alongside the roads have grown increasingly stressed and dried-out. "I'd stop on my runs and kind of measure it out in my mind, how far these dying trees were back from the roadside," DeLoe had told me over the phone a few days before my visit. "At the time I didn’t really know about the mag chloride."

Although that day in June was the first the DeLoes had heard of it, magnesium chloride has been added, layer by layer, to dirt roads in many locations throughout Duck Creek for more than a decade.

The area has fewer than 300 full-time residents, but it can attract 25,000 visitors on a holiday weekend, according to Fire Chief Chris Rieffer. As the construction of more rental cabins and a pandemic boom in recreation tourism have given way to busier roads, residents, particularly those with health conditions, struggled to avoid being choked by dust. Some took it upon themselves to fund and coordinate annual treatments on roads in a majority of the 14 wooded neighborhoods.

"Come up here on a dusty day," resident Sam Stadtlander told me over the phone. "It's at levels so thick that if there's no breeze, it hangs up in the air and you can't breathe without coughing and wheezing."

Stadtlander co-owns the Cedar Mountain Country Store in Duck Creek Village. In years past, she has helped organize the magnesium chloride spray on central dirt roads lined by ATV rental lots and real estate offices. "In an area that makes its economics off of people enjoying the outdoors, we need the dust control," Stadtlander told me this spring. "It's been an ongoing source of contention." What she doesn't understand is why the county isn't paying for it. "They give out more building permits and encourage tourism that creates more traffic," she said, "but then they put the bill for dust control in our pocket."

And it doesn't come cheap. With an annual market value of about $300 million, according to a report funded by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2004 (the last year for which figures are publicly available), and application charges around $4,000 per mile of road, dust control is big business for companies like Dustbusters.

Meanwhile, federal fire suppression costs to taxpayers have risen tenfold since the mid-1980s, and salt-killed dry brush along roadsides - the kind of brush that scientists say could result from applying magnesium chloride - ignites easily.

The Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District, which serves the Duck Creek area, predicts a 20 percent increase in fire calls in 2021 over the 94 they received in 2020, according to Deputy Fire Chief Adam Scott. Record-setting drought conditions and low fuel moisture have resulted in an "almost 100 percent start rate from just a spark," he said.

In June, the lightning-sparked Mammoth Creek fire just down the road from the fire station spread to 566 acres in only a few hours, forcing residents of two nearby neighborhoods to evacuate. "It's exponential," said Scott. "The faster the fuel dries out, the trees and everything, that's how we’re getting the faster fires."

Duck Creek Village isn't the only community with these problems. As of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that there are 1.2 million miles of unpaved public roads in the United States. According to the 2004 EPA-funded report, 25 percent of unpaved roads were treated with a chemical dust suppressant at the time.

"Vegetation adjacent to the area where dust suppressants are applied could be impacted by airborne dust suppressants," reads the report, titled "Potential Environmental Impacts of Dust Suppressants: 'Avoiding Another Times Beach.'" (Times Beach, Mo., became a Superfund site after a dioxin-contaminated waste oil was used on its streets in the early 1970s for dust control.) "This includes browning of trees along roadways and stunted growth. These effects will vary since different plants have different tolerances."

In the mid-2000s, plant pathologist Betsy Goodrich, now with the U.S. Forest Service, researched impacts on trees of magnesium chloride used as dust control. Goodrich found elevated chloride levels in the leaves of trees up to 300 feet from the road, especially those along the downslope paths of water runoff. "The effects of salt on roadside soils and vegetation are well documented," Goodrich told me. "There are studies back to the 1960s that were looking at roadside tree health and its connection to de-icing salts."

"I think it's pretty common knowledge that the effects of salts can be detrimental to roadside vegetation." In response, the two Colorado counties she studied switched to using more environmentally friendly options. These products are still chloride-based, but they require less spray to achieve the same result and advertise the inclusion of a bonding polymer that helps keep the spray from running off the roads.

On another part of Cedar Mountain - the tree-inspired name given to this part of southern Utah, which includes Duck Creek - Mary Rossiter shares the DeLoes' concerns. The retired nurse, who uses supplemental oxygen to help her breathe at altitude, worries not only about the health implications of magnesium chloride ending up in the dust her asthmatic grandson inhales, but also about how the added salt might harm trees, wildlife and stream water quality. "The dust is always flying," Rossiter said. "And the mag chloride is really only a temporary fix even in the same year. I'm worried about the trees, because I do see a lot of dead trees."

From her lofted cabin porch, Rossiter directed my attention to a cattle guard across the dirt road just past her property, where the neighborhood dust control services stop. The difference in dust kicked up by passing traffic on either side of the barrier made it clear: Magnesium chloride works. But is it worth it?

Stadtlander thinks so. After 16 years of its use in town, she sees no evidence that trees are suffering. "I certainly don't want to kill trees, but I don't want to kill people either," she said. "I worry more about the visibility aspect from the high traffic. It's just constant clouds of thick dust."

Indeed, dust from unpaved roads is listed as a source of particle pollution by the EPA. It can enter the lungs and even the bloodstreams of those living nearby and lead to decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, nonfatal heart attacks and, in some cases, premature death. But dust particles generally belong to a size category not regulated under national air quality standards.

Visibility is also a real concern. Wade Wilkey, who has worked for the local Kane County Road Department for 22 years, believes that expanding the use of magnesium chloride on dirt roads will ease a rise in traffic accidents caused by billowing dust obscuring drivers' lines of sight. "That dust just rolls right up onto Highway 14," Wilkey said. "And it's just a major hazard."

For Erin DeLoe, the issue is all about trees. Shortly after she learned about the salt treatment, DeLoe got out a bucket of red paint and started labeling trees in her yard. She and Matt took leaf samples from five trees next to the road and two as controls much farther away. They mailed them to labs at Colorado State University and in Dodge City, Kansas, and paid $378 to have them tested for chloride content.

As we walked along the dirt roadway in front of their home last fall, Matt DeLoe showed me a small pine tree growing about 20 feet off the shoulder. The evergreen sagged to one side, its sparse needles entirely browned. "The chloride level in this tree is about 37,000 percent higher than a ponderosa pine at the back of our property," he said.

The DeLoes contacted Bryan Hopkins, a professor in the College of Life Sciences at Brigham Young University and a certified professional soil scientist, who told them that, yes, this level is extreme. "It's possible that they're just overdoing it, putting too much magnesium chloride down," Hopkins told me later. "But it's pretty obvious that's what the problem is in this area."

Both magnesium and chloride are essential nutrients that occur naturally and are used by plants, Hopkins explained. But "too much of a good thing can become a bad thing," he said, and excess quantities of salt cause leaves to wither and die. "I have observed hundreds of situations with dead or injured plants from applications along sidewalks and roadways where salts, such as magnesium chloride, are used for melting ice or dust control," Hopkins said. "It can kill plants if it's not applied correctly. We just don't have enough water in Utah to move salts out of the soil."

Armed with this evidence, in August 2020, the DeLoes decided to approach the Kane County commissioners on behalf of their trees. They learned that, starting in 2022, dust control was to be handled by the county's Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District. Surely, they thought, given increasingly devastating wildfires that ravage the forested dry West each summer, the fire district would want to prioritize keeping trees from drying out. But they say that, for months, they got no meaningful response from county commissioner and fire district board member Wade Heaton, who also ignored my repeated requests for comment.

So, the DeLoes started talking more and more to their neighbors about trees - and their neighbors started talking to each other about the DeLoes. On the community Facebook page where Erin DeLoe, who went by her initials only and didn't share a photo of her face, described their concerns and lab results, neighbors started calling her the "Tree Man" and mocking her attempts to protect nature over progress. Then the DeLoes' address was posted on the community Facebook page; soon after, ATVs began to accelerate past their house, kicking up extra dust. "On social media people will go back-and-forth about it," said Stadtlander, who thinks the whole issue is overblown. "It sounds to me like they just want to complain."

An ATV on a dirt road.

Disappointed by the lack of support for their cause, the DeLoes contacted Road Solutions, a contractor for Dustbusters that does the local spraying, to request that at least their street be spared from magnesium chloride treatment. Their cul-de-sac sees relatively little traffic anyway, they say, and the bigger problem near them is dust from ATV trails that isn't being addressed.

After I contacted Road Solutions for comment, Dustbusters Enterprises Vice President Nathan Prete replied over email: "There are always costs associated with introducing additional substances into an environment. Many studies have been conducted to assess the costs involved with treatments. The consensus among a broad cross-section of entities is that treatment for dust is necessary to protect not only the health of citizens but also other animals and the environment. Without treatment, airborne dust particles can be inhaled." He added that he'd spoken with Matt DeLoe about their preference to forgo treatment near their property: "While we sympathize with Mr. DeLoe's concern for his trees, our primary concern is with the health and safety of the general public."

The DeLoes think there must be another way to manage dust and public health: They want the fire district to consider alternative products such as the plant-based dust suppressant lignosulfonate. The product, the EPA suggests, might be preferable in agricultural areas because of known risks to crops from magnesium chloride, though it may not hold up as well under high traffic conditions.

Rossiter would also like to see other products considered, but she thinks a better solution might be for the county to pave heavily trafficked dirt roads. When the fire district announced its intent to take over coordinating all dust control services, Rossiter, like the DeLoes, contacted board member Heaton to express her concern about magnesium chloride and request that her road be exempted from treatment. She says he agreed to follow up but never did; her road was sprayed anyway.

She and her husband recently decided to give up on the Duck Creek cabin they built in 2013 and find a vacation spot at a lower elevation. "The county, the people that give the approvals for it, I don't feel like they're doing as much as they should do to make sure everyone is on board," Rossiter says. "I feel there are some really legitimate concerns [about magnesium chloride], but people are so worried about the dust that they don't think about what this could be doing long term."

Kane County did step up to address the problem - but not how the DeLoes or Rossiter may have wished: In summer 2021, officials agreed to grade, or mechanically smooth the dirt surfaces of, more roads in preparation for treatment by Road Solutions trucks.

ATVs in Duck Creek. As of 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that there are 1.2 million miles of unpaved public roads in the United States.

On a cloudy Tuesday morning this past July, Wilkey supervised the first-ever magnesium chloride application to a particular subdivision-access road from his white Kane County Road Department truck. He talked with locals as they passed, reminding them to get their cars washed so the sprayed salts don't corrode their vehicles. On select main, public roads, this project has been a priority of his for the past 20 years, he told me. He believes in Dustbusters' product. He has heard the concerns about it killing trees, but he doesn't put much stock in that. "If you apply a lot of product to a tree, it will kill it," he said. "It takes a lot of direct contact to do it. There's a lot of these roads up here that we've been mag-ing for 20 years now. There's maybe three dead trees that I can point out and say, 'I think mag had a part to do with that.'"

This summer, Road Solutions applied magnesium chloride to 45 miles of dirt roads across Kane County. The morning after the spray on that cloudy July day, a heavy monsoonal rain washed over Cedar Mountain, carrying a portion of those fresh, unsettled salts downhill off the roads. Ten days later, the Cedar Mountain Fire Protection District held a public hearing to discuss cost and which product it would use when it takes over dust control services in 2022. As had come to be expected, the DeLoes attended and Erin asked to speak.

Her voice shook with frustration as she addressed those gathered in person and over Zoom. She'd been pouring her heart and soul into this fight for more than a year. She'd consulted experts, gathered her own evidence, educated her community, called her representatives.

But when the votes were cast, she lost. In 2022, it was decided, every lot would be assessed a mandatory $100 special service district fee for magnesium chloride application. With 3,030 lots in the district, the budget for dust control would exceed $300,000. The district acknowledged concerns about trees but concluded that any other option was simply cost prohibitive.

Erin DeLoe spent the next day in bed with a migraine. Matt and the girls ate lunch, then went outside to check on a bird's nest. A month before, Matt had to cut down a sickly aspen tree that loomed too close over where the girls played. No one noticed the chickadee nest in an upper branch until it fell to the ground. Two of the chicks didn't make it, but the five humans had carefully attached the branch with the four surviving fledglings to another tree in their yard, hoping that nature might accept that solution.

Erin hopes to continue the fight. Her family might consider legal action or build a berm to direct runoff away from their trees. But in June, the chickadee parents returned to nurture their young in the new tree. And the DeLoes all took that as a very good sign.

Mark Trail, Jack Elrod 102421

Pakistan’s mission to plant 10 billion trees across the country, in photos. By Tik Root Aug. 20, 2021

A province first pledged to plant 1 billion trees in 2015. The initiative was so successful that the country is now in the midst of a 'Ten Billion Tree Tsunami' to fight climate change.

August marks the beginning of monsoon season in Pakistan, and with the rain comes another busy stretch for the country’s ambitious tree-planting program.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, residents of all stripes, from government officials to Boy Scouts, fan out along the hills. They bring with them chinar tree saplings - which can grow to nearly 100 feet tall - along with other varieties, and they begin digging.

The program addresses Pakistan’s history of deforestation as the country confronts the realities of climate change in the form of hotter temperatures, melting Himalayan glaciers and intensifying monsoon rains.

These scouts are accustomed to planting trees after being part of the program for three years. Not only do they see the endeavor as necessary to fight deforestation but they say it's entertaining, too. (Sarah Caron for The Washington Post)

Nurseries are developed with the help of local communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in April 2019. (Sarah Caron)

A view of the slopes in the Haripur area of Pakistan, where the project's trees were planted on private land a few years ago. The space has since been handed back to the local community. (Sarah Caron)

A student at a religious school takes advantage of a break to play in a wooded park in Islamabad on Aug. 4, 2021. (Sarah Caron for The Washington Post)

A cool idea for low-income urban areas hard hit by warming climate: More trees. By Alex Brown July 12, 2021

A conservation nonprofit group released a nationwide analysis last month showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have significantly less tree canopy.

That disparity is not unique to Seattle. American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based conservation nonprofit group, released a nationwide analysis last month showing that low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have significantly less tree canopy. Those areas also are more likely to suffer from the urban heat island effect caused by a lack of shade and an abundance of heat-absorbing asphalt. Heat islands can be as much as 10 degrees hotter than surrounding neighborhoods.

"We found that the wealthiest neighborhoods have 65 percent more tree canopy cover than the highest poverty neighborhoods,"said Ian Leahy, the group’s vice president of urban forestry. "As cities are beginning to heat up due to climate change, people are realizing that trees are critical infrastructure. I've never seen as much momentum toward urban forestry across the board."

They acknowledge how racist policies such as redlining have had a stark effect on the presence of urban green space, and that trees are important for public health. Some leaders have even pledged to use American Forests' "Tree Equity Score" to target their tree plantings in the neighborhoods that need it most.

Trees can't escape the extreme heat. But they do have some impressive coping mechanisms. WP By Adrian Higgins July 20, 2019

It can feel 15 degrees cooler beneath an old oak or maple, and a stand of them can create their own breeze as they forge their own microclimate. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

As you dodge sunbeams on a hellaciously hot and humid summer’s day, it’s worth remembering that you have a constant friend willing to take a photon to save you.

We refer of course to the humble tree, so seemingly passive and yet so instrumental in getting us through high summer in Washington. If its beauty were not enough, or its ability to mitigate greenhouse gases, the shade the tree provides is a real measure of relief from excessive summer heat. It can feel 15 degrees cooler beneath an old oak or maple, and a stand of them can create a breeze as they forge their own microclimate.

In an age of universal air conditioning, the sheltering value of a tree has become less obvious, along with the phenomena that allow it to ride out the heat wave in a way that we could not. Our forebears understood the value of getting to leafier, higher ground, even before expanses of asphalt and concrete created the heat islands of the modern city.

Chip Tynan, horticulturist at the Missouri Botanical Garden, said St. Louis has removed trees from once-leafy boulevards in advance of their slow death by the emerald ash borer. “It has created a whole lot of very hot streets,” he said.

Trees are, among other things, great columns of water, drawing moisture from the soil and exhaling it through the leaves. It has been estimated that a single apple orchard can lift 16 tons of water a day.

This is not to say that trees are not stressed by this heat or have not had to adopt mechanisms to cope with it.

As temperatures climb into triple digits and humidity raises the heat index to insane levels, trees adopt two basic and related strategies, said Todd Forrest, vice president for horticulture and living collections at the New York Botanical Garden.

The first is to wilt. Prolonged wilting in drought-stressed plants, especially young ones, can be deadly, but temporary wilting on established trees and shrubs is a defense mechanism and can occur even if soil moisture is adequate. By folding its leaves, the plant reduces its foliar surface area to sunlight and reduces the evaporative effects of the wind.

The second stratagem is to close the microscopic pores — stomates — found mostly on the undersides of the leaves. This shuts down transpiration and the gaseous exchanges needed for photosynthesis, in which the tree takes in carbon dioxide and releases water and oxygen.

When the heat is prolonged and the rain dries up, our temperate hardwoods react in progressively drastic ways, Forrest said. First they wilt, then the leaves show signs of scorching and then the leaves drop prematurely. He likens it to getting a tan, then sunburn, then heat stroke.

Tony Aiello, of the Morris Aboretum in Philadelphia, is less worried when trees go into stress mode after early August because by then they have made most of their growth and carbohydrate stores for the year. Late July’s extreme heat — the heat index was in the triple digits — was mitigated by its brevity and the abundant rainfall of recent weeks. "If we hadn't had the rain I think we would see a lot more leaves falling, a lot more browning," he said.

That applies to established trees with extensive roots sytems, but trees planted in the past three years still need help when it’s hot and dry.

They should get an inch of water a week during the growing season; some experts say two inches during heat spells. Casey Trees offers rain gauges and electronic alerts to help folks water young trees.

At the State Arboretum of Virginia in Blandy, Va., arborist Chris Schmidt spent much of the first day of the recent heat wave getting water to young trees there, including rare franklinia trees she has grown from seed. She recounted this while sitting under the shade of an old white pine.

We can retreat indoors if we have to. But Forrest, who has been around trees his whole career, still marvels at what they can endure.

They stand out in freezing weather, in blistering heat, in hurricanes, during droughts, and yet they soldier on while giving us (and other, more furry creatures) shelter and sustenance. We wouldn’t last long as trees, he muses. "Particularly if you had to get food from sunlight and carbon dioxide and water, with nobody feeding us steaks or raspberries."

On a micro level, trees shelter us from the infernal summer sun. On a macro level and in an age of global warming, the ability of trees to cool the environment while exchanging carbon dioxide for oxygen makes tree planting a no-brainer.

A study published July 5 by scientists in the Crowther Lab in Zurich identified more than 2 billion acres of land worldwide that is not densely settled or used for agriculture and could be forested to buffer climate change. Once mature, such forests could capture 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon. I’m not sure what a gigatonne is, but it sounds like a lot.

Human societies are complex and fractious and we live in the age of mammon, so there will be obstacles to such an idea. But we can plant trees individually, or see to it that our street trees are planted and cared for.

This is my standard advice about selecting and planting a tree: Be patient and plant a small tree, which establishes better than pricey big ones; give it space to grow; and pick a tree that works in your soils and climate but is a medium to slow grower. It will have stronger wood and stay in bounds. There are many beautiful trees that are of this continent, but a tree doesn’t have to be native to be virtuous.

As increased temperatures and extreme weather events become more frequent, the challenge is to pick tougher trees. Peter Del Tredici, a lecturer in ecology at MIT, recommends bottomland species — pin and willow oaks, for example — and trees that are inherently adaptable, such as the ginkgo. Most conifers find it too hot in low-elevation urban environments, with the exception of the bald cypress. “That can take a tremendous amount of heat,” he said.

Del Tredici said the recent heat wave "is a precursor of coming attractions. We have to think about future conditions and which trees are more tolerant of heat and drought."

Red And Rover, Brian Basset-042521

Trees talk to each other and recognize their offspring mycelia (the main body of fungi, as opposed to the more well-known fruiting bodies - mushrooms) acting as a sort of old-school planetary internet is still a fairly recent one, and may serve as a spore of a new breed of forestry, ecology, land management.

the lure of reductionist thinking, with a tree being considered merely a commodity in the forest, which can be replaced simply by planting another tree. In fact, many reforestation efforts are considered successful when a large number of trees are replanted in areas where clearcutting has rendered large tracts of land treeless, even if those replanted trees are essentially turning a once diverse forest into a monocropped 'farm' of trees.. As Simard, who has put in about three decades of research work into Canada's forests, puts it, "A forest is much more than what you see."

Watch the video at the end.

Orangutan in Borneo

could Douglas fir recognize its own kin, like mama grizzly and her cub? So we set about an experiment, and we grew mother trees with kin and stranger's seedlings. And it turns out they do recognize their kin. Mother trees colonize their kin with bigger mycorrhizal networks. They send them more carbon below ground. They even reduce their own root competition to make elbow room for their kids. When mother trees are injured or dying, they also send messages of wisdom on to the next generation of seedlings.

Orangutan in Borneo

Video on Trees Mychorhizal networks at second half of video.

Trees in the forest are social beings From counting and learning to communicating and caring for each other, the secret lives of trees are wildly deep and complex.

"They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the 'Wood Wide Web' – and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots."

These are just a few of the secrets that Peter Wohlleben, a German forest ranger and best-selling author, has learned about trees.

Upon coming across a duo of soaring beeches in the forest, Wohlleben, the author of the runaway hit book “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries From a Secret World,” observes:

“These trees are friends. You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t block their buddy’s light.”

“Sometimes," he adds, "pairs like this are so interconnected at the roots that when one tree dies, the other one dies, too.”

For someone (me) who has can’t help but to anthropomorphize trees, these words ring deep and true. And Wohlleben’s work could be changing the way we think about trees.

Trees Communicate With One Another, Connected by Fungi (Video)

Photo: Giant sequoias put things in perspective Few things can make us wee little humans feels as small as gazing at a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), seriously! Consider this, the giant sequoia known as General Sherman tree – the largest, by volume, known living single stem tree in the world – reaches a height of 275 feet, diameter of 25 feet and estimated bole volume of 52,513 cubic feet. And its 2,300–2,700 years old! The Parker Group of giant sequoias, shown here in a photograph by Rick Derevan, lives in the same place as the General – Sequoia National Park in California – and is one of the finest clusters of the big guys in the park. Respect!

1/4/17 email from Treehugger:

Guujaaw, a former leader of the Haida people, wrote about the ritual before cutting down a tree: "The man embraced the tree, honouring the life that was to be taken; for he knew each tree, each plant, each animal, is a living spirit, like ourselves."

Sustainable forestry is about more than just trees: it's also about culture, history and politics Before one can even begin to discuss sustainable forestry on Haida Gwaii, the islands off the coast of British Columbia that used to be called the Queen Charlotte Islands, one has to discuss the extraordinary history of the Haida themselves, their relationship with the islands and with the trees. I visited the islands recently as a guest of The Rainforest Alliance, to see their sustainable forestry operations, learned that the story of the Haida and their forestry is far more interesting and complicated than I realized.

Lloyd Alter photo of photo in museum/CC BY 2.0

Around 1850 there were thirty thousand Haida living on the islands, and they were among the richest and most successful peoples on the West Coast. They lived on fish and the products of the forest, worked iron recovered from shipwrecks and travelled up and down the coast in their giant canoes. They developed a rich cultural life and great art, the most famous being their carved poles. The poles were carved from the giant cedar trees, which also provided bark that was woven into fabrics.

The Haida don’t look at trees, plants or animals as simply things to harvest, or think of themselves as something different- they are all part of the land. One of their leaders, now known as Guujaaw, wrote:

In the olden days, the cedar tree was carefully chosen for use. The man embraced the tree, honouring the life that was to be taken; for he knew each tree, each plant, each animal, is a living spirit, like ourselves.

Giant cedars were taken apart and reassembled to house and home the people of the islands. From beautifully carved cedar utensils, they ate their food. In the cedar, they portrayed their identity; while visions and stories sprang to life. On the cedar, they travelled and hunted and battled. With the chips, they warmed their back. Yes, all the wood was accounted for. Cedar was very much a part of life.

In 1863 an English ship dumped a sailor sick with smallpox on the island. It and other diseases like tuberculosis spread through the Haida and killed almost all of them; a 1913 census found exactly 597 of them left.

© Taan Forest

The Haida set up their own forestry company, TAAN Forest, and ended up controlling more than half of the lumber rights on the newly renamed Haida Gwaii, or land of the people.

Every tree is a splinter of Haida culture embodying not only their ancient history and lifestyle, but the more recent struggles to stop massive clearcutting, create forest reserves and parks, regain control of the islands, achieve recognition as a people and a surprising degree of political control and independence.

It is clear that trees on Haida Gwaii are much more than just lumber to chop down and sell; they are part of the people's lives. As Guujaaw noted, without them, they are not Haida.

Trees form friendships and remember their experiences [Peter] Wohlleben is a German forester and the best-selling author of The Hidden Life of Trees. He has spent decades working with our arboreal cohabitants and getting to know their secrets.

It may come as little surprise that we've written about the tree-whispering Wohlleben before. First there was Trees in the forest are social beings, followed by Trees can form bonds like an old couple and look after each – and thus it appears that whenever I read another interview with Wohlleben, I can’t help but to write again. The following comes from an exchange with Richard Schiffman at Yale e360. The whole interview is poetry (hey, poetree!) but I especially love when he talks about trees and memory:

We had a heavy drought here. In subsequent years, the trees that had suffered through the drought consumed less water in the spring so that they had more available for the summer months. Trees make decisions. They can decide things. We can also say that a tree can learn, and it can remember a drought its whole life and act on that memory by being more cautious of its water usage.

In the meantime, don't forget to hug a tree. It may even remember that you are a friend.

5 reasons not to underestimate the power of plants and trees These scientists say that respecting and understanding plants and trees is essential for our future.

This is what the BBC World Service Inquiry program wondered when they asked four scientists what they thought about plants. Here’s the takeaway:

1. Plants could be cognitive and intelligent

Professor Stefano Mancuso runs the International Laboratory for Plant Neurobiology at the University of Florence. In an experiment with two climbing plants, they found that both competed for a single support when it was placed between them. The plant that didn’t make it to the pole first immediately “sensed” the other plant had succeeded and started to find an alternative. “This was astonishing and it demonstrates the plants were aware of their physical environment and the behavior of the other plant. In animals we call this consciousness. We are convinced that plants are cognitive and intelligent.”

2. They're all brain; and we're dependent on them

Mancuso continues, "Plants distribute all along the body the functions that in animals are concentrated in single organs. Whereas in animals almost the only cells producing electrical signals are in the brain, the plant is a kind of distributed brain in which almost every cell is able to produce them." Underestimating plants can be very dangerous, he says, "because our life depends on plants and our actions are destroying their environments."

3. They could be sentient beings

Professor of forest ecology in the department of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia, Suzanne Simard talks about the ways in which trees are linked together underground. She has studied this "wood wide web" and says that trees communicate with each other and then behave in certain ways.

"We grew Douglas fir in a neighborhood of strangers and its own kin and found that they can recognise their own kin and we also grew Douglas fir and ponderosa pine together. We injured the Douglas fir by pulling its needles off [aww], and by attacking it with western spruce bud worm [ouch], and it then sent a lot of carbon in its network into the neighboring ponderosa pine. My interpretation was the Douglas fir knew it was dying and wanted to pass its legacy of carbon on to its neighbor, because that would be beneficial for the associated fungi and the community.”

Simard says that we should shift our thinking and change our attitude which would be beneficial for our forests. "We haven't treated them with respect that they are sentient beings.”

4. They can help us better understand nature to advance our future

Dr. Barbara Mazzolai is the coordinator at the Centre for Micro-BioRobotics at the Italian Institute of Technology. She uses plants as a biomimetic starting point to design robots. So smart.

She says they can use a plant-inspired robot for environmental monitoring, space applications or rescue under debris, "because it can adapt to the environment like a natural system. The robot doesn't have a predefined structure, but can create on the basis of need."

"Medical robotics could also be a key application," she adds. "We could develop new endoscopes that are soft and able to grow inside living human tissues without damage. Plants are underestimated. They move under the soil and it's difficult to understand the behavior of these systems. But they have features that can really help us understand nature."

5. Their ability to adapt is crucial for us to learn from

"There's information being exchanged between roots and leaves and flowers and pollinators and the environment all the time. The plant is making 'decisions' – should I change 10 degrees to the left, five degrees to the right? Is it time to flower now? Is enough water available?”

Chamovitz says that in our modern environment – with its global warming, changes in precipitation, and shifting populations – we need to learn from plants about how they respond to their environment and then adapt.

"We've completely underestimated plants. We look at them as inanimate objects, completely unaware of the amazing, complex biology that allows that plant to survive."

If we don’t learn from them, he says, “we might find ourselves in a big problem 50 to 100 years from now.”


Countryside Trees local SA nursery. 290 Meadow Glade San Antonio, TX 78227. see map 410 west to exit 151. Phone: 210-674-1693.

TAMU Tree Guide shows pictures of every tree for texas

Video: Half of Earth's Trees Are Gone and Humans Are to Blame New study from space shows there are 3.04 trillion trees on earth. 422 trees for every human on the planet. Humans are responsible for 15.3 billion trees per year--two and a half times the number of people on the planet. From the beginning of human civilization, we are responsible for the loss of 45% of the earth's trees. Trees provide us with oxygen, trees cool our environment and help to deflect the island heat effect, they sequester carbon, and they purify the air by capturing air pollutents.

Scientists have discovered that living near trees is good for your health the study similarly found that an increase of 11 trees per city block was “comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000

Video: Top 10 Amazing Trees in The World

SAWS Garden Style San Antonio covers gardening, plants, trees, and discounts currently available

SA Shade Tree Rebates

Rebate Application

SA Shade Tree Guide

Fungi Perfecti

Fungi Perfecti on Paul Stamets

Stamets Articles

6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World

Video: Paul Stamets - The Future is Fungi [how to save the planet]

Discover Magazine: How Mushrooms Can Save the World: Crusading mycologist Paul Stamets says fungi can clean up everything from oil spills to nuclear meltdowns.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Immune System Fight Cancer by Paul Stamets

Return of the Fungi Paul Stamets is on a quest to find an endangered mushroom that could cure smallpox, TB, and even bird flu. Can he unlock its secrets before deforestation and climate change wipe it out?

Mycorrhizae of Landscape Trees

Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis increases relative apoplastic water flow in roots of the host plant under both well-watered and drought stress conditions Conclusions: The ability of AM plants to switch between water transport pathways could allow a higher flexibility in the response of these plants to water shortage according to the demand from the shoot.

Heritage Tree: the Ben Milam Bald Cypress on the Riverwalk

All you ever wanted to know about Mycelium

Some fungi help plants to grow

Rooted in the World a book by Craig Holdrege

Glossary of Tree Health Terms covers a lot of fungi


Trees for the Future A new study has shown that we have cut down 46% of all the trees we once had on Earth…

Arbor Day Foundation

The Tree Guide This tree guide is a wealth of information on height and spread, soil and sun requirements, leaves, history, wildlife habitat and more.

Tree Nursery buy small trees for planting

Plant a Billion Trees Forests Help Sustain All Life on Earth; Forests Produce Clean Water; Forests Naturally Filter Air; Forests Regulate the Global Climate; Forests Support People and Nature

American Forests protecting & restoring forests.

Forests are complex ecosystems in which plants and animals coexist with one another. Trees are the dominant species in forest ecosystems and are important to maintaining a healthy planet. As the Earth’s great air conditioners, trees rid the air of excess carbon dioxide and other pollutants to improve air quality. Their shade cools the air in summer, and they also filter water, trap particles to make soil and help regulate climate patterns around the world. It is important to understand that in both rural and urban areas, trees provide valuable services that have a direct impact on our lives.

"In one day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of H20 and discharge it into the air" --American Forests.

Alliance for Community Trees

Grow Forests

Arbor Gate blog: Finding Comfort [after surgery]

Pine trees have a long history of healing, so I try to partake as often as possible. Therefore, my first real outing since my surgery was to attend the Longleaf 101 Academy in Jasper where for three days the Longleaf Alliance out of Alabama trained us, toured us, and tested us. I do love seeing what rare glimpses we have left of these once majestic longleaf pine forests. Texas once boasted 3 million acres of virgin longleaf pine forests but sadly all were cut for timber early in the 20th century. Thankfully, a passionate group of brave souls is promoting the regeneration of and planting new seedlings for the future. Any sites that William Bartram described in 1791 as “vast forests of the mostly pine trees that can be imagined” certainly deserve our preservation and restoration. With only 3 million acres of the original 90 million that existed in the South, the longleaf pine ecosystem is considered one of the most threatened in North America. The almost unbroken stand of longleaf that stretched from Texas to the East Coast was the largest ecosystem dominated by a single species on the continent. I can’t help but think of the now extinct Passenger pigeon which was once considered the most populous bird on the continent.

Posted to Davey Facebook page 2/13/16:

I would never use Davey Tree again. They planted a Montezuma Cypress for me, and they did everything wrong. They told me to plant at the wrong time, they purchased a root bound tree [girdled roots] and then they planted it too deeply. Much of this was admitted to me by one of their "experts."

They also knew nothing about mycelium, which was why I went to them in the first place. The extension agent said they knew all about it.

I would not recommend them to anyone.


Ranges of trees and mycorrhizal status Most mycorrhizal root infections operate as a mutualism, with the plant providing the fungus with energy for respiration in return for minerals and resources that would be otherwise more difficult to access in soil. The relationships between a plant and its mycorrhizae can significantly affect the growth, survival, and fitness of the plant. In the set of tree species for the FOR305 ID Test, there are two functionally distinct types of mycorrhizae—vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM), which penetrate the root’s cell wall and Ectomycorrhizae (ECM), which do not.

The two mycorrhizal types examined in this paper are defined structurally. Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizae are formed by glomeromycetous fungi. VAM create arbuscles – branched exchange structures – inside the root, notably penetrating the walls of interior root cells (Bagyaraj, 1991; Wang et. al., 2006). Ectomycorrhizae are formed by basidiomycetous and ascomycetous fungi, and create exchange structures known as Hartig nets between cortical root cells. Hartig nets do not penetrate cell walls (Mukerji et. al. 1991). ECM are generally exclusive to perennials, a relationship attributed to the success of perennials in low nutrient, disturbed, and stressful habitats

Mycorrhizae can benefit plants in a range of ways.In general, mycorrhizae have the ability to gain resources that plants cannot adequately access. Because they have a smaller diameter than that of root hairs, fungal hyphae are better able to colonize pores in the soil (Allen, 1991). As noted by Eissenstat, a smaller diameter means a higher length:root mass ratio, which is generally beneficial, as root uptake is primarily correlated with length rather than mass (1992). Benefits are not always constant over the life of the plant. For some species, mycorrhizal infections have a negligible effect, except in times of resource stress, most often drought (Allen, 1991). In these cases, the mycorrhizae are not a continual mutualistic partner, but an “insurance policy.” Mycorrhizae can also be important during early development, giving seedlings a readily accessible network of resources (Allen, 1991). This is especially true if the surrounding plants are closely related, as networks of mycorrhizae between hosts have been shown to allow nutrients to transfer in any direction, and in a way which prefers hosts which are most genetically similar to other hosts in the network (Dighton, 2003).

Over evolutionary history, mycorrhizal status of a species converts from VAM-associated to more “advanced” statuses, such as ECM-associated, on many independent occasions (Wang et. al., 2006). Wang describes the strategy of ECM association as short-term, an opportunistic response to more strenuous environmental conditions, which explains why there are many independent conversions to ECM association, and yet VAM association is still dominant.

Since the ancestor to VAM is thought to have been a key innovation which allowed the evolution of land plants, this would suggest that more primitive groups of species would be more dependent on VAM assocations. Any other species group that showed similarly primitive traits, specifically root hairs that are coarse and sparse, is likely to have a strong VAM association to help improve nutrient intake (Bagyaraj, 1991). This is supported by the findings of Smith and Read (2008), who showed that VAM roots were often more efficient in nutrient acquisition per unit length than non-infected roots.

Chalot and Plassard (2012) noted that VAM play a major role in increasing nutrient uptake, especially for phosphorus, but have limited capacity to release nitrogen or phosphorus from inorganic forms. Conversely, ECM can actively take up inorganic nutrients and provide them to the host. From this, it can be seen that VAM and ECM provide nutrients to their hosts in functionally different ways.

The most prominent orders that were found to be obligate to Ectomycorrhizae were the Pinales and Fagales (Table 2). This is consistent with the findings of Wang et. al. (2005), who showed that Pinaceae and Fagales were dominantly ECM obligate. From analyzing the numerous instances when ECM associations evolved, Wang et. al. hypothesize that the majority of ECM hosts typically grow in nutrient-poor environments, and descend from clades that used to live in less stressful environments; for example, Rosids such as the Malvales. Ectomycorrhizae are known to sometimes have associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which would help in the colonization of areas with resource limitations (Trappe, 1987).

Ectomycorrhizae are more active in nutrient intake. They are also known to secrete enzymes to break down the litter layer in order to gain better access to nutrients (Chalot and Plassard, 2012). Furthermore, while VAM are known to branch into a fan-shaped pattern, the outer extent of ECM, the mycelium, forms a net-shaped structure, which allows for better substrate colonization (Allen, 1991).

The mycorrhizal status of the species examined was dominantly obligative, with associations with Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizae being common, associations with Ectomycorrhizae being secondary, prevalent especially in species that range in nutrient limited conditions, and with a small group of species that displayed flexible associations.

The defining characteristic of trees is the extensive production of woody tissue, an undertaking which requires good access to nutrients. It is not surprising then that most trees have mycorrhizal associations, as these mutualisms tend to improve nutrient access. The most influential factor for determining VAM versus ECM status seems to be environmental stress, a hypothesis which is supported by the many parallel occurrences of ECM status corresponding to nutrient stress found by Wang et. al. (2006). From the ranges analyzed in this paper and current knowledge of the differences between VAM and ECM fungi, it seems that resource trade-offs play an important role in determining the success of both types of associations. Therefore, through various mechanisms, environment is the main factor which determines mycorrhizal status in trees.

Observations of Mycorrhizal Inoculation of Pin and Scarlet Oak Production In Containers thesis by Thomas P. Martin at Virginia Polytechnic Institute... best protocol for inoculation of landscape trees... ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) have emerged from this research and are now being marketed for landscape tree growers... trees grown in pine bark, sterilized pine bark, sterilized mineral soil, and sterilized vermiculite-based substrates were inoculated with Pt commercial spore inoculum... and vermiculite was a superior environment for mycorrhizal formation than the other three substrates... Scleroderma bovista did not affect tree growth

Montesuma Cypress


Montezuma Cypress Ahuehuete became the national tree of Mexico in 1910.[5] The tree is sacred to the native peoples of Mexico, and is featured in the Zapotec creation myth

Facebook: Friends of the Montezuma Cypress

Montezuma Cypress at our Texas Tree Farm

Montezuma bald cypress, Montezuma cypress, Mexican cypress, Ahuehuete, Sabino There is a weeping form.

Faster growing than Bald Cypress in good conditions and semi-deciduous in winter. Could suffer winter damage in Central Texas northward. A cone bearing plant, Montezuma Cypress cones open in February and seeds ripen in October after flowering in March or April. Seeds are released upon cone ripening, and germinate as soon as moisture conditions permit.


Use Ornamental: Fall conspicuous, Attractive, Long-living

Use Wildlife: Nesting site, Cover, Substrate-insectivorous birds, Seeds-Small mammals

Interesting Foliage: yes

MC Blog How much and how often do you water your MC trees? It may take a couple years to establish them in that size so you probably would have to water deeply every week till the heat breaks. Did you provide mulch for them as well? If not, please mulch around them within 5 feet diameter. Spread compost on the ground thinly then use 3-4 inches layer of aged hardwood or cedar mulch... My weeping MC from Madrone is doing quite well. I paid $13 for a (I believe) 2.5 gal tree - maybe 1 gal. It was just a little smaller than the NMMC I acquired from an unnamed source. The NMMC, btw, is growing extremely well, also. When my battery charges back up, I'll post a picture of that one, too. The leaf structure between these two trees is very different. The NNMC has larger leaves (longer and broader). It also kept its old leaves until, well, NOW. I can still find some leaves from last year (red/brown). It has grown at least 18" this year already... I agree my 'weeping' form doesn't 'weep' like the BC weeping variety. Mature ones are shaped much like a live oak - very round. I've left most of the 'shrubby' limbs on it to help it build mass. I trimmed up about 18" last winter just to mow under it, but you can see it doesn't like being 'nekkid'. It just grew that 'fuzz'... MCs tend to look different from each other much like bald cypress. Short and wide, tall and skinny, etc, you get the idea. Some are just weepy. Some are just upright. Sometimes, it's just better to go with named cultivar if you're looking for specific growth habit. 'Sentindo' is a weepy type. Nanjing beauty is more of columnar type with upright branches. I have this one and so far, I like it... There does seem to be considerable variation in the M.C.s. The ones we bought from Madrone Nursery and at a plant sale at the Heard Natural Science Museum several years ago have a more weeping, bush-like habitus, not like the ones I got from Creech and the one on Wilson Street. They all seem, once established, amazingly tough.

Taxodium mucronatum a huge tree in its native habitat and is pyramidal when young with a dense crown but, like Baldcypress, eventually develops into a broad-topped, spreading, open specimen when mature with pendulous branches (Fig. 1). Capable of reaching 100 to 150 feet in height, most landscape specimens will reach this height. The pale green, needle-like leaves are only deciduous in the colder sections of its range, remaining evergreen elsewhere. The trunk grows unusually thick toward the base, even on young trees... Its delicate, feathery foliage affords light, dappled shade, and the heartwood of Montezuma Baldcypress is quite strong and resistant to rot... Roots: surface roots are usually not a problem... The roots probably will not lift sidewalks and curbs as readily as some


Fruit shape: oval; round
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches; .5 to 1 inch
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: brown
Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; inconspicuous and not showy; no significant litter problem

Flower characteristics: inconspicuous and not showy; spring flowering

A&M on the Ahuehuete Montezuma Baldcypress, or Taxodium mucronatum


Male "flowers" in long clusters that resemble oak catkins, 6" to 12" long, with the individual flowers spread out spirally along the central thread-like stem; female "flowers" are small and inconspicuous swellings on the previous year's branchlets.


A round cone, to 1" in diameter, surface rough, green and glaucous at first, but turning brown and woody later.

NANJING BEAUTY is a conical, deciduous to semi-evergreen conifer with needle-like leaves. It is a hybrid cross of Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) and Taxodium mucronatum (Montezuma cypress). This cross was made in China in the late 1970s to early 1980s by Dr. Chen Yong Hui of the Nanjing Botanical Garden. NANJING BEAUTY is noted for its rapid growth rate, ease of rooting, high alkalinity resistance, good fall foliage retention and absence of knees.

Cypress Trees of Central Texas by Keith Brown, April 27, 2011. Cypress trees are my personal favorite group of conifers. The five cypress trees I’ll discuss here are very different in appearance. I see a lot of amateur gardeners try to identify conifers based on leaf type, but this doesn’t work. It’s the seeds that give them away. There are two genera of the cypress family that do well in central Texas that I’ll be discussing in this article: Cupressus (Arizona, Italian and Leyland) and Taxodium (Bald and Montezuma). The two groups have very different foliage. Cupressus have scale like foliage much like most junipers and Taxodium have oppositely arranged needles along branchlets.

The montezuma cypress is nearly identical to the bald cypress in appearance. There are a few main differences:

Montezuma cypress is less likely to produce “knees”, above ground roots for anchorage and oxygen absorption
hold foliage longer into fall and winter, bringing more greenery into the winter months
faster growth rate
darker green foliage

The Montezuma cypress might be a better tree to plant in an urban landscape than the bald cypress. Although I hate to recommend a non-native over a native tree, the better growth rate and reduced likelihood for knees are significant considerations in most landscapes.

MC: Brazos Master Gardeners While taxonomists disagree on its classification, this wonderful tree is closely related to T. distichum (bald cypress) and shares most of its outstanding characteristics, yet is distinct. Plant habit Medium to tall tree with an open, spreading habit (Bald cypress is upright and dense)

Growth rate: Slow to fast, depending on water availability and soil fertility, Extremely long lived

Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions. Sheds foliage quickly when temperatures drop to 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Yellow fall color is insignificant.

MC: Dave's Garden

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

MC: Federal Database grows naturally in same environments as mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa).

Rehabilitation: Montezuma baldcypress is being planted along the banks of the Rio Grande in an effort to restore natural ecosystems on sites that were cleared for agriculture.

Other Uses: Montezuma baldcypress is planted as an ornamental [4,12]. It is an important medicinal plant and may have been considered sacred by some Mexican civilizations. A gummy resin produced after the tree is wounded was used to cure skin diseases, wounds, ulcers, gout, and toothaches by the Aztecs; some of these uses continue in popular practice. Pitch produced by burning woodchips in a reducing atmosphere was used as a cure for bronchitis. The leaves were used as a relaxant and a cure for itching. The bark was used as a diuretic and an emmanagogue (an agent promoting menstruation)

Seedlings are subject to herbivory by rodents; greenhouses have to be rodent-proofed. Rabbits will gnaw the bark of outplanted seedlings and saplings

No vegetative reproduction has been reported for Montzuma baldcypress

A Visit to Brownsville’s Secret Montezuma Cypress Grove In March the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club visited the largest remaining grove of Montezuma cypress trees (Taxodium mucronatum) in South Texas. These majestic trees are growing along the banks of a Brownsville, Texas resaca, an oxbow lake that was once a channel of the ancient Rio Grande. Enormous Montezuma cypresses once lined the banks of the river and all of the resacas that snake throughout Brownsville, but the wood was highly prized for its water resistance, and the trees were cut and used to build the wharves for early Brownsville’s port.

There are only a few large trees left along the Rio Grande watershed, and the Brownsville site is one of only 2 actual groves remaining. The cypress’s seeds need to float in water for a time in order to germinate, so the end of ancient natural flood cycles in the highly engineered watershed, along with the mowing of stream and resacabanks, has kept them from making a natural comeback.

The Rio Grande Valley is the northernmost range of the Montezuma cypress, which is the national tree of Mexico. The Aztecs called it ahuehuete, old man of the water, and once upon a time, when wetlands and resacas were plentiful around river systems, these “old men” grew to enormous sizes. They are, after all, in the same family as giant sequoias and redwoods. The “Tule Tree” in Oaxaca, Mexico is a Montezuma Cypress that has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world. (It takes 17 people with arms outstretched to span its circumference!)

The City of Brownsville owns about half of the resaca and, thanks to the efforts of community activists, has recently agreed to protect it. Efforts are ongoing to secure the remaining portion of this amazing vestige of the ancient freeflowing Rio Grande.

Tree Planting

Tree Folks--Sapling Days Fall is the best time to plant trees in Texas.

Sapling Days began more than 10 years ago as a way to dispel the popular notion that trees should be planted in the late spring along with the tomatoes, peppers and marigolds. In fact, in Texas and the Southwest the very best time to plant trees is in autumn and early winter. Trees planted in fall and winter have more time to grow a strong root system that will allow the tree to obtain water during the hot, hot summers in our region.

Tree Folks: Growing Central Texas Urban Forests

Video: Tree Watering Tips If screwdriver can't go down 6" to 8" it isn't damp. Try screwdriver again after watering.


Tree Watering Tips: Texas Forest Service During this extreme drought, mature trees need to be watered about once a week, while younger, newly-planted trees need to be watered about three times a week. You can use a screwdriver to determine if it’s time to water; simply try to push it into the ground. If the ground is dry, you won’t be able to. If the ground is wet, you will. If you can’t get your screwdriver to easily go at least 6 to 8 inches into the ground, it’s time to water.

Video: Water Your Tree from Texas Forest Service

Video: Tree Watering Tips Ross root feeder.

Video: Watering Trees two methods

Mexican Sycamore at Trinity Univ.

Mexican Sycamore Info.

Where to Find a Real Mexican Sycamore in Austin discusses leaf differences

TAMU on Mexican Sycamore

Chinkapin Oak

Quercus muehlenbergii, the chinkapin oak (or chinquapin oak) Chinkapin oak is generally found on well-drained upland soils derived from limestone or where limestone outcrops occur... Chinkapin oak is classed as intolerant of shade. It withstands moderate shading when young but becomes more intolerant of shade with age. It is regarded as a climax species on dry, drought prone soils, especially those of limestone origin...

The chinquapin oak is especially known for its sweet and palatable acorns. Indeed, the nuts contained inside of the thin shell are among the sweetest of any oak, with an excellent taste even when eaten raw, providing an excellent source of food for both wildlife and people. The acorns are eaten by squirrels, mice, voles, chipmunks, deer, turkey, and other birds.

Oak wilt (Ceratocystis fagacearum), a vascular disease, attacks Chinkapin oak and usually kills the tree within two to four years. Other diseases that attack Chinkapin oak include the cankers Strumella coryneoidea and Nectria galligena, shoestring root rot (Armillarea mellea), anthracnose (Gnomonia veneta), and leaf blister (Taphrina spp.).

The most serious defoliating insects that attack Chinkapin oak are the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), the orangestriped oakworm (Anisota senatoria), and the variable oakleaf caterpillar (Heterocampa manteo). Insects that bore into the bole and seriously degrade the products cut from infested trees include the carpenterworm (Prionoyxstus robiniae), little carpenterworm (P. macmurtrei), white oak borer (Goes tigrinus), Columbian timber beetle (Corthylus columbianus), oak timberworm (Arrhenodes minutus), and twolined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus). The acorn weevils (Curculio spp.), larvae of moths (Valentinia glandulella and Melissopus latiferreanus), and gall forming cynipids (Callirhytis spp.) feed on the acorns.

TAMU on the Chinkapin Oak: Quercus muehlenbergii

Burr Oak

Chinquapin Oak – a NICE! good looking shade tree from Boerne.

Legacy Trees for Central Texas : The Gift That Keeps On Shading There are two oak wilt-resistant varieties of Oak that are proven “legacy” trees for Austin. These are the Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) and the Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)...The Chinkapin Oak is well adapted throughout our region and can grow in either the clay soils common east of the hills, or in the caliche soils of the Hill Country (where it grows naturally in sheltered canyons). When it is young, the Chinkapin tends to have a symmetrical upright form. When it matures, it gets middle-aged spread, shading a wide area with its large handsome leaves. I tend to use a lot of superlatives when I talk about Chinkapins.

Bur Oak – Could it be our best fast-growing shade tree? While some introduced trees, such as Sweetgum and Magnolia, may struggle with our alkaline soil and our slightly basic water, the Bur Oak is adaptive and quite at home... Weather extremes are of little concern. After a two or three year establishment period, supplemental watering is appreciated, but rarely necessary. The Bur Oak comes out the other end of drought with some brown margined leaves and a few less acorns—but mostly unaffected... It is our good fortune the Bur Oak has so few insect and disease concerns. Even Oak Wilt bypasses the Bur Oak...

Bur Oak Quercus macrocarpa is a large deciduous tree growing up to 30 m (100 ft), rarely 40 m (130 ft), in height, and is one of the most massive oaks with a trunk diameter of up to 3 m (10 ft); reports of taller trees occur, but have not been verified. It is one of the slowest-growing oaks, with a growth rate of 30 cm (1 ft) per year when young. A 20-year-old tree will be about 6 m (20 ft) tall. It commonly lives to be 200 to 300 years old, and may live up to 400 years... The acorns are very large, 2–5 cm (0.8–2 in) long... Bur Oak is sometimes confused with Overcup oak and White oak, both of which it occasionally hybridizes with.

Legacy Trees for Central Texas : The Gift That Keeps On Shading There are two oak wilt-resistant varieties of Oak that are proven “legacy” trees for Austin. These are the Chinkapin Oak (Quercus muhlenbergii) and the Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa). Both of these are large deciduous trees with a moderate rate of growth... The Bur Oak is the classic Oak of the prairies. In Central Texas it is best adapted to the deeper clay soils east of the Balcones Escarpment. My neighborhood (adjacent to Shoal Creek) has several magnificent specimens of this tree. The leaves of the Bur Oak are often called “fiddle” shaped because of their deep rounded indentations, the name “Bur” refers to their fringed acorns, which can be as large as a golf ball. If you have the room, and want a healthy, stout, giant of a tree, then plant a Bur Oak.

How fast are your Bur Oaks growing?

The Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) They are quick to bring up all of the common issues associated with oaks (in general). We’ve all heard them. Oaks are slow growing. Their roots grow on top of the soil and damage your slab or your sidewalks. They get oak wilt. While each of those statements are true in some measure in certain oak species, none of them apply to the bur oak... The bur oak is one of the fastest growing and the largest of all of the oaks in Texas. With normal water, you can expect the tree to grow a minimum of one foot per year. With ample water and a little fertilizer it is not uncommon to get two or three feet of growth per year out of your bur oak. .. Because it is native, the bur oak also takes the extremes of our climate in stride. The drought of 2011 killed many, many live oaks. The live oaks died because they have a shallow root system that grows right at the soil line (and breaks slabs and sidewalks). The bur oak survived the worst drought in our history because it develops a deep tap root that can find the underground moisture needed to sustain it when the rains fail us. This deep rooting structure not only keeps it alive in low water situations but also makes it a great choice for the landscape. Deep roots do not break slab and sidewalks... As much as I love this tree, it does have one little problem – it produces golf ball sized acorns. I have to admit, that since the acorns are large enough to interfere with mowing or heavy enough to ding a new car, you should think long and hard about where you plant it. The good news is, it doesn’t produce a ton of acorns. And, since they don’t fall but once a year in autumn, they can be managed by setting your mower a little higher or picking them up (they look great in a bowl on a table) before you mow. Besides, since the squirrels and the deer love them you will have a little help getting them out of your yard.

Bur Oak, Mossycup Oak, Mossy Overcup Oak, Prairie Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) It has a long taproot which makes it hard to transplant but also very drought-tolerant. It is also fast growing and long-lived. Bur oak is noted for its very large leaves and acorns:.. It casts deep shade.

Bur oak blight, a new disease on Quercus macrocarpa caused by Tubakia iowensis sp. nov. A newly recognized, late-season leaf disease of Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) has become increasingly severe across Iowa and in neighboring states since the 1990s. Vein necrosis and leaf death may occur over the whole crown... Bur oak blight appears to be particularly severe on Q. macrocarpa var. oliviformis, which is well adapted to the dry, upland sites where the disease is found most frequently... species of Tubakia are known as leaf and twig endophytes in oaks...



A Dozen Delightful Little Bloomin' Trees for Texas

Parkinsonia aculeata Parkinsonia aculeata is a species of perennial flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. Common names include palo verde, Mexican palo verde, Parkinsonia, Jerusalem thorn, Ratama in Spain, and (where?) jelly bean tree... The flowers are yellow- orange and fragrant, may be a spiny shrub or a small tree. It grows 2 to 8 m (6.6 to 26.2 ft) high, with a maximum height of 10 metres (33 ft).


The amazing, the incredible Anaqua Its durability and shade make it the perfect tree for South Texas

Native Plant Society of Texas: Anaqua, Ehretia anacua this is a wonderful ornamental and wildlife tree. In the spring the tree is covered with fragrant white flowers that are enjoyed by bees. These are followed 6 weeks later by edible yellow or orange fruit which are a favorite of birds and small mammals. (not good near sidewalks and driveways)

A&M on the Anaqua Ehretia anacua. Semi-evergreen. A medium-sized tree to 50 feet tall and a trunk to 2 feet in diameter, with a dense, round crown of dark green foliage. grows well on alkaline soils. Used as a landscape tree from San Antonio to Houston and southward. Interesting Facts: An important component of the evergreen forest remnants along the lower Rio Grande valley.

Anacacho Orchid Tree: Bauhinia lunarioides (B. congesta) In its native habitat in Texas it grows on rocky limestone canyons, and needs well-drained soils to thrive.

Anacacho orchid tree, Anacacho bauhinia, Orchid tree, Texas plume Anacacho orchid tree makes a gorgeous display with its silvery gray bark and fragrant white flowers that resemble orchids. It is a relatively rapid-growing tree after its first year when placed in a favorable location

Anacacho orchid tree, a great landscape plant Anacacho orchid trees apparently can grow well in understory or open-sun sites.

Italian Stone Pine

Italian Stone Pine Umbrella Pine, edible fruits

Pinus pinea, Italian Stone Pine Trees grow well in any slightly alkaline to acid soil. Umbrella Pine should be grown in full sun on well-drained soil... Something always seems to be falling from this pine tree; needles, sap, branches, and fruit appear on nearby cars, roofs and sidewalks year round. Unless grown in the open with no other trees nearby, shaded lower branches die as the tree grows taller. Open-grown trees keep more lower branches, probably due to greater sun exposure. It is important to maintain only one leader to the top of the plant... Dropping needles often discourage people from planting pines near streets, parking lots, or near other pavement. Roots also enjoy growing just under the surface of the asphalt and cracking it.

TAMU on Italian Stone Pine

Neil Sperry: Italian stone pine grows best in a pot

SAWS Approved Italian Stone Pine

Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress: Taxodium Distichum Unique in its appearance, the Bald Cypress is a model of grace and endurance. Along with its massive size, other considerations should be made before choosing the proper location for this special tree. Although the Bald Cypress is native to swamplands, it will tolerate a wide range of conditions, and will even tolerate short periods of drought. In response to long periods of drought, it will completely defoliate. However, this tree is amazingly resilient, and will leaf out when adequate moisture returns. Since the Bald Cypress is so adaptable to growing in conditions ranging from excessive moisture to drought, our tight clay soils are not a challenge... This unique tree has special adaptations to living in wet environments; knobby projections called "knees" may form at the base of the trunk. These formations often occur when the tree is planted in or near water, but can occur anywhere that moisture is ample. Some say the knees add to the distinctive character of this tree.

It is one of the few coniferous trees that is deciduous. A highlight in the landscape, this tree has a pyramidal form and feathery leaves that add to its appeal. After turning bronze in the fall, the lacy leaves will drop and cover the ground with a rust-color carpet in the winter and then decompose quickly.

Problems of Bald Cypress

Tamarind Of all the fruit trees of the tropics, none is more widely distributed nor more appreciated as an ornamental than the tamarind, Tamarindus indica L. The tamarind, a slow-growing, long-lived, massive tree reaches, under favorable conditions, a height of 80 or even 100 ft (24-30 m), and may attain a spread of 40 ft (12 m) and a trunk circumference of 25 ft (7.5 m). It is highly wind-resistant, with strong, supple branches, gracefully drooping at the ends, and has dark-gray, rough, fissured bark. The mass of bright-green, fine, feathery foliage is composed of pinnate leaves,..

The fruits, flattish, beanlike, irregularly curved and bulged pods, are borne in great abundance along the new branches and usually vary from 2 to 7 in long and from 3/4 to 1 1/4 in (2-3.2 cm) in diameter. Exceptionally large tamarinds have been found on individual trees. The pods may be cinnamon-brown or grayish-brown externally and, at first, are tender-skinned with green, highly acid flesh and soft, whitish, under-developed seeds. As they mature, the pods fill out somewhat and the juicy, acidulous pulp turns brown or reddish-brown. Thereafter, the skin becomes a brittle, easily-cracked shell and the pulp dehydrates naturally to a sticky paste enclosed by a few coarse strands of fiber extending lengthwise from the stalk. The 1 to 12 fully formed seeds are hard, glossy-brown, squarish in form,

Native to tropical Africa, the tree grows wild throughout the Sudan and was so long ago introduced into and adopted in India that it has often been reported as indigenous there also, and it was apparently from this Asiatic country that it reached the Persians and the Arabs who called it "tamar hindi" (Indian date, from the date-like appearance of the dried pulp), giving rise to both its common and generic names. Unfortunately, the specific name, "indica", also perpetuates the illusion of Indian origin. The fruit was well known to the ancient Egyptians and to the Greeks in the 4th Century B.C.

In all tropical and near-tropical areas, including South Florida, it is grown as a shade and fruit tree, along roadsides and in dooryards and parks. Mexico has over 10,000 acres (4,440 ha) of tamarinds, mostly in the states of Chiapas, Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Oaxaca and Veracruz. In the lower Motagua Valley of Guatemala, there are so many large tamarind trees in one area that it is called "El Tamarindal".

The food uses of the tamarind are many. The tender, immature, very sour pods are cooked as seasoning with rice, fish and meats in India. The fully-grown, but still unripe fruits, called "swells" in the Bahamas, are roasted in coals until they burst and the skin is then peeled back and the sizzling pulp dipped in wood ashes and eaten. The fully ripe, fresh fruit is relished out-of-hand by children and adults, alike. The dehydrated fruits are easily recognized when picking by their comparatively light weight, hollow sound when tapped and the cracking of the shell under gentle pressure. The shell lifts readily from the pulp and the lengthwise fibers are removed by holding the stem with one hand and slipping the pulp downward with the other. The pulp is made into a variety of products. It is an important ingredient in chutneys, curries and sauces, including some brands of Worcestershire and barbecue sauce, and in a special Indian seafood pickle called "tamarind fish". Sugared tamarind pulp is often prepared as a confection. For this purpose, it is desirable to separate the pulp from the seeds without using water. If ripe, fresh, undehydrated tamarinds are available, this may be done by pressing the shelled and defibered fruits through a colander while adding powdered sugar to the point where the pulp no longer sticks to the fingers. The seeded pulp is then shaped into balls and coated with powdered sugar. If the tamarinds are dehydrated, it is less laborious to layer the shelled fruits with granulated sugar in a stone crock and bake in a moderately warm oven for about 4 hours until the sugar is melted, then the mass is rubbed through a sieve, mixed with sugar to a stiff paste, and formed into patties. This sweetmeat is commonly found on the market in Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In Panama, the pulp may be sold in corn husks, palmleaf fiber baskets, or in plastic bags.

Young leaves and very young seedlings and flowers are cooked and eaten as greens and in curries in India. In Zimbabwe, the leaves are added to soup and the flowers are an ingredient in salads.

Few plants will survive beneath a tamarind tree and there is a superstition that it is harmful to sleep or to tie a horse beneath one, probably because of the corrosive effect that fallen leaves have on fabrics in damp weather. Some African tribes venerate the tamarind tree as sacred. To certain Burmese, the tree represents the dwelling-place of the rain god and some hold the belief that the tree raises the temperature in its immediate vicinity. Hindus may marry a tamarind tree to a mango tree before eating the fruits of the latter. In Nyasaland, tamarind bark soaked with corn is given to domestic fowl in the belief that, if they stray or are stolen, it will cause them to return home. In Malaya, a little tamarind and coconut milk is placed in the mouth of an infant at birth, and the bark and fruit are given to elephants to make them wise.


Montezuma Cypress

Montezuma Cypress

Montezuma Cypress

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo"

M. Cypress "Sentindo" fruit

'Nanjing Beauty' on the campus of Stephen Austin State University

“Paseo de los Ahuehuetes,” a beautiful allée of Montezuma cypress near Texcoco, Mexico.

Can Taxodium Be Improved? many beautiful cypress pictures

M. Cypress

M. Cypress

M. Cypress

M. Cypress

M. Cypress

Taxodium distichum "pendens"

Mexican Sycamore

Mexican Sycamore

Mexican Sycamore at Trinity U.

Mexican Sycamore at Trinity U.





Texas Ebony

Texas Ebony

Italian Stone Pine

Italian Stone Pine

Italian Stone Pine

Italian Stone Pine

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin Oak

Chinkapin Oak




Jerusalem Thorn

Jerusalem Thorn

Jerusalem Thorn

Jerusalem Thorn

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bur Oak

Bald Cypress "Pendens"

Bald Cypress "Pendens"

Bald Cypress "Pendens"

Bald Cypress

Tree Services

** Davey Tree ServicesRecommended by TAMU Extension Agent and Angie's List. Phone 698-0515. Local Office. 210.764.3399 Tim Jackson. Called 11/11/14 and spoke to Diana. She made an appointment (free) for an arborist, Mark Mann, to come on Nov. 20th at 3pm to give us a bid. I also called 811, and CPS will be out at 3:45 pm on Nov. 13 to mark our front yard. Testing the soil costs $200 (Yikes!).

Davey Tree Svc. planted our MC in the front yard in March 2015. Sales by Mark Mann, 24175 Boerne Stage Rd. 78255. 210-698-0515.

Schulz Nursery $100+ tree and they will plant it for you--Reviews: I did find my new favorite local nursery!... The service here is always great... Friendly staff. Lots of Everything you need... [Broadway location] The staff here is rude, unfriendly, and not helpful. I had 2 employees walk by us did not ask if we needed help. We tried to stop the women to ask her a question and she tried to walk off. So rude. The cashier lady made us wait, did not say hi, or I will be with you in a second... [Marion location] The employees are knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. This nursery also owns the Subway restaurant connected to it, so go get lunch after you are finished getting your plants... Everyone at Schulz Nursery, Marion, TX can assist you W/a wealth of botanical knowledge to protect your current garden plants as well as future planting purchases. They are eager to help you, help the environment. They only carry good, healthy plant...

Texas Ecoregions SA is in the Post Oak Savannah bordered on the North by Blackland Prairies, on the Southwest by the South Texas Plains, and on the Southeast by the Coastal Plains. The Post Oak Savannah is a transition zone between the blackland prairies to the west and the Pineywoods to the east. This ecosystem is part of a historic oak belt, which travels south from Canada towards Central America. Few true examples of old-growth Post Oak Savannah in Texas still exist today. South Texas Plains: Soils are primarily acidic sands. Flats with poor drainage often contain huisache and some mesquite trees. Droughty flats and ridges with gravelly or rocky soils that have better drainage contain shorter mesquite, blackbrush, cenizo, etc. Often known as the Tamaulipan Thornscrub or “brush country”, this region of Texas is known for shorter trees and numerous shrubs, most of which contain thorns. Because of the hot dry weather, leaves are commonly small and often compound. The short height and dense, small leaves give the region an appearance of impenetrable shrubland. The flats and ridges host honey mesquite, huisache, blackbrush, guajillo, cenizo, Texas mountain laurel, and Spanish dagger. Shallow arroyos or rocky draws often host additional species such as spiny hackberry, bluewood condalia, Texas persimmon, lime prickly ash, guayacan, and kidneywood.

Why Some Trees Evolved to Live Underground about savannahs

Tree Info.

Contact Info. Bexar County Ag. Extension Office Dist. 10. phone 210.467.6575. Address; 3355 Cherry Ridge St Ste 212 San Antonio, TX 78230-4818. E-mail

Contact us. Extension Office for Bexar County TAMU

Native Plant Society of Texas Becky Etzler, Member Services:

North American Mycological Association

TAMU Tree Guide shows pictures of every tree for texas

Arbor Day Foundation

USDA Hardiness Map SA is zone 8b, 15 to 20 F

15 Most Drought Tolerant Trees for the San Antonio Area

SA Parks & Recreation Tree Rebates

Bartlett Tree ServicesRecommended by TAMU Extension Agent. Phone 655-4670. Called: Don't plant trees.

Suarez Tree Service in SA. One employee, Juan Suarez. No reviews found.

Alfaro Tree Sales Atascosa near SA...These guys are awesome....they have a great selection of trees to choose from, a good sales team.....they did all of my lanscaping....I would recommend anybody to go with these guys!!!. Emailed 11/6/14

Agri Tree Experts in SA. No reviews found.

SA Tree Surgeons and tree sales and planting. Rated 5 stars. No other reviews found.. Emailed 11/6/14

SA Total Tree Service Five star rating...S.A. Total Tree Service did a awesome job with our yard at a great price! They took their time to not only complete the work professionally, but also made great suggestions for the yard to help us in the future. Yard looks great, we are happy. I would recommend to my family and friends. Thank you SA Total Tree Service!! The Cosby Family... went above and beyond when trimming my trees. They were very respectful of my property and fulfilled our agreement perfectly... did a great job at our home in northwest San Antonio. They trimmed, de-mossed and took care of some trees that were dead along with the stumps. They picked up all debris and cleaned up our yard really nice. I will recommend this company to my family and friends. Thank You, Raymond G. Emailed 11/6/14

Arboretum Tree Services recommended by Angie's List. a member of the BBB and the San Antonio Arborist Association (SAAA). Licensed, Bonded & Insured: Call Billy Jordan 210-414-3369. Emailed 11/6/14


Yard Map

Yard Map

Yard Map

Yard Map


New forests cannot take in as much carbon as predicted As carbon emissions continue to rise, scientists project forests will grow faster and larger, due to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which fuels photosynthesis. But a new study finds that these projections are overestimated.

11 of the World's Most Threatened Forests beautiful pictures


Where The Birds Come From: The Push To Protect The Boreal Forest In the northern reaches of North America lies a vast forest that extends from interior Alaska all the way across Canada to Newfoundland and the Atlantic Ocean. It provides the breeding grounds for billions of migratory birds each summer and is home to around one-quarter of the world’s remaining untouched forests. North America’s boreal forest contains a treasure trove of internationally significant ecological values, and it’s also the focus of one of the most ambitious conservation efforts anywhere on Earth.

The combination of its intactness (about 80% is still relatively intact and free of industrial disturbance) and its vast networks of wetlands and waterways (millions of lakes large and small and around 25% of the world’s wetlands) makes this lush forest a summer breeding paradise for at least 325 bird species—nearly half of the species commonly found in the U.S. and Canada.

Palm Warbler

Video: Rainforest sound 11 hours

Identify South Texas Trees

Texas Trees: How to ID TAMU

List of Trees TAMU--shows tree and leaves

See Key_to_Texas_Tree_Species_TFS.pdf in Downloads.
Trees of Texas, ID 101

TAMU Tree Guide shows pictures of every tree for texas

Native Plants of Texas Search Engine

Tree Handbook An estimated 1,200 native flowering plant species grow in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and of these at least 28 species reach tree size. The Native Plant Project has selected 28 of these trees to be featured in this publication. Some are beautiful ornamentals, some prove invaluable for wildlife use, and others make excellent shade trees.

Trees native to the lower Rio Grande Valley have advantages over trees (even of the same species) brought in from elsewhere. Trees of local origin have the genetic factors which ensure greater probability for survival since they are preadapted having evolved to tolerate local climatic extremes, local soils, and local diseases and pests. Except for the few species which usually grow with their roots nearly in the water of the Rio Grande or resacas, most local native trees are xeric-adapted. This means they require little supplemental water, tolerate droughts well, and conserve much of the extra water which exotic trees require. Many fit well into xeriscapes. Native trees have evolved with the temperature and rainfall extremes and remained relatively unharmed during the Christmas freezes of 1983 and 1989 which devastated the non-native plantings. A little extra water though may greatly lengthen the flowering period of xeric-adapted trees and shrubs.

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus tree A showy summertime floral display [dark lavender] blooms sporadically until early fall, the Vitex, also known as ChasteTree, Hemp Tree, Sage Tree, and Indian Spice. A good candidate for planting in a xeriscape garden.

Vitex at Milberger's Nursery

Vitex agnus-castus, also called Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Abraham's Balm[1] or Monk's Pepper, is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is one of the few temperate-zone species of Vitex, which is on the whole a genus of tropical and sub-tropical flowering plants.[2] Theophrastus mentioned the shrub several times, as agnos (?????) in Enquiry into Plants. Vitex, its name in Pliny the Elder, is derived from the Latin vieo, meaning to weave or to tie up, a reference to the use of Vitex agnus-castus in basketry.

Vitex agnus-castus is widely cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions for its delicate-textured aromatic foliage and butterfly attracting spikes of lavender flowers in late summer in cooler climates. It grows to a height of 1–5 meters. It requires full sun or partial shade along with well-drained soil.

In ancient times it was believed to be an anaphrodisiac, hence the name chaste tree. Pliny, in his Historia Naturalis, reports the use of stems and leaves of this plant by women as bedding "to cool the heat of lust" during the time of the Thesmophoria, when Athenian women left their husbands' beds to remain ritually chaste. At the end of the thirteenth century John Trevisa reports of it "the herbe agnus-castus is always grene, and the flowre therof is namly callyd Agnus Castus, for wyth smel and vse it maketh men chaste as a lombe". Chaucer, in "The Flower and the Leaf," refers to it as an attribute of the chaste Diana, and in the 16th century the English herbalist William Turner reports the same anaphrodisiac properties of the seed, both fried and not fried. More recently, this plant has been called monk's pepper in the thought that it was used as anti-libido medicine by monks to aid their attempts to remain chaste.

There are disputed accounts regarding its actual action on libido, with some claims that it is anaphrodisiac and others that it is aphrodisiac. Because of the complex mechanism of action it can be probably both, depending on concentration of the extract and physiologic variables (Wikipedia).

After the leaves have fallen off in autumn, the pea-sized dried berries can be collected for use as food or medicine. (Google) Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus var. latifolia)--These plants are happiest in full sun and well-drained soil. Problems: Leaf spot, root rot, or scale insects. Read more: Follow us: @finegardening on Twitter | FineGardeningMagazine on Facebook[] See TAMU comments at The early American nurseryman Peter Henderson stated that Vitex has been cultivated here since 1670. For folks in the warmer part of the South, the "Lilac Chaste Tree" has been the shrub of choice to mimic lilacs, which are restricted to cooler regions. Vitex is an excellent choice for a large shrub or small flowering tree in the smaller, modern suburban landscape. It does best in full sun and will grow in a variety of soils, provided they are well drained. After it has been established, the Vitex is a good candidate for planting in a xeric garden, where hot, dry surroundings prevail. Like many members of the Vervain family, Vitex attracts butterflies and other insects. The older strains had small spikes of flowers in pale lilac, mauve, off-white or light pink, but modern, much improved varieties such as 'Montrose Purple', 'LeCompte', or the pink 'Salinas Pink' have spikes as long as 8 to 12 inches in length. Many aromatic black or brown seeds may be set, but if the spent spikes are cut off promptly after the first flowering the shrub will bloom again. VitexSouthern Living [] my favorite tree of the bunch.. quickly grows into a multi-trunked tree about 10 to 20 feet tall and wide with a broad, spreading habit. pharmacological uses. An extract made from Vitex supposedly does a very good job of controlling PMS. Which means any of you guys out there who are routinely beaten every 28 days should definitely plant one in the yard.

But the best thing about chaste tree, in my uber-learned opinion, is the flowers. Chaste tree is one of the very few winter-hardy trees out there that sports true blue flowers (although they can also be pink, purple, or white). The one you’re looking at here is ‘Abbeville Blue.’ which bears large, spectacular panicles of deep-blue flowers in summer. Other selections I like include ‘Montrose Purple’ (purple blooms), ‘Shoal Creek’ (blue-violet), and ‘Silver Spires.’ (white). If you buy an unnamed chaste tree tree from a nursery, buy it in bloom so you can see the color of the flowers and the general shape of the plant.

Few trees are as easy to grow. Here’s the low-down:

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained

Water; Regular moisture at first — very drought tolerant once established

Pests: None serious

Pruning: Not the tidiest plant in the world. Needs regular pruning to produce an attractive multi-trunked tree. Prune in winter. Clean out the entire center of the tree, removing all side branches from main 4 to 5 trunks. Also remove messy, twiggy growth that tends to crowd the ends of the branches. As an option, cut entire plant to ground in winter. It will sprout in spring and bloom in summer, although later than chaste trees not pruned so severely. You can also force a second bloom in summer by removing the first flush of blooms as soon as they fade.

Salt & wind tolerance: Good

Bee alert: Bumblebees love this plant above all others and will even spend the night on the flowers. Keep this in mind.

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex Blossom with Bee

Anacahuite (TAMU):

Common Name Anacahuite (Wild Olive) (Mexican-Olive)
Latin Name Cordia boissieri
Tree Size Small
Leaf Type Evergreen
Growth Rate Slow
Water Needs td>Dry
Tolerances Drought, poorly drained sites, alkaline soils
Attributes Texas native, showy or fragrant flower, seeds or fruit eaten by wildlife
Features Large, white flowers bloom throught the year.
Comments Bold leaves contrast large flowers.
Problems Susceptible to freeze damage.

Cordia boissieri Cordia boissieri is a species of flowering shrub or small tree in the borage family, Boraginaceae. Its native range extends from southern Texas in the United States south to central Mexico. Common names include Anacahuita, Mexican Olive, White Cordia, and Texas Wild Olive.

Texas Wild Olive

Tree Description:
A small tree with a curving trunk, to 20 feet tall and a trunk to 12" in diameter, with a low, rounded crown.

Range/Site Description:
Native to the brushlands and forest remnants of the southernmost tip of Texas, this species is a beautiful landscape tree that can be planted as far north as San Antonio.

Simple, opposite on the twigs, oval to oblong, 4" to 5" long by 2" to 3" wide, leaf edge without teeth, velvety on both surfaces, evergreen.

Very showy, white, trumpet-shaped flowers, 1.5" long and 2" wide, with a yellow spot in the throat, appear throughout spring and summer with sufficient water.

A whitish drupe, about 1" long, with sweet, pulpy flesh. Favored by wildlife and edible by humans.

Gray to light brown, strongly fissured with flat ridges even on small stems, fibrous and interwoven.

Wood is sometimes used for woodenware and yokes. Sold principally as a landscape tree.

Similar Species:
Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) has smooth leaves 3" to 8" long; white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) occurs in East Texas and has smooth leaves.

Interesting Facts:
Jelly made from the fruits is used as a household remedy for coughs and colds.


Brownsville boasts nation’s largest anacahuita

ANACAHUITA, TEXAS OLIVE, MEXICAN OLIVE, WILD OLIVE Cordia boissieri---Also called the Texas Olive, this rare native makes a beautiful small specimen tree perfect for the hottest toughest sunniest areas so long as the soil is well-drained. The Anacahuita produces large clusters of 2", crepe-like, white funnel shaped flowers with a dark gold yellow throat in spring and early summer as well as again in fall. The large olive-like fruit ripens to white before falling from the tree. The ripe fruit may be too much for some situations but it is relished by birds and other wildlife but are known to make the animals dizzy when eaten in any quantity.

There are some beautiful specimens at the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.

NATIVE PLANT DATABASE: NATIVE PLANT DATABASE: Cordia boissieri Locally known as Mexican olive or Anacahuita, Cordia boissieri is an ornamental shrub or tree to 30 ft, with large, soft, dark leaves and large, showy, trumpet-shaped white flowers with yellow throats that are sometimes described as looking like crepe paper or chiffon. Its sinuous trunk becomes picturesque as it ages. It is native no farther north than south Texas because it cant tolerate cold winters, but it has been successfully tried as far north as Austin, where cold winters are likely to cause some die-back. Within its natural range, it is drought-tolerant enough that it is a common highway planting. Birds, deer, and cattle enjoy the sweet 2-3 cm long fruit and butterflies frequent the blooms.

Texas Wild Olive, White Geiger, Anacahuita, Cordia boissieri

Native Plant Base: Mountain Laurel Sophora secundiflora (Ortega) Lag. ex DC. Texas mountain laurel, Mountain laurel, Mescal bean, Mescal bean sophora, Frijolillo, Frijolito Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Mescal bean or Texas mountain laurel is an evergreen, usually multi-trunked shrub or small tree ranging from just a few feet tall to more than 30 ft. in height, though its usual height at maturity is 10-15 ft. The dense, dark green, and glossy compound leaves are composed of 7–9 shiny, leathery leaflets that are rounded on the ends. The leaflets are up to 2 inches or more long, tapering more gradually to the base than to the tip, and arranged along an axis terminated by a single leaflet . The bluish lavender flowers, in 3-7 in. drooping clusters, are very showy and fragrant. The fruit is a semi-woody pod with bright red poisonous seeds.

Sophora secundiflora is very popular as a native evergreen ornamental tree within its range, valued for its handsome, dark green foliage and lush early spring blooms. It is drought-tolerant, prefers rocky limestone soil, and is native from central Texas west to New Mexico and south to San Luis Potosi in Mexico. Like many woody plants native to rocky soils, it is slow growing. The fragrance of Texas mountain laurel flowers is reminiscent of artificial grape products. The brilliant, lacquer red seeds were valued by indigenous people for ornament and ceremonial use; they contain the highly poisonous alkaloid cytisine (or sophorine), a substance related to nicotine and widely cited as a narcotic and hallucinogen.

Dermatophyllum secundiflorum Dermatophyllum secundiflorum is a species of flowering shrub or small tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the southwestern United States (Texas, New Mexico) and Mexico (Chihuahua and Coahuila south to Hidalgo, Puebla and Querétaro).[3] Common names include Texas mountain laurel, Texas mescalbean, frijolito, and frijolillo. Although "mescalbean" is among the plant's common appellations, it bears no relation to the Agave species used to make the spirit mezcal, nor to the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii), which contains the hallucinogenic alkaloid mescaline.

It is well-adapted to arid and semi-arid habitats but is most common in riparian zones. [A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream. Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the fifteen terrestrial biomes of the earth.]

Extremely fragrant purple flowers, resembling the smell of grape soda, are produced in large clusters in March and April. They are followed by 4 in (10 cm) pods containing deep orange seeds.

Arid Zone Trees PDF Of the four common names associated with this plant, Sophora, Texas Mountain Laurel, Frijolito and Mescal Bean, Sophora is the most widely used. Native to Texas, New Mexico and northeastern Mexico, Sophoras are well adapted to high temperatures, well drained alkaline soils and full sun. They typically grow quite slowly eventually reaching a mature height of 15 to 20 feet and 8 to 10 feet wide.

Its slow rate of growth to mature height has led some to categorize it as a large shrub/small tree.

The form is usually low branching or multiple trunked with a dispersed to fairly dense canopy of glossy green leaves. In native settings they are found growing at elevations from 1000' to 5000'. Sophoras can be naturalized to survive on average annual rainfall alone in some desert settings. Supplemental summer irrigations are usually required in central and southern Arizona. The highest rate of growth is achieved on established Sophoras when they are planted in full sun and given deep, monthly irrigations during spring and summer. The leaves are compound (made up of smaller leaflets) with 7 to 9, round, 1 inch diameter leaflets. With proper pruning, Sophoras can be trained into the form of a small, multiple trunked tree. Be aware that excessive pruning can inhibit flower production, as Sophora’s produce flowers only on one year old wood. Trunks range in color from dark gray to black.

Established plants are hardy to 0 degrees F. In March and April 4" to 8" bright purple, drooping clusters of wisteria-like flowers are produced. These flower clusters are very fragrant with a smell resembling grape soda. Flowers fade fairly quickly and by mid summer give rise to 3" to 4" fuzzy, tan, seed pods.

The seeds are large, 3/8" to 1/2" diameter and dark orange in color. Seeds and flowers can be poisonous to children and pets. The risk is limited as the seed pod and seed coat are very hard and difficult to crack. Placement and maintenance of this shrub should take into account the risk posed by the flowers and seeds.

Sophoras can be used as individual flowering shrubs, in groupings to exploit the glossy green foliage, purple flowers and remarkable fragrance or as a screen or hedge planting. It mixes easily with other desert landscape plant materials and adds a unique color and texture to the landscape. It will tolerate planting in or near turf or in more native areas.

Sophoras are thornless.

The only insect pest of any consequence is the larvae of the Pyralid Moth that feeds on leaves, young twig growth and immature seed pods. It is readily controlled by application of Bacillus thuringiensis (sometimes called BT), a widely available, commercial biological control agent. Sporadic availability and the relatively slow growth rate have limited the use and popularity of this shrub. Proper maintenance can enhance the growth and increase the popularity of this remarkable yet under-appreciated flowering desert shrub.

Arid Zone Trees

Mountain Laurel Usually found as a multi-trunked small tree, Texas mountain laurel can be trained to a single trunk in the nursery. Single-trunked nursery stock would make nice street trees for planting in small soil spaces, and where overhead space is limited by wires or other structures. Plant a row of Texas mountain laurel on 15 or 20 foot centers to form a nice canopy over a walk, or locate it close to a patio or deck. The bark on multi-trunked specimens shows off nicely when lit up at night from beneath the canopy.

Texas mountain laurel should be grown in full sun or partial shade on well-drained soil. This tough plant will tolerate hot, windy conditions and alkaline or wet soils but not compacted soil. Young trees may benefit from afternoon shading from the intense summer sun until they become established.

Sophora secundiflora beans are hallucinagenic

Texas Mountain Laurel, Mescal Bean Probably one of my favorite shrubs. It is slow growing, but can be pruned into a nicely shaped small tree given sufficient time. My plant thrives incredibly well planted next to a southwest facing block wall that receives punishing reflective heat during the Phoenix summer. It seems the hotter it is, the better this plant will grow. Stays evergreen throughout the year and from February-March its flowers produces a marvelous scent rivaled only by freesia. The Texas Mountain Laurel is a host plant for gentista broom moth caterpillars. In early spring and middle of the fall, the freshest growth is defoliated by these caterpillars which form a silk-like tent around the ends of the branches.

Texas Mountain Laurel, Mescal Bean, Frigolito, Frijollito, Frijolillo, Coral Bean, Big-drunk Bean, Colorin Texas mountain laurel grows in limestone soils in Central and Southwest Texas and to 5000 feet in the Chisos and Davis Mountains. This slow growing evergreen may be grown as a medium to large shrub or trained to a single or multi-trunk tree. The pinnate leaves with their lustrous, leathery upper surface provide year long beauty, enhanced in mid-spring by the densely-flowered racemes of lavender or violet pea flowers having the scent of grape Kool Aid. The black, somewhat constricted seedpods contain red to red-orange seeds which are sometimes used in jewelry. Both seeds and flowers are quite poisonous and contain narcotic properties

Red Bud The Redbud grows throughout much of the eastern United States and extends as far west as Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
Height: 30 ft
Spread: 25 ft
Form: rounded
Type: deciduous tree
Annual Growth Rate: 12 to 18 inches
Light: Full sun to shade
Moisture: Grows better in moist soil

Cultivar 'Forest Pansy' - The new leaves are scarlet becoming maroon as they mature. The flowers are pink. This cultivar may not be as hardy as the species.

Cultivar 'Flame' ('Plena') - Double pink flowers appear at the same time as the leaves. Seldom sets fruit.

Cultivar 'Silver Cloud' - The leaves are variegated with pink and white. The plants are 12 feet tall and wide.

Treehoppers lay eggs under the bark of twigs. The insect itself is not seen but the white, sticky froth covering the eggs is quite noticeable (see image). The insect is seldom serious. Use Horticultural Oil in a dormant spray dosage to control treehoppers. The Horticultural Oil should be applied when the temperatures are between 35 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Scale insects are small, non-mobile insects that attach themselves to the wood and sometimes the foliage. Scale is most common on the new tender woody growth. When adult scale is attached to the tree, it often appears as crusty or waxy bumps on the tree and is often mistaken for part of the tree’s own growth, but it is actually an insect. The scale sucks sap from the tree and causes the leaves to turn yellow and drop. Often a sticky substance can be found near the scale or on the leaves. This is a secretion from the scale called honeydew and often acts as an attractant for ants or as a growing source for sooty mold.

In the spring or mid-summer, small, almost invisible nymphs emerge from under the female shells and move to infect new areas of the tree. This is the only time in the life cycle of scale that the insect moves.

To effectively control scale insects and limit damage, Horticultural Oil should be sprayed on the tree. The Horticultural oil serves to suffocate the scale and eggs. In the spring or early summer if the crawling nymphs are present, spray the trees with [Bug Buster] to prevent the new nymphs from further infecting the tree.

Spider mites are an extremely tiny pest, and generally appear as a brown, red or purple specks on the underside of leaves. Mites infest leaves and cause the leaves to appear speckled with yellow spots or wilted and curled. A fine silken webbing can sometimes be seen on the underside of the leaves. Intense infestations during hot, dry weather can cause the leaves to curl and drop.

To confirm if the tree has a spider mite infestation take a close look at the undersides of the leaves for small insects, the size of ground pepper. You may need to use a small magnifying glass to adequately see the spider mites. Another way to examine for spider mites is to take a sheet of white paper, hold it under a group of leaves and give the leaves a few sharp taps to shake some of the spider mites loose. On the white paper the spider mites can be easily seen.

Spider mites damage the tree by sucking sap from the underside of the leaves. The bite marks appear as a yellow speckled pattern on the top and bottom of the leaf. As the season progresses and the temperature becomes hotter and dryer (above 70 degrees F.) the population of spider mites will increase exponentially and can rapidly defoliate a tree, especially if the tree is having trouble taking up water during drought periods. To control mites, spray the tree with Bug Buster. Be sure to spray the underside of the leaves as well as leaf crotches as this is where most spider mites and their eggs are found.

Dieback/Canker is the most destructive disease that attacks Redbud trees. It is first seen as a tree’s leaves wilt and turn brown. Often cankers can be seen on branches and twigs. The cankers can either be seen as visible cankers on the surface of the branches or as dark sunken areas with black centers.

The canker or dieback is caused by a fungus (Botryosphaeria ribis) which attacks not only the redbud but more than fifty other types of trees and shrubs. The disease is spread throughout the tree, or from tree to tree, by splashing rain and winds that move the fungus from diseased areas to healthy parts of the tree. The fungus then enters the tree through wounds or dying branches. The fungus gradually spreads out within the tree’s vascular system slowly blocking the tree’s vascular system and inhibiting its ability to transport nutrients and water. The result is a gradual dieback of branches as the flow of nutrients and water is cut off.

There is no effective chemical control for the canker. If canker is identified in a tree, prune out and destroy dead branches and infested areas. Be sure to make pruning cuts at least 3 or 4 inches below the canker, so that the cut is into healthy viable wood. After every pruning cut, be sure to properly sanitize the pruning tools so that the fungus is not transported on the tools and infects healthy parts of the tree.

What Time of the Year to Plant a Redbud Tree Redbud, like most trees, grows best when planted during cool, rainy weather. During hot weather, it suffers more transplant shock and might be slow to develop a root system. When the ground is frozen, its roots cannot move through the soil. Planting a redbud tree during very cold weather also can cause it to dry out. Depending on your climate, the best time to plant any tree is usually in spring or early fall, according to the Virginia Department of Forestry's website. In mild climates, however, a tree can be planted in winter.

Choose the planting location for a redbud tree carefully. It can tolerate partial shade but grows and blooms better if placed in a site that has full sun exposure. A redbud tolerates most kinds of soil as long as it drains well.

How you plant a redbud tree is as important as when you plant it. A redbud doesn't tolerate heavy clay or compacted soil that tends to drain poorly. Break up such soil, and amend it with compost to lighten its consistency. The planting hole for your redbud tree should be twice as wide and almost as deep as the tree's root ball. The top of the root ball should sit 1 to 2 inches taller than the soil surrounding the hole. Don't worry about adding fertilizer to the planting hole, but water the tree regularly during dry weather for its first growing season or its first two growing seasons. Once established, a redbud tree needs infrequent watering, depending on its species.

Red Bud Adaptable and dependable, redbuds include some of our most charming native trees. In early spring, before leaf-out, a profusion of small, sweet pea–shaped, lavender-pink to rosy purple flowers appears on twigs, branches, and even the main trunk. Blossoms are followed by clusters of flat, beanlike pods that persist into winter and give rise to numerous seedlings around the tree. Handsome, broad, rounded or heart-shaped leaves may change to bright yellow in fall, but fall color is inconsistent.

Growing Redbud Trees: How To Care For A Redbud Tree Growing redbud trees is a great way to add brilliant color to your landscape. In addition, the care of redbud trees is easy. Planting a redbud tree is best done in early spring. These ornamental beauties prefer well-drained soil and a partly shaded location.

The care of redbud trees requires minimal effort. Place about 3 inches of mulch around the tree, but not touching the trunk, to help retain moisture.

Prune the redbud in the fall to maintain a natural growth habit and to trim off any dead branches.

Keep the soil moist, but not saturated, while the tree is establishing.

Video: Grumpy Gardener's Guide to Redbuds

Fringe Tree — The Best Native Tree Nobody Grows Grumpy Gardener in Southern Living

American Fringe Tree

You’d think a small, native tree with pretty spring flowers and pretty fall foliage that’s easier-than-pie to grow would be a staple in our gardens. You’d be wrong. So let me tell you about fringe tree.

Fringe tree (Chionanthus virginicus) has always played twelfth fiddle to dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering cherry, Bradford pear (yuck), and numerous others choices for spring-flowering trees. That’s just wacky. Indigenous to the eastern U.S., it grows from Canada all the way down to the Gulf Coast. It’s tougher than dogwood, more dependable than saucer magnolia, longer-lived than cherry, and smells better than stinky Bradford. And it’s beautiful.

Fringe Tree

Fringe tree gets its name from its clouds of fleecy white, softly fragrant flowers that hang from the branches in late spring and early summer. Other common names here in the South are grancy graybeard and old man’s beard. Trees can be either male or female. Males sport larger, showier blooms, but females form attractive, blackish-blue fruits that birds like. Nurseries don’t sell trees by sex, so you have to take your chances. But either sex is well worth planting.

Chinese Fringe Tree, loropetalum-zhuzhou

Size: 12 to 20 feet tall and wide
Shape: Rounded and usually multi-trunked
Light: Full to partial sun
Soil: Moist, fertile, well-drained
Water needs: Moderate, tolerates some drought
Fall foliage: Bright yellow
Pests: NONE
Hardiness zones: USDA Zones 3-9 (we're 8)
Prune: Seldom needed; prune after flowering
Bonus fact: Tolerates air pollution; good for city gardens
Bonus bonus fact: One of the last trees to leaf out in spring

Chinese Fringe Tree

Fringe Tree Fruit

Jacaranda is a genus of 49 species of flowering plants in the family Bignoniaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of Central America, South America, Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and the Bahamas. - Wikipedia

Northern Catalpa [Catalpa speciosa] This is a tree that demands your attention. White, showy flowers. Giant heart-shaped leaves. Dangling bean-like seed pods. Twisting trunk and branches. How could you not stop to take it in?


The catalpa tree is found in forests from southern Illinois and Indiana to western Tennessee and Arkansas. First cultivated in 1754, the wood was used for fence posts and railroad ties because of its resistance to rot and the tree’s fast growth rate. Common names for this tree are many and colorful—including cigar tree, Indian bean tree, catawba, caterpillar tree, hardy catalpa and western catalpa.

Catalpa Northern catalpa is a medium to large, deciduous tree that typically grows to 40-70’ (less frequently to 100’) tall with an irregular, open-rounded to narrow-oval crown. It is native to a relatively small area extending from western Tennessee, northeastern Arkansas and the lowlands of southeastern Missouri north to southern Illinois and southern Indiana. In Missouri, it typically occurs along streams, bluff bases and in both low and upland woods (Steyermark). Broad ovate to ovate-oblong leaves (to 12” long) are pointed at the tips and rounded to cordate at the bases. Leaves are light green to yellow green above and densely pubescent below. Foliage turns an undistinguished yellow in fall. Flowers can be a real showstopper, however. Bell-shaped, orchid-like white flowers (to 2” long) with purple and yellow inner spotting appear in panicles in late spring (late May to early June in St. Louis). Flowers give way to long slender green seedpods (12-22” long). The seedpods mature in fall to dark brown and then split open lengthwise to release the seeds within. Seedpods give rise to the common name of cigar tree, although they actually are longer and thinner than most cigars. Abundant pods are produced every 2 to 3 years. Bark of mature trees is fissured, prominently ridged and pale gray-brown. The leaves of this species do not emit an unpleasant aroma when bruised as is the case with the similar southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides).

A mature, symmetrically rounded catalpa tree can be a tree of great beauty, particularly in spring when the foliage is young and the flowers are in bloom. Unfortunately, it is otherwise a rather coarse tree that many believe does not deserve a prominent place in the landscape. Branches are brittle and mature trees infrequently exhibit classic form. Foliage also tends to depreciate as the growing season progresses, the large leaves being subject to damage from hail, wind, insects and sometime disease. It has been widely planted in urban areas as a street tree and lawn tree, and can also be effectively used in the landscape for difficult areas such as moist low spots or dry areas with poor soils.

northern catalpa Bignoniaceae Catalpa speciosa

Rusty Blackhaw


Carolina Buckthorn

Carolina Buckthorn

Rhamnus caroliniana Rhamnus caroliniana (syn. Frangula caroliniana), the Carolina buckthorn, is an upright shrub or small tree native to the southeastern, south-central, and mid-western parts of the United States, from Texas east to Florida and north as far as Maryland, Ohio, Missouri, and Oklahoma.[2] There is also an isolated population in the State of Nuevo León in northeastern Mexico.

Rhamnus caroliniana is usually around 12 to 15 feet (3.6-4.5 meters) high, but capable of reaching 40 feet (12 meters) 25/3in a shaded location.[4] The most striking characteristic of this plant are its shiny, dark green leaves. The flowers are very small and inconspicuous, pale yellow-green, bell-shaped, appearing in leaf axils in late spring after the leaves. The fruit is a small (1/3 inch or 8.3 mm) round drupe; at first red, but later turning black with juicy flesh. It ripens in late summer. Despite its common name, the Carolina Buckthorn is completely thornless.


Crape Myrtle


Crape Myrtles for Texas a collaborative project of Texas Cooperative Extension, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Texas A&M University, and the Texas Nursery and Landscape Association.

Crapemyrtle The crapemyrtle is often referred to as the "lilac of the South." With its striking flowers, handsome bark and attractive foliage, this species is a favorite for landscapes. It can be grown as either a shrub or small tree and is often used in groupings, containers, hedges and screens. You can even find the common crapemyrtle used as small street trees in urban settings.


Crapemyrtle - Catawba Purple & Lagerstroemia Indica

The Crape Myrtle Co. We have over 55 varieties available of miniature, dwarf, medium and standard (tree) crape myrtles. Crape Myrtles are great for landscaping, ground cover, hanging baskets, bonsai, shrubs, privacy hedges and beautiful specimen trees.

Varieties Defined

Complete Guide to Crape Myrtle All crepe myrtles bloom on new wood and should be pruned in winter or early spring. On large shrubs and trees, remove basal suckers, twiggy growth, crossing branches, and branches growing toward the center of the plant. Also gradually remove side branches up to a height of 4–5 ft.; this exposes the handsome bark of the trunks. During the growing season, clip off spent flowers to promote a second, lighter bloom.

Mildew can be a problem. Spray with triforine (Funginex) before plants bloom, or grow mildew-resistant hybrids of L. indica and L. fauriei. Almost all selections with names of Native American tribes, such as ‘Hopi’, ‘Miami’, and ‘Zuni’, are mildew resistant.

Queen’s Crepe Myrtle. L. speciosa. Zones TS; 12–9. Tree to 25–30 ft. tall, 15–25 ft. wide. The showiest and most tender of the crepe myrtles, displaying huge clusters of white, pink, lavender, or purple flowers in June and July. Individual blossoms reach 3 in. across. Large leaves (8–12 in. long, 4 in. wide) turn red in fall. Smooth, mottled, exfoliating bark. Rank grower; annual pruning in winter is especially important to control size and form.


Desert Willow

Desert Willow

Chilopsis It is a shrub or tree native to the southwestern United States and Mexico. The common name is desert willow[3] or desert-willow[4] because of its willow-like leaves, but it is a member of the bignonia family, Bignoniaceae. It is commonly seen in washes and along riverbanks

Ranging from 1.5 to as much as 8 meters in height, it can take the form of a shrub or small tree. The linear, curved, deciduous leaves are 10 to 26 cm long and just a few millimeters wide.

The generic name is derived from the Greek words χειλος, (cheilos), meaning "lip," and ′οψσις (opsis), meaning "resembling," referring to the flowers. They occur in a terminal panicle or raceme, blooming in May through September. About two to four flowers at a time are open in each inflorescence.

x Chitalpa

It is cultivated for its large, showy flowers, and tolerance of hot, dry climates. Although the natural growth is a very irregular shape, it can be readily pruned into a conventional tree shape. A number of cultivars have been selected. Some, such as 'Rio Salado', have dark purple or magenta flowers.

Chilopsis may survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees F (-12 °C).

Chilopsis is closely related to the genus Catalpa and hybrids can be made between the two genera. The nothogeneric hybrid between Chilopsis linearis and Catalpa bignonioides has been named ×Chitalpa tashkentensis. It originated in a botanic garden at Tashkent in Uzbekistan.


x Chitalpa

x Chitalpa

Chitalpa × Chitalpa is an intergeneric hybrid flowering tree in the family Bignoniaceae, bred from Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis) for desert hardiness and color, and Southern Catalpa (Catalpa bignonioides) for larger blooms. The name is nothogeneric, or a combination of the two parents' names. Leaves are lanceolate, 4 to 5 inches long and an inch wide, almost always in whorls of three. The trumpet-shaped flowers are 1" long and frilly.[2] The inflorescence is indeterminate, with alternately arranged flowers.

× Chitalpa is dry-spell tolerant and fast-growing (several feet a year to 20–30 ft.) and blooms between late spring and late fall.[3] There are two cultivars: 'Pink Dawn' with pink flowers, and 'Morning Cloud' with white and pale pink blooms.

Chitalpa X Chitalpa tashkentensis

× Chitalpa tashkentensis Best grown in deep, moderately fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Although drought tolerant, trees generally perform best with consistent and even moisture. Trees may sucker at the base. Propagate by cuttings. This hybrid will not produce viable seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

× Chitalpa tashkentensis is a rapid-growing, deciduous tree that typically grows to 20-35' tall with a dense, spreading, oval crown. It is an inter-generic hybrid cross between desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) and southern catalpa (Catalpa bignonoides). It was first hybridized in Tashkent (capital of Uzbekistan) in the 1960s and subsequently brought to the U. S. in 1977. Lanceolate leaves (to 6" long) are dull green above, fuzzy underneath, and taper at both ends. Bell-shaped, pink to white, catalpa-like flowers (to 1" across) bloom in upright racemes (15-40 flowers per raceme) at the branch ends in summer. Popular cultivars include 'Pink Dawn' (pink flowers) and 'Morning Cloud' (pale pink to white flowers).

No serious insect or disease problems. Powdery mildew can be a significant problem in growing areas with high summer humidity (e.g., the southeastern U. S.) and in growing conditions where trees are planted in too much shade. Additional disease problems include verticillium wilt, root rot and leaf spots. Watch for aphids, mealybugs, scale and whiteflies.

Garden Uses: Interesting medium-sized landscape or street tree with a long summer flowering period.

Eve's Necklace

Eve's Necklace

Eve's Necklace, Texas Sophora, Pink Sophora, Necklace Tree, Sophora affinis Eve's Necklace is a pretty small tree that is found on limestone soils in the center of the state from north central Texas through the Edwards Plateau. The dark lustrous green leaves are borne in a rounded to upright oval crown. In spring it produces rosy-pink flowers that hang in wisteria-like clusters, followed by fruit pods in late summer and fall that resemble a black string of beads, giving it its common name. The seeds are reportedly poisonous. Eve's Necklace can grow in sun or as an understory tree; in dense woods it can even be vine-like. It is related to Texas Mountain Laurel, Sophora secundiflora, which is evergreen.

Eve's Necklace, Texas Sophora, Sophora affinis From Lake Dallas, Tx: Very cool little tree that needs little care but benefits from an organic program. I found a horned caterpillar on mine last fall for several weeks which would suggest its a host plant. This is a good replacement for Japanese Maples and has the same upright and slender branching pattern. Native to Dallas. Waxy leaves have not scorched yet during droughts.

From Copperas Cove, Tx: In the southern U.S., this native Sophora grows to a small (under 15') shrub or tree with rounded crown. Tolerates full hot sun and humidity very well. Drought tolerant and withstood the ice storm we had in Feb 2003. The blooms are a reddish pink/mauve color and resembles a wisteria-type bloom about half the size. The seed pods are a "string of pearls" that are black. They dry on the tree and hang for a long time.

Trees & Birds

Goldfinch in Maple tree

Trees that Attract Birds

Top 10 Quick-Growing Shrubs

Abelia [fragrant] / Elderberry

Top 10 Fast Growing Trees

Tejocote; Thornapple

Crataegus mexicana a species of hawthorn known by the common names tejocote, manzanita, tejocotera and Mexican hawthorn. It is native to the mountains of Mexico and parts of Guatemala, and has been introduced in the Andes.[2] The fruit of this species is one of the most useful among hawthorns.

The plant is a large shrub or small tree growing to 5–10 m tall, with a dense crown. The leaves are semi-evergreen, oval to diamond-shaped, 4–8 cm long, with a serrated margin. The flowers are off-white, 2 cm diameter. The fruit is a globose to oblong orange-red pome 2 cm long and 1.5 cm diameter, ripening in late winter only shortly before the flowers of the following year.

Tejocote fruit / Tejocote loaded with fruit
Left photo by Daniel Manrique ( - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

The fruit is eaten in Mexico cooked, raw, or canned. It resembles a crabapple, but it has three or sometimes more brown hard stones in the center. It is a main ingredient used in ponche, the traditional Mexican hot fruit punch that is served at Christmas time and on New Year's Eve. On Day of the Dead tejocote fruit as well as candy prepared from them are used as offerings to the dead, and rosaries made of the fruit are part of altar decorations. A mixture of tejocote paste, sugar, and chili powder produces a popular Mexican candy called rielitos, because it resembles a tiny train rail.

Tejocote trees

Another Hawthorne - Crabapple

Crabapple trees / Cedar waxwings in crabapple

Crabapple Trees Few ornamental trees offer the variety of tree shapes, sizes, flower colors and ornamental fruit as flowering crabapples. There are over 35 species and 700 cultivated varieties of crabapples and have been a part of the home landscape for many years.

Blossoms often open from pink or red buds and change to paler shades after opening, creating a beautiful pink cloud lasting several weeks. Asian crab apple specimens are usually preferred for ornament because their fruits are more colorful and last into the winter providing food for over-wintering birds.

Crab apples are most popular of the spring-flowering trees in the North and Midwest where cold winters and heavy soil prevent other spring bloomers from performing well.

Tree height may be from 6' - 50' with most in the 15' to 25' range. The varieties vary from weeping, spreading, columnar, vase-shaped to pyramidal which allows many opportunities for use in landscapes.


In some cases, crabapples have developed a poor reputation as a result of disease problems (scab, mildew, and fire blight) as well as susceptibility to certain insect pests such as Japanese beetle. However, extensive breeding and evaluation projects have resulted in numerous selections that are resistant to these problems.

Pruning should be completed before early June. By mid-June to early July, flower buds for the next season are beginning to form in most crabapples. Pruning after July will reduce floral display and fruiting for the following year.

Selection, Care, and Use of the Ornamental Crabapple Flowering crabapples are adaptable but thrive in rich loam type soil (a combination of clay, silt, and sand). Regardless of soil type, good drainage is a must for tree health. Crabapples grow best in a moist, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.5. Excessively moist areas and low spots should be avoided. On the other hand, relatively dry sites can be tolerated by crabapples if plant stresses are minimized during the first year after transplanting.. Full sun exposure, 8 to 12 hours of direct sun, is required for optimal development of fruits and flowers.

Sargent Crabapple Malus sargentii Because of its size, the Sargent crabapple is useful for planting under utility lines, in confined yards, as privacy screens and hedges and on sloping ground. Hardiness Zones 4–8. The Sargent crabapple grows in all textures of soil, alkaline to acidic. It prefers moist, well-drained soil but will tolerate drier conditions. Produces fragrant clusters of snowy white blossoms in May. It is an alternate bearer, blooming heavily every other year.

Wildlife Value: The pea-sized fruits make is easy for birds of many species to pluck and swallow. They are especially favored by cedar waxwings, robins, grosbeaks, and mockingbirds. Red-necked pheasant, cottontail rabbit, red fox, and black bear also enjoy the fruit. The tree's dense foliage has the added value of providing protective shelter.


Hawthorne; Mayhaw

Fruit of four species of Crataegus, clockwise from top left: Crataegus coccinea, C. punctata var. aurea, C, ambigua, C. douglasii
"Crataegus, various species, fruit" by Nadiatalent - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -,_various_species,_fruit.jpg#/media/File:Crataegus,_various_species,_fruit.jpg

Crataegus Crataegus (from the Greek kratos strength and akis sharp, referring to the thorns of some species) commonly called hawthorn, thornapple, May-tree, whitethorn, or hawberry, is a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America. The name "hawthorn" was originally applied to the species native to northern Europe, especially the common hawthorn C. monogyna, and the unmodified name is often so used in Britain and Ireland. The name is now also applied to the entire genus and to the related Asian genus Rhaphiolepis. The name haw, originally an Old English term for hedge, applies to the fruit

Hawthorns provide food and shelter for many species of birds and mammals, and the flowers are important for many nectar-feeding insects. Hawthorns are also used as food plants by the larvae of a large number of Lepidoptera species; see List of Lepidoptera that feed on hawthorns. Haws are important for wildlife in winter, particularly thrushes and waxwings; these birds eat the haws [fruit] and disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Crataegus monogyna / Common hawthorn flowers
"Left photo Common hawthorn". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons. Right photo "Common hawthorn flowers". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

The "haws" or fruits of the Common Hawthorn, C. monogyna, are edible but the flavour has been compared to over-ripe apples. In the United Kingdom, they are sometimes used to make a jelly or home made wine.[8] The leaves are edible and, if picked in spring when still young, are tender enough to be used in salads.[9] The young leaves and flower buds, which are also edible, are known as "bread and cheese" in rural England.

Types Of Hawthorn Trees: How To Grow Hawthorn In The Landscape Growing hawthorn plants comes with its share of problems because they are susceptible to a number of diseases, including apple scab, fire blight, leaf spots, leaf blights and several types of rust. Some of the diseases are potentially fatal, and they leave the foliage and twigs looking tattered by the end of the season. If you decide to grow a hawthorn tree, look for a disease resistant variety such as ‘Winter King’ or ‘Washington’ hawthorn.

Hawthorn trees need full sun and well-drained soil. They tolerate almost any type of soil and variations in pH.

Set the trees out in spring so they’ll have a full season to become established before winter. In large settings they look great in groups, and they are pretty enough to stand alone as specimens in small gardens. Although they make great lawn and street trees, avoid planting thorny varieties where children play or where pedestrians pass. The thorns are fierce, and can be as much as three inches long.

Crataegus monogyna / Common hawthorn flowers
Water the trees during dry spells for the first year. Afterward, they are drought resistant.

Feed hawthorns annually for the first three years with a balanced fertilizer and every other year thereafter.

Hawthorn trees need little pruning. Remove suckers that arise from the base of the trunk. You can trim the canopy, if necessary, to keep it looking neat. Make cuts just beyond a lateral twig or bud that faces the direction in which you want the branch to grow.

You might want to make routine spraying a part of your hawthorn tree care plan. Hawthorns are bothered by lace bugs, aphids, mites and scale, and these insects can get out of control unless you treat them early. Use a lightweight horticultural oil early in the season. You can damage the tree by spraying with horticultural oils at the wrong time, so read the label instructions carefully before spraying. Use a general-purpose spray labeled for hawthorn trees later in the season.

Fruit Trees

Legg Farm free shipping with $100 order. Our fruit trees are grown and grafted in Texas, and when established they are very drought and heat tolerant.

Catalog PDF Legg Farm

Mexican Buckeye

Mexican buckeye Ungnadia speciosa Mexican buckeye is a wonderful little Texas native tree that’s a real show-stopper in late winter and early spring. It’s deciduous, and like many spring-flowering trees, it puts on a beautiful floral display for a short few weeks just as it’s putting on new leaves for the year.

The pink flowers are similar to Mexican redbud, another great small tree, but the special thing about Mexican buckeye is that it’s an understory tree that grows in bright shade.

We don’t have a lot of choices for shady yards, and that list is even shorter for plants with blooms as beautiful as these. It can also take a sunny spot in your garden, where it will get a little bigger: up to 30 feet tall. It has a shrubby, multi-trunked habit, but you can easily tame that to a single trunk if you want it to be more tree-like. Mexican buckeye doesn’t need too much water, but it needs a little; about as much as other shade-loving plants. It can take slightly heavy soil, but it prefers good drainage, or even soil that’s a little on the porous side. And it doesn’t need much pruning, except to give it a little shape if you want to. It’s not susceptible to cold and even has very attractive fruit, so all-in-all, you just can’t beat it!

For Sale at Arbor Day Foundation

"To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, and to live as a people, we must have trees." --Theodore Roosevelt

[All tolerant of alkaline--San Antonio--soil]:


"Trees add value to your home, regulate the temperature of your neighborhood, and provide food for wildlife. Trees Tame Stormwater, fight climate change, and save energy."

Northern Catalpa Catalpa speciosa Showy white flowers that bloom in late spring; Large, bright green heart-shaped leaves; Fast-growing tree; Unique twisting trunks and branches add to the ornamental value; Hardy enough to withstand city conditions, but still add interest with blooms, shape; 40' to 60' high with 30' spread; Zones 4 to 8

Full sun or partial shade. Tolerates alkaline clay soils.

Eastern Redbud Cercis canadensis Spectacular rosy pink blossoms that appear in April; Great colorful foliage year round with reddish-brown leaves changing to dark green then to yellow in fall; Grows to 20' to 30' with 25' to 35' spread; Zones 4 to 9

Does well in Full, Partial Shade exposure(s). Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Well Drained, Wide Range soils.

Attributes: Spectacular spring blossoms. The seeds provide winter food for birds. An excellent tree for planting near utility lines. Provides good shade when planted near patios. Well known for its beauty, it is the state tree of Oklahoma.

Wildlife Value: Northern bobwhite and a few songbirds, such as chickadees, will eat the seeds, and it can be used for nesting sites and nesting materials, it also provides shelter for birds and mammals.

History/Lore/Use: Native to North America and Canada with cousins in Europe and Asia. First cultivated in 1811. The Spaniards noted Redbuds and made distinctions between the New World species and their cousins in the Mediterranean region in 1571. George Washington reported in his diary on many occasions about the beauty of the tree and spent many hours in his garden transplanting seedlings obtained from the nearby forest.

Leaves: The leaves of this tree are reddish-purple, changing to dark green and then yellow. Flower Color: Rosy-pink flowers. Bloom Time: April. Fruit Description: This tree produces a pod, brown-brownish black and 2 to 3 inches long.

Lacebark Elm Ulmus parvifolia Tough and durable tree for any situation; Medium to fast growing; Multitude of fall colors changes from yellow to reddish purple; Distinctive, mottled bark creates colorful trunk patterns; Grows 40' to 50' with 40' spread; Zones 5 to 9

Full sun or partial shade. Tolerates alkaline clay soils.

Pecan Carya illinoinensis Nut tree producing high-protein nuts; Great symmetrical tree; Planted for ornamental purposes or backyard orchard; Plant two trees for cross-pollination; Grows to 70' to 100' tall with 40' to 75' spread; Zones 6 to 9

Cannot ship to Texas.

Washington Hawthorn Crataegus phaenopyrum Late-blooming, flowering tree; Great fall color: orange, scarlet or purple fall; Preferred tree for songbirds; Grows 25' to 30' with 25' spread; Zones 4 to 8

Requires full sun. Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Drought Tolerant, Loamy, Moist, Sandy, Well Drained, Wet, Wide Range soils.

The Washington Hawthorn is a small, colorful tree that will brighten any landscape. Its pleasant display begins with reddish-purple leaves emerging in spring, then turning dark green as they are joined by a graceful display of white flowers. In autumn, the leaves turn orange, scarlet or purple. Red berries extend the colorful show into winter, often contrasting beautifully with the first winter snow. If left unpruned, its thorns make a very effective barrier.

Wildlife Value:

The Washington Hawthorn produces abundant fruit which are eaten by birds & mammals. It is an important nectar plant for bees.


First noted scientifically in 1883, the tree received its name from its point of origin when introduced to Pennsylvania from Washington, becoming known as the "Washington Thorn" because of its prominent thorns.

Smoketree Cotinus coggygria A multi-stemmed small tree that turns a smoky pink color from June through August. Good choice for a shrub border or other grouping; Showy leaves turn from blue-green to yellow-red-purple in fall; Adaptable to many soils; Grows to 10' to 15' with 12' spread; Zones 5 to 8

Full exposure to sun. Soil: The Smoketree grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Drought Tolerant, Loamy, Sandy, Well Drained, Wide Range soils.

The Smoketree is a native of Eurasia and has long been a favorite shrub or small tree for garden plantings or along property lines and the borders of landscaped areas. It was introduced into America as early as 1656 and by 1790 was commonly available in nurseries. It is a species with many names including Smokebush, European Smoketree, Cloud tree, Wig tree, Mist tree, and Jupiter's Beard, all of which allude to its spent floral plumes and airy clusters of seeds which give the tree a hazy, blurry, or feathery appearance.


Sweetshrub Calycanthus floridus Striking reddish-maroon flowers bloom May to July; Fragrant, fruity scent; Grows 6' to 9' tall with a 6' to 12' spread; Zones 4 to 9

Full or partial sun. Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Well Drained soils.

This fruit-scented shrub is a welcome addition to any garden. The lovely reddish-maroon flowers begin appearing in May, and a strawberry-banana-pineapple scent fills the air. It works especially well in shrub borders or around outdoor living areas.

Beautybush Kolkwitzia amabilis Fast-growing shrub; Pink bell-shaped flowers blooming in late spring; Vivid year-round color: unique bark with dark green summer leaves turning red in fall; Second-highest deer resistant rating tier; Zones 4 to 8; 6' to 10' high and wide

Sun or partial shade. Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Drought Tolerant, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Silty Loam, Well Drained, Wide Range soils.

Purplish bark when young, turning light brown as shrub matures. Bark peels and exfoliates on older stems. Will develop dense, compact shape and flower most copiously in full-sun. If placed in semi-shade the growth can be taller and arching, making its delicate flaking bark more visible in winter. Feathery pinkish brown-grey seedpods appear in summer after flowers, providing interest for an additional few weeks. Grows 6' to 10' in height with a smaller spread. Prefers soil to be well-drained, but adapts to many different types. Flower Color: Delicate white-to-pink funnel-shaped blossoms.

Sweet Mockorange Philadelphus coronarius Fast-growing flowering shrub; Unique, white four-petal flowers; Sweetly-scented fragrant blossoms; 10' to 12' High and wide; Zones 4 to 8

Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Loamy, Moist, Rich, Sandy, Well Drained soils.

Blackhaw Viburnum Viburnum prunifolium Dainty clusters of white blossoms blooming in early May; Edible, blue-black fruit follows bloom; Showy autumn color: purple or red burgundy; Very hardy and easy to grow; Does well in a wide variety of conditions; Grows 12' to 15' tall, 8' to 10' spread; Zones 3 to 9

Full sun or partial shade. Tolerates alkaline & wide range of soils.

Arrowwood Viburnum Viburnum dentatum Rounded shape with creamy white flowers; Spectacular fall color display from yellow to glossy red or reddish-purple; Provides food, cover, and nesting sites for birds; Native to North America; Grows 6' to 15' tall, 6' to 15' spread; Zones 3 to 8

Full or partial sun. Grows in Alkaline, Clay, Well Drained, Wide Range soils.

Wildlife Value: It forms dense thickets and provides excellent cover and nesting sites. Birds consume the abundant fruits. It attracts Red Admiral, Eastern Comma, Question Mark butterflies and is larval plant food for the spring azure butterfly and hummingbird moth.

History/Lore/Use: The arrowwood viburnum is native from New Brunswick to Minnesota, south to Georgia.The name arrowwood comes from Native Americans using the strong shoots which developed from the roots for the shafts of their arrows.

Bloom Time: May to early June. Fruit Description: blue to bluish black, 1/4" long, oval berries (drupes) ripening in late September through October

'Blue Chip' Butterfly Bush Buddleia hybrid A non-invasive, miniature butterfly bush; Continuous blooms from mid-summer to fall; Easy to grow plant adds purple-blue color to your landscape; Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies - deer resistant shrub; Proven Winner® flowering shrub; 1 quart container; Zones 5 to 9

Needs full sun. Grows in Drought Tolerant, Well Drained, Wide Range soils.

Wildlife Value: Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer are not attracted to this plant.

Flower Color: Small, star-like, purple with bluish tint, scented flowers densely clustered in spikes. Bloom Time: Mid-summer through mid-fall.

Crapemyrtle (Crape Myrtle) Lagerstroemia indica Fast-growing shrub; Striking pink flowers, handsome bark, and attractive fall foliage; Great for hot and sunny climates; Considerable drought-tolerance once established; Great for hedges and screens; Zones 7 to 9

Needs full sun exposure. Tolerates wide range of soils.

Striking flowers, handsome bark, and attractive fall foliage all combine to make the crapemyrtle a favorite landscape shrub. It is particularly well suited for the hot, sunny climates of the southern and southwestern United States. Once established, it will tolerate considerable drought. A beautiful specimen tree, it is often used in groupings, containers, hedges and screens, urban settings, and as a small street tree. A great abundance of cultivars have been selected for size, flower color, disease resistance, and cold hardiness. These particular Crapemyrtle seedlings are grown from seed or cuttings.

Wildlife Value: Attracts birds

History/Lore/Use: The common crapemyrtle is a native of China and Korea. It is called the "lilac of the South." The number of cultivars is enormous. Among these, the U.S. National Arboretum introductions are important for their disease resistance, good flowering, and ornamental bark.

Moisture: Prefers moist soil but has good drought tolerance.

Flower Color: Pink 6-8" long, 3-5" wide showy panicles on new growth. Bloom Time: late spring and summer into fall

See also Dynamite Crapemyrtle Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit II' pp# 10296; Red Rocket Crapemyrtle Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit IV' pp# 11342 [cherry colored blossoms]; and Rhapsody in Pink Crapemyrtle Lagerstroemia indica 'Whit VIII' pp# 16616 [soft pink flowers]

Foster's No. 2 Holly Ilex x attenuata 'Fosteri' Glossy, dark green leaves; White spring flowers, deep red berries; Common uses include hedges, screens or windbreaks; 15' to 25' high, 8' to 12' wide; Zones 6 to 9

Multiple exposures. Grows in Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Moist, Sandy, Silty Loam, Well Drained soils.

History/Lore/Use: Botanically Foster's Holly #2 is a parthenocarpic from the Greek parthenos meaning virgin and karpos meaning fruit. It is a female holly that will produce fruit without fertilization from a male pollinator.

Leaves: Evergreen, alternate, simple, glossy green, 1 1/2"-3" long, spiny margins. Flower Color: White Fruit Description: Deep red fruits that persist through winter.

Conifer List Montezuma cypress (Taxodium mucronatum). Cypress in name only; a closer relative of redwoods and sequoias. Native to Guatemala, Mexico and south Texas, this turns into a giant with a vaulting trunk and graceful, weeping boughs. Given moderate water, it can reach 40 feet in 15 years. Growth slows with age.

What is a Gymnosperm?

Learning About Pine Cones The name "pine cone" is improper for any other conifer cones. While collecting pine cones in the park for my crafts, I observed which pine tree they came from and the best time to collect them. I saw that some of the pine cones had seeds inside, but I was intrigued that some of them weren't woody. A quick search on the internet showed me the difference between the cones. The cone is an organ which contains the reproductive structures of the Phinophyta (conifers) division. Its botanical name strobilus comes from some of the species' geometrical cone form of this organ. The woody cones, as we know it, are the female cones which produce seeds.

Male cones (microstrobilus or pollen cone) are herbaceous and produce pollen. They are structurally the same on all conifers, with small differences from species to species. At first glance, they all seemed like cones to me, but now I know what they are. They are growing on a central axis, from modified leaves (microsporophyllis) under which the pollen sacs (microsporangia) are growing. The male cones are usually colored differently from the female cones, in yellow, red, purple, green or grey. I had these male cones in a a potpourri on my table and I didn't know what they were. They are dry, but still have the male cone form. comes from some of the species' geometrical cone form of this organ. The woody cones, as we know it, are the female cones which produce seeds.

The female cones (megastrobilus, ovulate or seed cone) contain ovules which become seeds when fertilized by pollen. The female cones are different from species to species, making possible the identification of many conifer species. The plates of a cone are called scales and they differ from species to species. Female cones have two different types of scales: the bract scales, derived from a modified leaf and the seeds scales, derived from a modified branchlet.

First appear the bract scales, and after pollination the seeds scales develop to enclose and protect the seeds. The cones close during the fertilization, then re-open to let the seeds go. Cones can open and close many times as long as the cone is on the branch, even if all the seeds are gone.

On most conifer species, male and female cones grow on the same tree; usually the female are on the upper part, while the male cones are on the lower branches. The explanation of this particular arrangement of the cones in a conifer tree is very interesting: the male cones grow on the lower branches so they can pollenize the female cones from another tree and not from the same. The wind takes the pollen up in the air, usually over other trees nearby. This way the species will remain strong and live on.

The conifer families have different forms of female cones:

Pinaceae, which have "archetypal" cones. This means that their scales are overlapping each other like fish scales. The scales are spirally arranged in fibonacci number ratios.

Araucariaceae, is a very ancient conifer family with three genera: Agathis, Araucaria and Wollemia which have globose type of cones.

Araucaria genus is different from the other two because the male and female cones are found on different trees, like the Araucaria araucana also called the Monkey tail tree.

Podocarpaceae is a member of the Antarctic flora and has very different type of cones, berry-like.

Cupressaceae, the Cypress family with the genera cypresses, arborvitae, junipers and redwoods have the bract and seed scales fully fused. The cones are usually small and spherical, like those of Nootka cypress.

From the cypress family is also the Bald cypress - Taxodium distichum - also called Swamp cypress, one of the few decidous conifer species, meaning it looses its leaves in the fall.

When I was living in Bucharest I saw many Bald cypresses in the park, along the lake. One fall I took pictures of their beautiful and interesting cones.

Bald Cypress cones / Taxodium mucronatum (Montezuma bald cypress) leaves

[The leaves of this tree are similar to those of the Yew tree and thus the similarity in the scientific names between Taxodium and Taxus. These same leaves also help distinguish this tree from true cypress trees that have a similar "cone" but a very different leaf.] Sciadopityaceae has only one genera endemic to Japan, with cones similar to those in the Cupressaceae family, only larger.

Taxaceae, the yew family, and Cephalotaxaceae have cones with a few scales which develop into fleshy arils.

I have two conifer trees from the Pinaceae family in my garden, a Norway spruce - Picea abies and a Colorado blue spruce - Picea pungens glauca. Last month I saw many buds forming on their twigs. The first time I saw them last year I thought they were cones. They looked like very small cones, but later in spring I saw new growth sprouting from those "cones". Now I know that they are only buds which will open up in spring. Norway spruce and the Colorado blue spruce will make cones after they reach maturity, after 20 years of growing.

Introduction to Cycads, the ultimate Jurassic landscape and/or potted plants This is a brief article about one of the most prehistoric of all landscape plants for warmer climates.. There are few better plants for investment value as well- cycads will only go up in value with age and size. And, thankfully, beauty also increases with value as well.

Sago Palm / Sago in bloom

The most common cycad, and the one most people have heard of, is the Sago Palm. Cycas revoluta is NOT a palm despite what its common name suggests, but is a classic cycad, with it’s palm-like trunk and simple, pinnate leaves. Cycads are non-flowering plants that are actually more closely related to conifers than to palms or any other flowering plants. They reproduce by making cones and seeds. All cycads are dioecious, which means they are either male or female, and never both.

As mentioned above, cycads are typically ‘palm-shaped’: symmetrical plants with fronds arising from the tops of their stems (also called a caudex, trunk or base), similar to how palms or many ferns grow. The frond, or leaf, is made up of a petiole, which arises from the stem and has no leaflets on it, a rachis, which is what the petiole is called further from the stem where the leaflets come off either side (like a palm or fern leaf) and, of course, the leaflets themselves, which are the ‘leaf-shaped’ parts that come off either side of the rachis (with remarkable regularity in cycads).

A petiole or rachis is unbranched in all but a few cycads- they have simple pinnate (‘feather-shaped’) leaves. These leaves/fronds are typically somewhat ‘plastic’ or leathery in consistency, which is one of the characteristics that makes cycads unique. These leaves come in various shades of green to blue-green and some are even a pale blue. Some have smooth, simple, spineless leaflets, while some are known for their incredibly sharp, multispined, twisted leaflets. Some cycads can be quite hazardous to handle for this reason.

As a cycad ages, it gets taller from the top of the stem. As is also the case with palms or tree ferns, once a cycad has matured to a certain thickness, it will not get any thicker with age, and all growth is directed either up, or into new suckers/pups that arise from ether the root stock, or along the caudex itself. All the energy of the plant is in this caudex (and sometimes the roots), so this is the business part of the plant. Cycads are basically caudiciform succulents. Leaves, and sometimes roots, are expendable. Cutting all the leaves off a cycad rarely affects it in a negative way. But damage the caudex and the plant is often lost.

Cycads have various root types- some have huge, succulent roots- these varieties usually live in very arid climates. In many of these plants, the caudex itself is also underground and only the leaves are visible except in very old plants. Most cycads have one large carrot-like root, and smaller, more ‘normal’ roots.

There is another kind of root that is somewhat unique to cycads- the collaroid roots, which exist just above or below the surface of established plants, and whose function is to help fix nitrogen via bacteria living in those roots. A cycad with a lot of these collaroid roots is usually a well established and ‘happy’ plant.

Cycads live in nature all over the tropical world, from Central and South America, to Africa, Asia and Australia. A few Zamias are native the ‘tropical US’. No cycads are from colder areas of the world, though some Asian species do live in relatively cool environments. In many of their native lands, some species are extremely endangered and, in a few cases, already extinct. Collecting cycads from the wild is something that is not only frowned upon these days, but is usually unlawful and closely regulated. Saying that, it still happens, thanks to the huge amounts of money some of these plants go for, so probably many of the species that exist today will be extinct in the near future.

Not all cycads need the same care, but in general, most are NOT fond very cold climates, with only a few taking freezing temps at all. One of the reasons Sago Palms are such popular cycads is they tolerate a moderate degree of frost/ freezing climates, but even these have their limits.

Cycads are succulents basically and many can be grown similarly to how one grows most succulents. Most tolerate some dryness and appreciate being grown in very well draining soil- most do not tolerate being grown in clay or other poorly draining soils.

If in a warm climate with the proper soil, most cycads prefer to be watered regularly, and though many are drought tolerant, they tend to perform much better and grow faster if given water often and fertilized regularly as well.

Recently dug up Cycas taitungensis, ready to be planted / the common Ceratozamia mexicana

Planting or transplanting cycads is relatively easy. Root damage will usually occur, as cycad roots are not that sturdy. However, care should be taken not to damage the main, carrot-like root(s) too badly, as injury to this root will allow fungal infections to develop, and sometimes overtake the plant. Still, if this root is badly damaged, often the plant will survive, but will need to be kept dry (do not replant immediately) until the injury ‘cures’ over. Rooting hormone and/or antifungal powders/creams on these injuries can be beneficial. It is best not to water a cycad after transplanting it, as that will also allow fungus and opportunity to invade. Best to wait a week or so (less for very small plants of course) to allow root damage to heal and roots to be able to uptake water again.

Most cycads like sun, though some species/genera are not that tolerant of full sun in very hot climates

Cycads need to be trimmed as the older, senescent leaves die. This can be hazardous if you have a spiny species, so use gloves as/if needed. If for some reason the leaves are damaged, but not dead, they still can be cut off without damage to the plant itself. If you trim a living leaf, which is OK if need be, a clearish ‘goo’ may ooze from the cut end. This is the cycads way of curing itself- sort of like a built in liquid bandage system. Seeing this ooze arise from the caudex is not usually a good sign- it indicates there is some damage of the caudex at that site, or deeper within (trauma, insect damage etc.). But do not clean it off- most cycads can heal their wounds well. Just look for the inciting cause if possible.

One of the reasons cycads are such popular collector plants is they are slow growing. Most can live your entire life in a pot, though almost all will grow faster and better in the ground. Many species will make 1-3 leaf flushes a year… some less often, some more. But very little height is gained in a single new set of leaves, so overall height is a very slowly increasing situation. This makes all but the oldest, hugest plants manageable for the average collector to keep and maintain. With proper care many cycads can live for many hundreds of years… some very old plants in the wild may be thousands of years old. Dying of old age is something much more likely to happen to the grower than to the plant itself.

Cycas revoluta, the Sago Palm, is an easy plant to grow from offsets, and it also is one of the easier species to pollinate as well. See discussion above about rerooting cycads.

Cycads are, in general, toxic, inedible plants. However, many have historically been used for food by native peoples, who know either what the safe parts of the plants are, or how to properly prepare them. It is best to just assume all parts are toxic, and to keep that in mind when you have pets and/or small children. Though most pets will not eat a cycad, some dogs will eat the leaves or fruits and some species are deadly toxic. And cattle will happily graze on some cycads and succumb to their toxic properties as well. Please keep this in mind when selecting what species to get and where to plant them.


7 Reasons You Should Plant a Mulberry Tree First of all, let us be clear that, despite what any childhood songs may have suggested, the mulberry grows on a tree, not a bush. In fact, it can be a humongous tree. If left to grow wild, some varieties can easily get upwards of 80 feet high, with a large spreading canopy that will engulf a suburban lawn in shade. In other words, though other berry plants might grow low to the ground and make lovely hedges, mulberries are something else altogether.

Now, truth be told, mulberries aren’t nearly as known as other berries, and to many who do know them, they have a speckled reputation. The berries are known to stain driveways. The trees are known to reproduce like weeds. The trees are also infamous for attracting insects and creating pollen. Even so, for permaculture practitioners, the hard-nosed mulberry is often amongst the top trees to include in a garden.

1. Crazy Abundant

Berry bushes are known for supplying quite a lot of food, so imagine what happens when a three-foot bush expands into a fifty-foot tree. Mulberry trees are insanely productive, some of them giving a couple hundred pounds of fruit a year. The reason we don’t see mulberries so much in the market place is that they tend to bruise and leak easily, making them not so commercially viable.

2. Deliciously Available

At home, however, we can pick them for ourselves and enjoy the huge harvest. The berries can be eaten soon after harvest, or they can be frozen and stored for later. They work well dehydrated. Like any berries, they suit pies, ice “creams” and yogurt perfectly, or the frozen berries can be blended into a delicious sorbet. They can also be used to make homemade wine. Not having enough mulberries is rarely a problem when there is a mature tree in the yard.

3. Edibl-y Diverse

Not only are the berries in abundance, but mulberry leaves are actually edible as well. They can be used in salads, and it is also quite common to use them similarly to grape leaves, creating “stuffed” leaf recipes. In some cultures, they are well respected for medicinal value and have been known to help with blood glucose levels. However, it is very important to note that mulberry leaves must be cooked before they are eaten.

4. Fast-Growing

Mulberry trees, unlike some other productive crop trees, are renowned for their ability to shoot up quickly. Most trees take about five to ten years to begin bearing fruits; however, there are some varieties that’ll start producing within the second year and slowly give more as it nears maturity, roughly ten years. The tree itself gets bigger quite quickly, providing plenty of shade and reward for cultivation efforts.

5. Climatically Tolerant

Mulberries come in quite a large variety, and odds are, wherever you live, there is a mulberry that performs well in that climate. They are known to work from zone three to zone nine, with only the hot tropics and arid deserts being a real challenge. They are drought-resistant, withstand temperatures dipping into the negatives, and can be a little brittle in really heavy winds. Mulberries are big, beautiful trees that work in most places.

6. Animal-Friendly

Because they are so abundant and delicious, mulberries are quite popular with wildlife, especially silkworms, insects, and birds. Many planters will use them to distract wildlife from their more finicky production crops, or nature lovers might simply want to attract birds to their property. Whatever the case, mulberries produce enough fodder for the birds (the berries and bugs), the silkworms (the leaves), and people (the berries) to have plenty.

7. Shade-Producing

Mulberries, being tall and sprawling trees, are great for providing a shady spot. They’ll grow up quickly and cover a corner of the yard, creating a strategic spot for some hammock-with-a-book time. What’s more is that they are deciduous, loosing their leaves in the winter, so they produce shade in the summer, when it’s needed, and let the sun in during the cooler season, when more warmth is needed.

For some, mulberries aren’t the most beloved. They are sometimes known to be invasive, multiplying when birds deposit their seeds everywhere, and the berries can stain surfaces. However, put in the right place, put in a new garden, the trees grow fast, provide a lot of food, intoxicate the surrounding wildlife, and generally allow for some early success with food cultivation.

Trees can form bonds like an old couple and look after each other A forester and scientist have been studying communication between trees for decades; their incredible observations can be seen in the new documentary, 'Intelligent Trees.'

Trees have feelings. They can feel pain, but can also have emotions, such as fear.

Trees like to stand close together and cuddle.

There is in fact friendship among trees.

These are just a few of the wonderful observations made by tree whisperer, Peter Wohlleben, the German forester extraordinaire and best-selling author of "The Hidden Life of Trees."

When I wrote about Wohlleben earlier this year (Trees in the forest are social beings), I was floored by how his work resonated with tree-loving me. Here was an established forester – with a proven track record of improving forest health and loads of scientific research under his belt – swooning about trees as if they were people. “These trees are friends. You see how the thick branches point away from each other? That’s so they don’t block their buddy’s light.” And while some biologists might kvetch about this anthropomorphizing, Wohlleben counters: “I use a very human language. Scientific language removes all the emotion, and people don’t understand it anymore. When I say, ‘Trees suckle their children,’ everyone knows immediately what I mean.”


Now Wohlleben has teamed up with forest ecologist Suzanne Simard from the University of British Columbia, Canada in a new documentary called "Intelligent Trees." We have also sung the praises of Simard around here; her decades of research and findings about how trees communicate is as groundbreaking as it is profound … and beautiful. Together, Wohlleben and Simard are a tree dream team.

In the film they explore the various ways in which trees communicate, noting that:

Trees are so much more than rows of wood waiting to be turned into furniture, buildings or firewood. They are more than organisms producing oxygen or cleaning the air for us. They are individual beings that have feelings, know friendship have a common language and look after each other.

As Wohlleben says in the trailer below, "There is in fact friendship among trees. They can form bonds like an old couple, where one looks after the other.”

And on that note, I'm pretty sure there is in fact friendship among trees and humans, too.

You can stream the film at Vimeo On Demand, there is a web series of shorter highlights available as well. And see more about the film at the website, Intelligent Trees.

Fall in Pearland, Tx

20 random reasons to really love trees There are approximately 2 million reasons to love trees ... but we'll start with these.

It’s no secret that I go nuts for the trees. I talk to them, I pet them … the Lorax is my spirit animal! So it’s no surprise that Arbor Day, generally observed on the last Friday of April, holds a special place in my heart. What could be better than a day dedicated to observing the importance of trees and better yet, to planting new ones?

It’s funny because I often think about how vital it is to be good stewards to trees – but when I muse upon how critical they are for us, I think that maybe I have it all wrong. What if it’s the trees who have been acting as good stewards to us all along?

Arbor Day in the United States was officially designated in Nebraska in 1872 – pioneers moving to the treeless plains realized they needed trees for things like fruit, windbreaks, fuel, building materials and shade. Essentially, food and shelter and the necessities for survival. So who’s taking care of whom here? We need trees, but do trees need us? They need us not to cut them down indiscriminately, for sure, but really they seem to be doing most of the work in this relationship.

Consider the following:

1. Trees work hard to right our wrongs
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the trees around the world removed about one-third of fossil fuel emissions annually between 1990 to 2007.

2. They help keep our houses clean
A study from Lancaster University found that trees by the road reduced the presence of airborne particulate matter (pollution from cars) inside nearby homes by 50 percent.

3. They ease the workday
Office workers who can gaze upon trees from their windows report less stress and more satisfaction, according to a study from Chungbuk University, South Korea.

4. Trees feed us, they give us pie!
Trees provide food for people and wildlife beyond what we likely imagine. A single apple tree alone can produce up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year. Apples, pie, important!

5. They provide shelter and support
Three hundred million people across the globe live in forests and 1.6 billion depend on them for their livelihoods, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Forests also provide habitat for a mind-boggling array of plants and creatures, many of which we don't even know about.

6. They show us how to age gracefully
Seriously, talk about respecting your elders. The world’s oldest tree is an ancient bristlecone pine named Methuselah that lives at 10,000 feet above sea level in the Inyo National Forest, California. Methuselah is as old as Stonehenge and older than the Egyptian pyramids.

7. Trees keep cities cool
Trees lower urban temperatures by up to 10°F by shading and releasing water vapor into the air through their stress-soothing leaves.

8. They are giant humidifiers (kind of)
In a single day, one large tree can lift up to 100 gallons of water out of the ground and discharge it into the air.

9. They keep buildings comfortable
Of course shade trees produce shade; a lot. Strategically placed trees can cut down air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save up to 50 percent in energy required for heating.

10. Trees are social beings
"They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the 'Wood Wide Web' – and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots." That's not me being woo-woo, but a very poetic tree expert. Read more here: Trees are social beings

11. They devour carbon dioxide
Biology 101 tells us that trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air – but the amount is remarkable. In a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 equivalent to a car driven 26,000 miles.

12. Likewise, they give us breath
Four people can get a day’s worth of oxygen from one large tree.

13. And water In the United States, watersheds protected by forests provide water to more than 180 million people.

14. Trees fight crime
A study by the University of Vermont and U.S. Forest Service found that in Baltimore alone, a 10 percent increase in tree canopy corresponded to a 12 percent drop in crime.

15. They fight grime
In outdoor spaces with trees, there is less graffiti, vandalism and littering in comparison to place without greenery, says a study from the University of Washington.

16. They give us something to look up to, literally
The tallest living tree is a towering 379.1-foot coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in California's Redwood National Park in 2006. Called Hyperion (above), it miraculously survives on a hillside, rather than the more-typical alluvial flat, with 96 percent of the surrounding area having been logged of its original coast redwood growth.

17. They pay us back
For each dollar spent on planting a tree in the city, they pay us back by up to five times in terms of cleaner air, lower energy costs, improved water quality and stormwater control and increased property values.

18. They're ersatz war heroes
Sure, we’ve long had a national anthem and bird – and we’ll always have apple pie and baseball – but what about a national tree? We got one in 2004, and it’s the oak. Oak trees have long been prized for their attributes as well as their place in U.S. history, from Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Salt River Ford Oak as a marker in crossing a river near Homer, Illinois, to Andrew Jackson taking shelter under Louisiana’s Sunnybrook Oaks on his way to the Battle of New Orleans, notes the Arbor Day Foundation. "In the annals of military history, 'Old Ironsides,' the USS Constitution, took its nickname from the strength of its live oak hull, famous for repelling British cannonballs." See how well trees take care of us?

19. They are unassuming in their vastness
There are more than 23,000 different kinds of trees in the world; altogether, there are three trillion trees on the planet. Yet they just humbly stand by, working hard and never making too much of a fuss.

20. Trees keep us young and rich
And when all else fails, there's this: They may keep us young and rich! Research found that people who live on streets with high tree density are less likely to report a number of health complaints; and specifically, trees improve health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 or being seven years younger. You can never be too rich or too thin, and you can never live among too many trees. End of story.

Planting Costs

Schulz Nursery in Marion 2/3 of way to Sequin on I10 East [Houston Hwy]. Take FM 465 exit, turn left. / 100 W Huebinger St, free with $100+ purchase.

Rainbow Garden on Bandera. Can't find: emailed.

The Garden

Tree Planting Service Delivery fee is $45. Planting fees include free delivery (within delivery zone), installation, mulch, and 1 year warranty. Save your back and time, let our team of professional nurserymen bring their jackhammers, shovels and picks to do the dirty work. We love this kind of stuff and can help you dig. the soil in San Antonio is very rocky and often you can not dig more than 10 inches without hitting solid limestone. We have planted thousands of trees in San Antonio for over 25 years.
*Charge for any service of planting or delivery by The Garden Center must meet a $45 minimum.
*For your convenience and safety we will submit a utility locate request for your installation site.
*Tree plantings and deliveries are scheduled on a first come first served basis, Monday-Friday. Can’t be there? That’s ok, we can still plant it for you even if you’re not home. You will receive a flag to mark where you would like your tree planted.
*Tree staking is available and recommended for some tree varieties at $25 per staking
*Planting charges vary by gallon(#) sizes as follows:
Plant size =
#2/3/5 - $15.00
#7 - $35.00
#10/15/20 - $60.00
#25/30 - $100.00
#45 - $150.00
#65/95 - $225.00
#125 - $350.00

Fanick Nursery on Southside. No sign of tree planting, but they have catalpa trees!

milberger nursery no sign; contacted.

Countryside Trees: specialize in SA trees. Call 210.995.5593 Oaks only?

Should I try Juan?

CTG: Don't Kill Your Trees common mistakes when planting.

Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, Montana

Flameleaf Sumac

Recommended on CTG. Native to SA. Great for birds and wildlife. Wonderful in Fall. 12 to 20 ft. high. 15 to 20 ft. wide. Full sun to partial shade.



How to Plant a Tree

Arbor Day

TAMU email 10/19/16:

Texans across the Lone Star State are invited to celebrate Arbor Day Nov. 4.

Arbor Day is a holiday for trees - it is the perfect day to plant trees and to celebrate all the ways that trees enrich our lives, communities and landscapes.

In Texas, the official state Arbor Day celebration is held in a different host city each year on the first Friday in November. This year, the city of Nacogdoches will host the Texas Arbor Day celebration in the Millard's Crossing Historic Village.

The celebration, is aptly themed Leaving a Legacy, as Nacogdoches, celebrating a Tricentennial this year, is recognized as the Oldest Town in Texas. Festivities will feature a ceremony, educational activities, tree plantings, giveaways and homage to historic and champion trees. Events are free and open to the public.

For those unable to attend the state celebration, Texas A&M Forest Service invites you to celebrate Arbor Day in your own ways, in your own communities.

"The idea is for everyone in Texas to take one day - the same day - to truly appreciate trees and plant one," said Paul Johnson Texas A&M Forest Service urban and community forestry program coordinator. "Planting a tree leaves a legacy for future generations while beautifying the spaces where we live, work and play today."

Texas A&M Forest Service is making it easy for anyone, anywhere to participate in Arbor Day. We've provided tips online to help you create a memorable Arbor Day in your own community, and fun, educational activities for schools, groups and families to get outdoors and learn more about trees.

Visit for ideas on how to host an Arbor Day ceremony. Here you can also find instructions on how to properly plant a tree and activities about the benefits of trees, tree parts and how to identify a tree by its leaves or structure - plus so much more.

About Texas Arbor Day: Under the leadership of the Texas Forestry Association, Texas first observed Arbor Day in 1889, celebrating the benefits that trees provide over a lifetime.

Epsom Salts

Removing a Stump with Epsom Salts

Inspiring video man plants trees on desert island.


Melia azederach “Chinaberry Tree” For a year, I drove past a mature specimen growing near the nursery in someone’s front yard & I was enthralled by its beauty & extremely fragrant flowering sprays. The owners only knew it was a “lilac,” though it certainly wasn’t a Syringa.

Later, I was able to discover its identity & learned it is a very attractive deciduous tree to 20’ tall & wide with a beautiful form & pretty, dark green, pinnate leaves. In Spring it bears masses of huge panicles (at least 24” long) of very sweetly fragrant, lavender, 5-petaled star flowers.

The stout trunk has bark similar to an oak & the wood is very hard & beautifully grained (it’s related to Mahogany). This is one beautiful, tough, pest free & drought tolerant tree, perfectly suited to our climate. An excellent street tree, too. Plant carefully in southern States as it has become a bit weedy there.

Requires full sun, low water, zones 7b-11.

Melia azedarach commonly known by many names, including chinaberry tree,[3] Pride of India,[4] bead-tree, Cape lilac,[3] syringa berrytree,[3] Persian lilac,[3] and Indian lilac, is a species of deciduous tree in the mahogany family, Meliaceae, that is native to Indomalaya and Australasia.

Texas Invasives Deciduous tree to 50 feet (15 m) in height and 2 feet (60 cm) in diameter, much branched with multiple boles, lacy dark-green leaves having a musky odor, and clusters of lavender flowers in spring yielding persistent, poisonous yellow berries.

Ecological Threat: Chinaberry outcompetes native vegetation due to its high relative resistance to insects and pathogens. Its leaf litter raises soil pH, thus altering soil conditions for native plants and seed germination.

Chinaberry is a very fast growing tree that reaches 18 - 24 feet in height in 4 - 5 years. May reach 50 - 60 feet in total height.

Biology & Spread: Reproduces on-site primarily from root sprouts, and over longer distances via bird-dispersed seeds. Reproductively mature when it reaches the size of a shrub. Flowers in the spring, fruits in the summer. Fruit remain on the tree past leaf fall.

History: Introduced in the mid-1800s from Asia. Widely planted as a traditional ornamental around homesites. Extracts potentially useful for natural pesticides.

Chinaberry Tree Information Native to Pakistan, India, Southeast Asia and Australia, chinaberry tree information tells us it was introduced as an ornamental specimen to the United Sates in 1930 and for a period of time became the darling of landscapers in the southern United States. Today, the chinaberry tree is considered something of a pest due to its reseeding propensity and easy naturalization.

Growing chinaberry trees (Melia azedarach) have a dense spreading habitat attaining heights of between 30 to 50 feet tall and hardy in USDA zones 7-11. Growing chinaberry trees are prized as shade trees in their native habitat and bear pale purple tube-like blooms with a heavenly scent much like southern magnolia trees. They are found in fields, prairies, along roadsides and at the edge of wooded areas.

The resulting fruit, marble sized drupes, are light yellow gradually becoming wrinkled and white over the course of the winter months. These berries are toxic to humans when eaten in quantity but the juicy pulp is enjoyed by many bird varieties, often resulting in rather “drunken” behavior.

Chinaberry trees are resilient specimens and can be quite messy from the dropping berries and leaves. They spread easily, if allowed, and, as such, are classified as an invasive tree in the southeastern United States. This prolific mahogany member grows rapidly but has a short life span.

Chinaberry Uses: As mentioned above, the chinaberry is a valuable shade tree in its endemic regions due to its large, spreading canopy. Chinaberry uses in the southeastern regions of the United States have been used for just this attribute and were commonly added to the home landscape prior to the 1980’s.

The most commonly planted variety is the Texas umbrella tree with a slightly longer life span than other chinaberries and a lovely, distinct rounded shape. ... a narcotic; refer to the toxicity of the fruit and the tipsy, gorging birds.

Today, the chinaberry is still sold in nurseries but is less likely to be utilized in landscapes. Not only is it a threat to the natural ecosystem by its encroaching habit, but its messy and, more importantly, shallow root systems tend to clog drains and damage septic systems. Growing chinaberry trees also have weak limbs too, which break easily during severe weather, creating yet another mess.

If, after reading all the above information, you decide you just must have a specimen of the chinaberry in your garden, purchase a disease free certified plant at the nursery.

Chinaberry plant care is not complex once the tree is established. Plant the tree in full sun in most any soil type within the USDA zones 7-11. The tree should be watered regularly, although it will tolerate some drought and needs no irrigation through the winter months.

Prune your chinaberry tree to remove root and shoot suckers and maintain the umbrella-like canopy.

Citrus Trees

Is there an orange tree that can survive in a Zone 8? I believe there are some trifoliate hybrids that would do well in your area. Are you in New Mexico? You might do some research on Citranges, Citrandarins, Citrumelos, as well as some of the hardier Tangerine varieties (10-degree tangerine, Keraji Mandarin, Changsha, etc.) Have you noticed any other citrus in your area?

I am in zone 8. I am growing Satsuma mandarin, lemon, and grapefruit. They are in containers and during this recent cold snap I brought them into the greenhouse for a couple of days. I have put them in the garage before. So, I would be cautious about growing in the ground in zone 8. There are a few people downtown where it's protected that are growing mandarins outside and they are doing great! I bought mine from Four Winds. they have a hardiness chart on their web site.

i don't know if i live in zone 8A or just zone 8, but oranges do well over here. it does get really cold some winters and the frosts seem to damage the oranges depending on how bad the temperature is. I know people have orange trees everywhere around here and despite a little die back on the new growth, the trees seem to be fine. We had about 4 days that droped down around 26and 27 and alot of plants died , but i havn't seen any dead citrus trees. My neighbors on both sides have citrus and they are fine, one of my neighbors tree, still has a bunch of oranges on it. They sure are good!

Satsuma is the best tasting cold hardy citrus, seedless too.

Growing Citrus Trees A lot of people worry that citrus trees will not be easy to grow or will take forever to bear fruit. Put that thought behind you because neither of those assumptions is necessarily true. Even if you live where winter can toss a frost or two your way you can still enjoy fresh, organic citrus grown at home. For those who live in frigid climates, you too can succeed at growing citrus quite easily.

One of the biggest problems anyone has with homegrown citrus, such as lemons, oranges and clementine trees, is that they don’t purchase super vigorous, healthy young trees to begin with. No matter what type of plants you try to grow, it will be much harder to do so easily if you purchase weak, immature or sickly plants in the first place. Start with a plant that has a well developed root system and not a twig in a dixie cup.

The next step to success is to decide if you live in a location that the citrus trees can be planted outside in your garden soil or is best grown in a pot. If frost and below freezing temperatures is a possibility, you will want to container grow your chemical free citrus so you can winter it indoors. No matter where you will be growing your new lifetime supply of delicious Vitamin C, your young tree will need very good drainage and lots of sunshine. So, if container growing for wintering indoors, it is necessary to plant these types of fruit trees only in pots that have drainage holes in the bottom.

Selecting Your Outdoor Planting Site: Obviously, most homeowners don’t have lots of choices as to where you will plant your citrus trees. Except for some very southern regions, if you live north of zone 8, you should be prepared to container grow your citrus. In zone 8, it is best to plant citrus trees on the south or southeast side of your home. This provides added protection from northwestern cold fronts. Planting your new citrus tree close to your home’s walls is also advisable as the heat the structure gives off will work to give it added warmth during such bouts of chillier than normal temperatures.

Do be sure and place the trunk of the citrus plants a minimum of 6-8 feet away from walls, fences and paved surfaces like drives and sidewalks. Also, space your citrus trees 6-8 feet apart for ease of picking and maintenance. Naturally, should you have a septic system, choose your planting location away from it and your drain field. In the city, you won’t want to place such a deep rooted plant near or over sewer lines as they can cause you a nightmare of clogged sewer lines as your new trees mature.

You should never plant citrus trees beneath other trees, as they need full sunlight for ultimate growth and fruiting.

The Right Soil Requirements for Citrus Trees: All citrus trees require deeply draining soil. This means runoff water leaves the area and the drainage beneath the surface is excellent and will not saturate the root system. Finding out what kind of soil you have to a depth that your new citrus will grow can be as simple as taking stock of what the other trees in your yard look like. Healthy shade and ornamental trees in your landscaping is a good sign that your soil should be great for growing citrus trees.

You can also plant your new citrus orchard in raised beds to create better drainage below the surface. Your soil pH should be in the range of 6-8 and not be high in salt, as citrus won’t be happy about dwelling in the wrong conditions. You can get your soil pH tested easily with pH test kits from your local garden center.

Planting Your New Citrus Trees in the Yard: Unlike many types of nursery container grown plants, citrus trees will take a long time to root past the potting medium and into your ground soil. To help them spread their roots faster and improve initial new growth rates, remove the exterior of the potting soil just as you are ready to slip the tree in its installation hole. Don’t take all of it off, that would be harmful – just the outer half inch or so to allow the roots to be surrounded with your ground soil. This is very simple to do by washing it off with the hose immediately before sinking your young citrus tree in its new real soil home.

You want to cut a 4 ft. circle out of your lawn as the start of your planting hole. Discard the grassy top layer and dig your hole half again wider than each citrus tree’s root ball. When planting citrus you will want to ‘plant it high’, meaning you want the top of the finished planting surface to be crowned 1 inch higher than the lawn. This creates your surface run-off of water, and will be a great assistance to your tree in wet weather.

You won’t need to do a lot of amending with good soil, so don’t worry about adding compost and peat unless your soil is not good quality for drainage. With your tree set in the planting hole, fill around it half way to the top and thoroughly saturate the back fill soil. This helps it to settle around the roots of your new citrus tree’s ball. Finish filling the hole and tamp your loose soil into place lightly. Cover the roots with no more than 1 inch of ground soil to seal the potting soil from direct air contact. Soilless medium used in production nurseries is design to air dry too rapidly for home growing, blocking the air with a layer of soil stops you from having rapid drying problems.

To let your citrus tree be able to have deep root watering, build a water retention ring around the perimeter of your planting circle that is 5 – 6 inches tall and 6 – 8 inches thick. When completed, your watering ring should be slightly wider than the removed circle of lawn for your planting hole. Don’t skimp, should you be short on soil left from the planting, buy some from your local garden center or borrow it from your garden. Fill your new citrus tree’s watering basin with water, touching up any sinking spots in the planting hole that may settle after this first deep root watering.

Mulching: Do not mulch over 3 inches deep and never put mulch any closer to the trunk of citrus trees than 12-24”. Nature didn’t create mulch, man did. Mulch can cause fungus issues with citrus plants.

Watering: When freshly planted, citrus trees need a deep, thorough watering two to three times the first week and one to two times per week for the next few weeks, depending upon soil type, rainfall and the time of year. Once this adjustment and establishment period is over, water them deeply whenever the soil begins to get dry an inch or so below the surface. Simply fill the water ring each time. Within about four, perhaps six months, your watering reservoir will erode away. Don’t worry about rebuilding it, by this time your new citrus trees will be established enough that you can use a soaker hose to supply that deep root moisture as the water in your soil level drops.

Nutrition: Don’t worry about fertilizing your new citrus trees when planting. Once your plants begin putting on new growth you will want to begin your fertilization schedule of once a month from February through October. Citrus trees are hungry plants and excellent performance will come from applying citrus fertilizer on a timely basis. You will also have good results with palm fertilizer, as they have almost identical requirements. Organic products to look for are Citrus-tone from Espoma and Dr. Earth Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer.

Scatter the prescribed amount of organic fertilizer on the ground at least a foot away from the trunk and promptly water it in thoroughly. Notice in the chart below that young citrus will need an increasing amount of fertilizer applied in the first few years you have it in your yard.

Citrus Tree Fertilizing: February – October
Year 1 monthly application 1 cup
Year 2 monthly application 2 cups
Year 3 monthly application 3 cups
Year 3 monthly application 4 cups

Container grown citrus needs to be feed more frequently than trees planted in outdoor ground soil.

Pruning: Grown in outdoor soil, these fruit trees will have a naturally full and pleasant shape. Citrus trees grown indoors can become leggy and getting them to be fuller is done by partially cutting back the growth to increase branching and density. Should the canopy of your indoor citrus get way too big for the containerized roots, some falling leaves and fine twig dieback can happen. This is corrected by pruning your citrus plant’s canopy back heavily.

Which Fruit Trees Grow Best in Zone 8? Fruit trees grow best within an optimal range of temperatures and are injured by excessive heat or cold. Heat and cold tolerance varies greatly between fruit tree species. The U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone map is helpful in assisting the home gardener in selecting trees that are appropriate for their location. Gardeners in USDA zone 8 can select from a diverse array of easy-to-grow fruit trees that add bold color, flowers, fragrance and visual interest to the landscape.

Pear Trees

Cleveland pear trees (Pyrus calleryana 'Cleveland Select') are well suited to cultivation in zones 5 though 8. The tree exhibits clusters of fragrant, white flowers in spring and resists damage from wind, ice and snow. The fast-growing tree quickly matures to a height of 30 to 40 feet tall and does well in small garden spaces. Cleveland pear trees do best in organically rich, well-drained soil and prefer a full-sun location. In autumn, the leaves turn a deep scarlet red. Kieffer pear (Pyrus communis x P. pyrifolia) is a heat-tolerant pear tree that flourishes in zones 4 though 9. The hardy fruit tree grows from 15 to 30 feet tall with a 12- to 20-foot spread and produces delicious, gold-colored fruit. It is important to plant at least two Kieffer pear trees to assure pollination.

Cherry Trees

The Kwanzan cherry tree (Prunus 'Kwanzan') flourishes in zones 5 through 9. In spring, the fast-growing tree displays clouds of fragrant, deep pink-colored flowers. Kwanzan cherry trees grow in almost any soil condition and reach a mature size of 30 to 40 feet tall and wide.

Apple Trees

Dwarf Gala apple trees (Malus 'Gala') grow well in zones 5 though 8. One of the most popular varieties of apple tree, the Gala apple resists bruising and softening. Flavorful and delicious, Gala apples are a tasty addition to the home orchard. Gala apple trees reach a mature height of 10 to 15 feet and achieve a width of 8 to 10 feet. They prefer well-drained, nutrient-rich soil and a full-sun location. Stayman Winesap apple (Malus x domestica) grows best in zones 5 to 8. The hardy tree produces an abundance of pink flowers and tart red apples.

Apricot Trees

Early golden apricot (Prunus armeniaca) is an attractive landscape tree that exhibits pink or white flowers followed by sweet and plump apricots. The fast-growing apricot tree is well suited to cultivation in zones 5 though 8. Moorpark apricot (Prunus armeniaca) grows best in zones 4 though 8. The fast-growing tree produces fruit in July and August.

Fruit and Nut Producing Trees for USDA Hardiness Zone 8B Below is a list of trees that will grow in zone 8b (USDA Hardiness 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, Austin, TX to Gainesville, FL). I've put together this list for those interested in beginning to research an orchard or fruit tree grove. I've included general characteristics about the tree, harvest time, height, and applicable hardiness zones. Additionally, I've included Latin names for all varieties to make future research easier. Please note with many of the rootstock varieties, researching by Latin name versus commercial name may be more difficult.

Trees (Nut/spices)

Black Walnut zones 4-9 - Can grow to more than 130 feet (40m) tall, yields whole fruit with husks around October. Crops tend to alternate crop yield (e.g. heavy, light, heavy, light). (Latin: Juglans nigra)

Chinese Chestnut zones 4-8 - Can grow to 60 feet (18m) tall. (Latin: Castanea mollissima)

Hardy Pecan zones 5-9 - Can grow to 130 feet (40m) tall and sometimes rarely past 144 feet (44m) tall, yields fruit mid-October and can live and yield fruit for up to 300 years. Part of the hickory family. (Latin: Carya illinoinensis)

Shagbark Hickory zones 4-8 – Can grow up to 80 feet (27m) tall, yields fruit in autumn. Can live and yield fruit up to 200 years. (Latin: Carya ovata)

Hazelnut zones 4-9 – Grows to about 12 feet (4m) tall, yields fruit in September to October. (Latin: Corylus americana)

Fruit Trees

Cold Hardy Banana Tree zones 5-11 - Grows to a height of about 15 feet (5m) tall, including leaves. (Latin: Musa basjoo)

Stella Cherry Tree zones 5-8 – Grows up to 100 feet (32m) tall, fruit becomes edible mid-summer. Note all parts of the tree, but the fruit, is slightly toxic. (Latin: Prunus avium)

Plum (Gulf Beauty) zones 8B-9 – Grows to 20 feet (6m) tall, fruit ripens late summer. (Latin: Prunus angustifolia)

Apple (Carter's Blue) zone 8b – Normally grown on rootstock, height is limited. Fruit is ripened and ready to pick by November. (self-fertile) (Latin: Malus domestica)

Maroon Crabapple zone 7-8B – Grown as cross-pollination source for orchard, fruit is not palatable when raw. (Latin: Malus angustifolia)

Peaches (Gulf Crimson) zones 8A-8B – Grows to about 30 feet (9m) tall, fruit is ripened by late summer. (Latin: Prunus persica)

Pears (Pineapple) zones 8-9 - Normally grown on rootstock, height is limited. Fruit is ripened and ready to pick by November. (needs Golden Boy Pear to pollinate) (Latin: Pyrus communis)

Pears (Golden Boy) zones 8A-9 - Normally grown on rootstock, height is limited. Fruit is ripened and ready to pick by November. (needs Pineapple Pear to pollinate) (Latin: Pyrus communis)

Olive zones 8A- 11 - Grows to 20 feet (6m) tall, although typically shorter. Fruit is late fall / early winter. Depending on variety, typically self-fertile, however recommended that they be planted in groups of three of more. (Latin: Olea europaea)

Citrus Trees

Mid Sweet Orange zones 8B-10 – Grows to about 35 feet (10m) tall, fruits are harvested in winter . (self-fertile) (Latin: Citrus sinensis)

Clementine Tangerine (Fina Sodea) zones 8B-10 – Must be cross-pollinated to avoid seeds in fruit, fruits are harvested in winter. (needs Orlando Tangelo to pollinate) (Latin: Citrus reticulata)

Orlando Tangelo zones 8B-10 - Must be cross-pollinated to avoid seeds in fruit, fruits are harvested in winter. (needs Clementine Tangerine to pollinate) (Latin: Citrus tangelo)

Meyer Lemon zones 8B-10 – Grows to about 10 feet (3m) tall, fruits are harvested in winter. Quick growing variety, from seed to fruit takes about four years. Large bushy tree. (self-fertile) (Latin: Citrus meyeri)

Limequat zones 8B-10 – Grown in a container, more cold-hardy than limes, however a slow fruit producer. (self-fertile) (Latin: Citrus floridana)

Citrus Owari Satsuma Tangerine - Citrus reticulata: The very largest fruit of the mandarin family and well known for its cold tolerance. This tree is found throughout FL and in the coastal areas of GA, AL, MS, LA and SC. Fruit ripens very early in the season. Honey-sweet, seedless and very juicy, Satsumas large segments separate easily. Even the youngest child can enjoy this "Zipper peel" fruit.

Meiwa Sweet Kumquat - Fortunella japonica: Beautiful quarter-size, bright orange fruit cover a lush, dense small tree. Ideal for container planting. The best fresh eating kumquat. Usually called the "sweet" kumquat. Zones 8b-10.

Improved Meyer Lemon - Citrus limonia: Meyer Lemon blooms early, usually fruiting the first year. Hardy to 18 degrees F and ornamental, being slightly sweet with an excellent lemon flavor. The peal is yellow-orange and very juicy. This tree is a lovely container plant and will produce well in a pot. For planting outside in marginal citrus zones like 8b choose Meyer Lemon grafted on trifoliate orange. For pots choose macrophylla or rooted on its own roots.Zones 8b-10.

Flying Dragon Trifoliate Orange - Citrus trifoliata L. var. monstrosa T.: Flying Dragon's thorns are long and curved, plant is small (up to 6'). Extremely ornamental with corkscrew growth habit. A show-stopper at the nursery, especially with it's display of orange fruit in the fall! No insect or disease problems. We make citrus-ade from the juice, adding sweetener and water. Fruits are highly aromatic.The Japanese name for them is "Karatachi". There is even a Japanese folk song named "karatachi". A small jar filled karatachi fruit seeped with honey provides a sweet liquid that makes a great topping for yogurt... or a spoonful in hot water is a delightful tea. Fruits are inferior to lemons, being seedy, resin-like, and not juicy. Not to be eaten whole fresh. Will take below zero temperatures planted in the ground, so it is the hardiest of citrus along with the straight thorn Poncirus. Can be made into a prize-winning bonsai. Space 7' circle Height 6'. Zones 6-9.

Trifoliate Orange - Poncerus trifoliata: The Japanese name for them is "Karatachi". There is even a Japanese folk song named "Karatachi". A small jar filled karatachi fruit seeped with honey provides a sweet liquid that makes a great topping for yogurt... or a spoonful in hot water is a delightful tea.Can be grown outside in Zone 6. Prune lower growth back to encourage canopy. Golf-ball size fruits are best used for drinks and marmalade. The hardiest true citrus, though fruits are inferior to commonly known citrus, being resiny, seedy, and extremely tart. Can withstand below zero temperatures. Commonly used as a rootstock in northern citrus growing regions. Makes a very ornamental hedge which is impenetrable. Height 10'. Zones 6-9.

Yuzu Hardy Citrus - C. ichangensis x C. reticulata var. austera: Yuzu is a naturally occurring hybrid long cultivated in China and Japan for its useful fruits. In their native environment these evergreens often withstand temperatures dipping into the teens or lower. Supposedly, Yuzu, can endure lows approaching 0 degrees F. Some sources say 15 degrees F. Zone 8 > 10.

Clementine Facts and Care Tips Every December you probably notice Christmas trees and lights going up everywhere, all over your neighborhood and on the inside of every store. You also probably notice citrus hitting the shelves of super markets at low prices. This is because winter is citrus season, so there’s an abundance of fresh oranges, lemons, and limes. One of the most popular seasonal citrus fruits is the Clementine, so this article includes facts and helpful care tips all about it!


1. Clementine Trees are hybrids between Mandarin Orange Trees and Sweet Orange Trees.

2. Some sources say that a French monk by the name of Marie-Clement Rodier created the hybrid tree. Other sources say that the Clementine Tree existed in China years before Rodier made his hybrid. Either way they made it to America in 1909.

Christmas Fruit and Spice3. Although Tangerines and Clementines are both linked to Mandarins, Clementines taste very sweet while tangerines taste sour.

4. Tangerines have seeds, but Clementines are seedless. Sometimes Clementines are referred to as ‘Seedless Tangerines.’ Due to their ripening season from November to January they’re also known as ‘Christmas Oranges’.

5. You can recognize a Clementine by its small shape. They’re wider than they are tall and have smooth glossy skin.

6. The skin on Clementines is extremely easy to peel. Also, Clementines can very easily be broken apart into 8 – 14 different sections.

7. The nutrients found in Clementines includes fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Care tips

1. Clementine Trees flourish in full to partial sunlight. Even though they prefer full sun, they can tolerate shade. 2. Sandy soil is best for Clementine Trees, but they will adapt to your natural soil. To make your soil sandier mix in sand or a fine potting mix. Just make sure that your soil is well draining.

Don’t over water your tree. Check on your soil every few days, and only give your trees water when your soil is dry to the touch down to about 2 inches below the surface.

4. In the early spring and early fall give your trees some citrus fertilizer that’s high in acidity. However, wait until your tree has had one year of growth before you fertilize it.

5. Clementine Trees produce white flowers in the spring before their fruit begins to grow. Your fruit will be ripe and ready to be harvested towards mid-November when its skin fully turns orange. If you see green on the skin or around the stem then your Clementines aren’t ready to be harvested yet.

6. Clementine Trees are recommended for growing zones 8 through 11, and are cold hardy down to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

7. If you live in an area that gets colder than 20 degrees, plant your Clementines in containers and bring them indoors when it gets cold. These trees do extremely well in pots, and indoors. Just place them by a large sunny window and watch them take off.

Yard Fanatic I live in Zone 8; the same climate as Portland, Oregon. What I am trying to do here in Austin would make the Oregon-resident Sheryl scoff. After all, I am the same gardener who stopped raising roses because they couldn’t fend for themselves. And now I’m stringing lights, creating plastic domes, and sobbing in the garage over some trees?

CITRUS TREES It isn’t hard to grow a lifetime supply of free organic citrus. Citrus trees don’t have lots of pest issues and they are highly resistant to disease. Even if you live in a climate with very cold winters, you can still enjoy fresh, organic citrus grown at home.

Your first step is to determine if you live in a location where your citrus trees can be planted outside in your yard. For most of the country, your new citrus plants will best be grown in a container. If you live above zone 8b, or if frost is even a remote possibility, you will want to grow your citrus trees in a container and bring them indoors during the winter. Your young tree will need excellent drainage and lots of sunshine no matter where you plant it. So, only select pots that have drainage holes in the bottom for colder regional growing success.

Lime Tree

Unless you live on a large piece of land, most homeowners will have limited planting choices. For homeowners in zone 8, be safe and plant your citrus trees along the southern or southeast side of your home. This offers extra protection from northwestern winter cold fronts. Plant your new citrus tree 6-8 feet away from the walls of your house, so the heat from your home will work to add warmth during those surprise cold snaps. Maintain the same distance from garages, driveways, walks and fences, as well as spacing citrus trees away from each other. You’ll have an easier time picking your tree’s sweet fruit and caring for your new citrus orchard this way.

Don’t get the idea that you’re protecting your citrus plants from cold by planting them under big trees. You won’t have an abundant harvest without full sun. Also, be sure you don’t plant the trees over or close to sewer lines or a septic field.

The best soil for citrus trees is deeply draining with good top runoff. This allows water to drain away from the deep root system. If you are not sure how well your subsoil drains, the other trees in your yard bear clues. Are your shade and spring flowering trees all very healthy and producing vigorous growth? If so, you most likely have the level of drainage already in place to succeed in growing citrus plants. If other trees in your yard aren’t looking healthy, you will want to grow your citrus trees in raised beds.

As with any other plant, the level of pH in the soil will present you with problems if it is too low or too high. For citrus trees, you need 6-8 pH for them to grow well. Citrus also is not tolerant of high soil salinity, which can be present near saltwater shores. Discovering the pH is easily accomplished with a soil tester purchased from local stores.

Start your planting process by digging a hole 3 feet wide in your yard. Save all soil and get rid of the grass and its roots on the top layer. Dig your hole twice as wide as the root ball. Loosen the soil beneath where your tree will sit, which will help your roots grow easier.

It is up to you to create the surface runoff for the tree. This is done by crowning the final soil surface an inch higher than the surrounding soil level in the grass.

Clementine Nules

Coaxing your new citrus tree to spread its roots out into the soil is easily done. Rinse the soilless medium away from the roots, about ½ inch deep on all sides of the root ball. This is not done until the moment you are going to place your new fruit tree in the planting hole. Do not remove more than ½ inch of soil medium from your tree’s roots, because this could damage your tree. What this does is allow the roots to be surrounded with your ground soil. Do this by simply washing it off with the hose immediately before planting your tree.

There isn’t any need to add compost to the existing soil. It will not improve drainage because your tree’s roots will grow deeply into the ground. Check the depth of your hole before rinsing away potting soil with the hose. Then, place your tree in the hole. Fill the hole halfway up with dirt, and evenly around the roots. Add some water, and then finish filling the hole with soil. Pat the surface of your finished planting area to lightly compact the soil.

During the first few months your tree is in the ground, it needs deep root watering. This is easily accomplished by building a water reservoir, with soil walls, around the perimeter or your tree circle. Form the dirt walls 6 inches high and 6 inches thick. Your finished deep water reservoir should be solid. At this point, your new citrus tree needs a big drink quickly. With reservoir walls properly in place, fill the watering resevoir with water. Any areas that sank when the water has drained need additional soil. Maintaining surface runoff is not possible with depressions in the soil surface.

Caring for Newly Planted Citrus Trees


No matter what kind of shrubs, trees or plants are in your landscaping – never put down mulch that exceeds 3 inches deep. Mulching around your new citrus tree is not a good idea, since it can sometimes cause fungus problems. If you simply must have that aesthetic appeal, keep all mulch two feet away from the trunk.

Meyer Lemon tree


Following the initial deep root watering at planting time, new citrus trees need a deep watering 2 – 3 times during the first week in the ground. For the next few weeks, fill the watering reservoir 1 – 2 times a week. Watering will vary according to your type of soil, how much rain you’ve had that week, and what time of year you planted the new tree. This watering schedule is an establishment practice. After the first month to six weeks, you will only need to provide deep watering when your ground soil dries to a depth of an 2 inches.

By the end of six months or less, the soil walls of your water reservoir will have eroded away. You don’t need to replace them, since they only help your tree get established.


At planting time, don’t fertilize citrus trees. Instead, wait until new growth appears. Then you should begin a feeding schedule of once a month from February through October. For excellent fruit and growth production, you’ll want to use quality organic citrus fertilizer. Look for organic fertilizers formulated perfectly for citrus trees, such as Citrus-tone from Espoma and Dr. Earth Organic 9 Fruit Tree Fertilizer. If you cannot find either of those, you can use palm fertilizer, as they have almost identical requirements.

Scatter the measured organic fertilizer on the ground at least a foot away from the trunk – thoroughly water the fertilizer. Young citrus trees have an annual increased need of fertilization because their root system is increasing over this time span. Bear in mind that if you are growing your trees in containers, they will need fertilizing more often than a tree planted in the ground.

Growing Citrus Trees in Containers

Selecting the Right Pot

To succeed at growing live plants, it doesn’t matter if the container is made of plastic, clay, metal or wood – it must have adequate bottom drainage holes. Don’t worry about potted soil escaping. Just buy a water tray and place a fine meshed screen or weed barrier cloth on the bottom before planting. The layer of porous material allows water to leave while keeping the potting soil in your container.

Consider the mobility you will need when selecting your citrus tree’s container. Whatever you choose will weigh far more filled with your tree, potting soil and drainage gravel. Clay and ceramic containers are a lot heavier than plastic. Resin and wood containers will be far easier to move around in the house and into the outdoors during summer.

Don’t start off with a small tree in a huge pot, thinking it will be economical. Too much soilless medium surrounding the citrus plant’s roots will bring you high moisture health issues.

Correct Citrus Tree Potting Method

With your weed barrier or screen in place at the bottom of your pot, lay in an inch or two of pea gravel for proper drainage. Next, you will need to get your potting medium right. Not all commercial mixes found at your store will be okay. Most of these products are predominantly sphagnum peat, which is highly acidic and inappropriate for the longevity of many plants… especially citrus. Do not use ordinary top soil in any container planting; it will quickly kill the contents of your pot.

Select an easy to obtain soilless potting medium that contains either vermiculite or perlite. Blend in some cedar shavings with your potting medium for even distribution. Fill the planter partially and you are ready to inspect the citrus tree’s root system. Any plant grown in a container will become somewhat root bound, a condition that should be dealt with whenever you transfer them to a larger container. You can easily correct the situation by carefully spreading the larger roots, allowing them to grow outward instead of continuing to grow in the same tight circle. Be sure to loosen the remaining outer roots to help them escape from their previously cramped condition.

Situate the tree in your partially filled container. Maintain the same surface level of potting soil as it was growing in the original nursery pot. Complete the process of filling around your root ball. Be sure to leave watering depth, from the rim of the pot to the soil surface, of ¼ to ½ inch. Don’t fertilize until you see new growth appearing, just as is done in outdoor growing of citrus trees. After watering your newly potted tree thoroughly, you have finished your planting.

Sunlight Exposure

Most fruit crops do best in full sun, but some will do well in partial shade. As with anything that flowers, the more hours of sun each day, the heavier the blooming will be. Without flowers, fruit cannot form. This controls how big your harvest will be at the end of your citrus tree’s cycle. Over the winter, you will want to house your tree in front of the sunniest window you have. Once all threat of frost is over, you can move your citrus tree outdoors into a spot where it will get at least 8 hours of direct sun every day.

Any plant kept indoors over the cold season must be slowly adjusted to the intense light. Consider how you experience the instant introduction to brilliant light after being in the dark for a long time. Prepare citrus trees for full sun placement by alternating shade and sun exposure, adding an hour every few days. Begin with an hour on day one. To prevent shock, start the process 2 weeks before the full time move. The same is true of preparing citrus trees for being moved back indoors for winter. Whichever direction you are headed with light acclimation, you’ll want to slowly change from direct sun exposure or part shade exposure.


Tropical and subtropical fruit trees cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Some will suffer “die back” only on the youngest twigs, while others will die back to the ground. Being without insulation, and completely exposed to frigid temperatures, is something only very cold hardy plants can endure.

Just moving them inside is not total protection from icy drafts. Always place your potted citrus tree where cold blasts from opening exterior doors and the heating system vent cannot hit them.

You must pay attention to the cooling night temperatures. It would be best to start the process when nighttime temperatures begin dipping into the high 40s. Also keep watch for unexpected frost. You can always move the tree inside for the night, and go back to light acclimation, after the frost has melted. The time this will happen is all dependent on how far north you live.

Water Right for Best Results

The most common reason people fail at growing plants in containers is either not enough or too much water, whether caused by a lack of drainage or watering too often. You should only water as needed, especially with citrus trees. Clay and wood containers will dry faster than plastic, metal and ceramic because air can enter the walls of these pots. This is why you should never use real soil with a tree in a container.

Always check your potting soil for dryness watering; you want the surface to be very dry to the touch. The light consistency of soilless medium makes it float away when a rush of heavy water presents itself, so be sure to slowly add the water to your pot, and avoid exposing the citrus tree’s roots to the air. Empty the pot’s water tray if it starts filling up. Good drainage isn’t happening if the bottom drainage holes are submerged in deep water. Cooler temperatures always slow the growth and water needs of citrus trees.

While the roots prefer to stay on the dry side, citrus leaves love humidity. Indoor Citrus will do best if misted daily especially when you are running your heat during cooler months. You can also use a humidifier or fill your pot’s saucer with rocks and add water; place your plant on the rocks ensuring the bottom of the pot is above the water line.

Fertilizing Container Grown Citrus Trees

An excellent, balanced fertilizer schedule is highly important to your success in receiving an abundant harvest from vigorous container-grown citrus trees. Over fertilization can result in too much foliage growth, poor fruit production and dieback. Use organic fertilizer blended for the needs of citrus trees, like Citrus-tone or Dr. Earth’s Organic 9, and follow the directions on the label for container-grown plants. When the mature foliage on your citrus trees is deep, rich green, you know you have the correct fertilizer application.

Citrus trees don’t do well in saline soils. If a white crust forms on the potting soil surface, it is likely due to excess fertilizing and/or your water has large amounts of soluble salts. This situation should be corrected by washing the trapped salts out of the container by slowly running water through the container for several minutes. This will carry the excess salts down through the potting medium to exit via the drainage holes.


Citrus trees grown outdoors are always naturally dense with a lovely full shape. When growing citrus plants indoors, the weaker light in winter can cause them to become leggy. Pruning back the tree’s canopy partially will induce more branching to assist you in producing a fuller tree and more fruit. You can also control the amount of space the citrus tree starts to take up in the house as it matures by pruning. When the top of your citrus tree have outgrown the available root space in the container, it is normal to see falling leaves and young twig die-back.

Loquat Trees

CTG plant of week: Satsuma ‘Orange Frost’ Thanks to Larry Stein from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service for this picture of a new cold hardy satsuma orange cultivar ‘Orange Frost.’

Satsuma "Orange Frost" Texas Superstar

This great addition to our satsuma mandarin choices is a brand new Texas Superstar plant that our AgriLife researchers have been trialing for a few years now.

‘Orange Frost’ mandarin is a hybrid cross between a very seedy but cold hardy, Changsha tangerine and a very high quality Satsuma.

The fruit is very sweet, easy to peel, and only has one or two seeds per fruit.

More importantly, the tree has more cold hardiness than satsuma, so once established, it will tolerate more cold, meaning that it can be planted in the landscape a bit further north than other citrus.

‘Orange Frost’ has proven to be reliably hardy in zone 8, which includes Central Texas. But for the first few years, when the tree is young and getting established, you’ll need to protect it during the winter.

‘Orange Frost’ needs full-day sun to perform and fruit well. And it gets only 8 to 10 feet tall, making the fruit easy to harvest. But it can also get 8 to 10 feet wide, so be sure to give it plenty of space to spread out. Be sure that the soil has good drainage. And don’t plant until after ALL danger of frost has passed. For good growth and a bountiful harvest, water regularly and fertilize monthly during the growing season.

As with other citrus trees, ‘Orange Frost’ satsuma is evergreen, and if it DOES get bitten by the cold, the good news is that it isn’t grafted, meaning that it will come back true if it has to regrow from the roots. This tree will also work well in containers.

Satsuma Orange Frost, a new Texas Superstar, should expand the planting zone for citrus in the ground moving as far north as U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 8, which includes the Hill Country

SA FRUIT TREES Garden Center

Belle of Georgia Dwarf Peach Trees: Very vigorous, hardy and productive. Leading white variety for commercial use. Fruit large, with bright attractive red almost covering the white background. Flesh white, highly flavored and very firm. Freestone. Self-pollinating. $9.95+

Belle of Georgia Peach Trees: Very vigorous, hardy and productive. Leading white variety for commercial use. Fruit large, with bright attractive red almost covering the white background. Flesh white, highly flavored and very firm. Freestone. Self-pollinating. $8.95+

Bing Cherry Trees (Sweet)--Large, delicious, dark red fruit with rich, firm flesh, excellent for eating, canning and preserving, ripens mid-June. Needs another variety for pollination. $10.95+

Bing Dwarf Cherry Trees

Black Tartarian Cherry Trees (Sweet)--The big, almost black sweet Cherry everyone likes. Fine for eating, canning and freezing. Luscious Cherries ripen in June. Needs another sweet cherry for pollination.

Black Tartarian Dwarf Cherry Trees

Bonanza Dwarf Peach Trees--Medium to large yellow-red fruit. Freestone with fragrant yellow flesh. Genetic tree with large pink flowers. Ripens early to mid-June. Self pollinating.

Chojuro Asian Dwarf Pear Trees--Known as the Rum Pear. Medium to large golden-russet fruit has rich butterscotch or rum-like flavor. Ripens in early to mid-September and keeps until January if refrigerated. Trees are very productive, so be sure to thin fruit early in the season.

Danube Cherry Tree--The very large, firm, burgundy red fruits have thick red flesh and red juice. Their unique sweet flavor and high sugar content makes them exceptionally delicious for fresh eating, desserts and home wine-making. Ripening early to mid-July, the cherries store well, keeping for days at room temperature. Trees are self-fertile and grow 10 to 15 ft tall. $10.95

Danube Dwarf Cherry Trees

Early Richmond Cherry Dwarf – Bright red, juicy fruit. One of the earliest sour cherry varieties. Strong, healthy tree. Plant with another variety.

Elberta Dwarf Peach Trees – Still the most popular peach on the market, and universally planted. Yellow freestone of excellence quality, juicy, firm, but tender. Tree is hardy, productive and disease resistant. Self-pollinating. $12.95

Encore Dwarf Peach Trees – Large, yellow-fleshed peaches are super sweet and juicy. Ripens late August to early Sept. Nearly as winter hardy as Reliance! Pollinate with any other variety. $9.95

Enterprise Apple Trees - A super-sized winesap type! Measures up to 4" in diameter. It has that old-time flavor combination of tart and sweet. This variety provides more fruit, with less peeling, to make excellent pies and tarts. Improved flavor, texture and disease resistance.

Freedom Apple Trees – Yields crops year after year without spraying! A descendant of McIntosh, Rome, Golden Delicious, and others, trees are vigorous, spreading, with leathery-textured leaves. Fruits are large, bright red with almost invisible background. Fine-textured, tender and juicy flesh.

Gala Apple Dwarf – This tree is rated at the top of the list for fresh eating. A dependable bearer and nursery folks rave about being disease resistant to most diseases. Pollinate with another variety. $9.95

Garden Beauty Nectarine Dwarf – Pink-white blossoms blanket the green foliage each spring, then by August you’ll pick up to a half-bushel of premium-quality, full size fruit. $9.95

Garden State Nectarine Semi-Dwarf - it resembles and grows like peaches with the same luscious, sweet, juicy, mellow golden flesh. The thin, smooth, plum-like skin is absolutely fuzzless. Self-pollinating.

Golden Jubilee Dwarf Peach Trees – A very popular early yellow flesh peach, excellent for home garden planting and local sales. Good size fruit of fine quality. A very important feature is its excellent winter hardiness which insures a fine crop each year. Self-pollinating.

Golden Sweet Cherry Dwarf Trees – Delectable golden fruit ripens in June. Birds often go for red fruit first, leaving the gold for the grower. Use any variety of Cherry as a pollinator.

Goldmine Nectarine White flesh is sweet, but not all sugar. Has sub-acid taste like yellow fleshed varieties. Red over 70-80 percent. Attractive. Freestone. Self-pollinating. Ripens early August.

Goldrush Apple Trees – Wonderfully complex flavor! One of the finest apples you’ll ever eat! Mostly tart at harvest in mid-October, mellowing to a sweeter flavor by November. Keeps its very firm texture and flavor through May in common refrigeration. Very quick to bear and annually productive.

Governor Wood Cherry Dwarf Trees – Small to medium sized fruit with very good, sweet, juicy flesh. Good table variety. Ripens early. Self-pollinating.

Grimes Golden Apple Trees – The tree is hardy, grows upright and is quite disease resistant. Medium to large, bright yellow, flesh fine grained, juicy, with a very pleasing spicy flavor. Highly recommended and widely planted to pollinate self sterile varieties. Pollinate with any other variety. Dwarf & semi-dwarf.

Hale Haven Peach Trees – Today’s most planted, most popular and most dependable hi-yielding, hi-quality, hardy yellow freestone. Rapidly overtaking Elberta. Self-pollinating.

Honeycrisp Apple Semi-Dwarf - A quick-bearing apple that will ripen in September. Has large fruit- stays crisp for 3 months-Hence it’s name. Pollinate with any other variety.

Independence Nectarine - Large fruit. Brilliant red skin. Golden yellow, firm flesh, good flavor. Attractive bloom. Freestone. Trees produce very well. Winter and frost hardy. Self-pollinating. Ripens late June.

Intrepid Dwarf Peach Trees – The perfect peach to pick for peach cobbler, peach preserves or just eat right of the tree! Yellow fleshed fruit has an excellent, sweet flavor that you can’t help but love. Intrepid is a late bloomer and boasts extreme hardiness, and has been known to withstand freezing temperatures at half to full bloom with little or no damage. Ripens late June to early July.

Kansas Sweet Cherry Semi-Dwarf Trees - Rose-blushed golden cherries don’t tempt birds like red ones do–you’ll love the tasty results! Large yields ripen in mid to late June. Hardy in bud and wood. Use any variety of cherry to pollinate.

Kristin Cherry - Purplish black Cherries- fruit ripens in July. Grows up to 25 feet tall. Cherries are very tasty. An extra sweet Cherry. Pollinate with any other cherry variety.

Lapins Cherry Trees - Sweet treats ripen late July to early Aug. Fruit is firm and resists cracking. A relatively small tree, Lapins is self-pollinating and an excellent pollinator for other sweet cherry varieties.

Large Korean Asian Dwarf Pear Trees – Also called Korean Giant and Dan Bae, these golden-brown pears often weigh up to a pound. They have wonderful sweet flavor and crisp, juicy texture. Fruit ripens in early to mid-October and keeps extremely well in cold storage. Vigorous, upright trees bear big crops annually.

Le Grand Nectarine - Very large. Yellow with red blush. Firm, yellow flesh, rich sweet flavor. Clingstone. Bears consistently. Vigorous tree. Ripens early August.

Mericrest Nectarine - Nectarines are the fuzzless peach. Green foliage followed by pink blooms. Ripens in August. Has a tangy taste-Freestone- this tree is self pollinating.

Montmorency Cherry Trees (Sour) - Universally recognized the best sour Cherry for eating fresh, canning, baking and preserving. Bears large fruit very young. America favorite hi-yielding cherry. Self-pollinating.

Nanking Cherry Trees - Sets fruit its first year! Early and extra productive! Produces sweetly scented spring flowers and tremendous crops of tasty fruit. Bears up to 8 qts. of bright red cherries. ripens in July. Grows 6-8 ft. high. For best yield, plant two or more.

Red Haven Dwarf Peach Trees – From beautiful pink blossoms in spring to red fruit in summer this freestone peach is an all-time favorite for the home garden. Strong-growing, prolific. Fruit is excellent for canning, freezing and fresh. Self-pollinating.

*Reliance Dwarf Peach Trees – Probably the most hardy peach. Produces medium to large fruit and has an extremely sweet flavor. Self pollinating- Ripens Early.

Sunred Nectarine - Medium. Bright red skin. Firm, yellow flesh, sweet, good flavor. Semi-freestone. Bears well in warm winter areas. Ripens mid May to early June.

Surecrop Nectarine Dwarf – It resembles and grows like peaches with the same luscious, sweet, juicy, mellow golden flesh. The thin, smooth, plum-like skin is absolutely fuzzless. Self-pollinating.

*Zestar Apple Trees – Tastes like brown sugar! Large, highly flavored apples have overtones of brown sugar! Excellent for fresh eating, pies, sauce and cider. Red-over-cream-colored fruits are medium sized and ripen in July. Keeps up to 2 months in the refrigerator. dwarf & semi

Good to eat

Mulberry 1-2 FEET Purplish-Black fruit-Ripens Mid-July. Self Pollinating. Grows up to 30 feet. Famous for Mulberry Jelly. $5.95

Paw Paw 2-4 FEET Banana tasting 6 inch fruits turn light green to black after ripening. Grows up to 25 feet. Large drooping leaves. Self pollinating. Makes a neat flowering tree. $6.95

Berry Plants:

Apache Thornless Blackberry Plant patent 11685- The sweetest of all blackberries. Excellent plant for colder areas. Self Pollinating. Bears in late July to early August. $8.50

Arapho Thornless Blackberry Another special plant with patent 8510. Has a sweet mild flavor. Ripens in late July- Self pollinating and no thorns. $8.50

Chickasaw Thorny Blackberry Very disease resistant- canes are self-support. Ripens in Mid June self-pollinating. $6.95

*Elderberries - THE BEST JAM OR JELLY EVER Large clusters of purple-black berries. Grows 8-10 feet. Makes tasty wine. $6.95

Gooseberry – 1-2 FEET A vigorous bush that produces loads of quality berries excellent for pies and preserves. Plant in ether the garden or shrub border. Shipped at 1 to 2 feet. $7.95

Kiowa Thorny Blackberry - Plant patent 9861- These shiny berries- have a wild delicious taste- The taste is so good it has been awarded a patent. Ripens Mid-July. Self-pollinating. $6.95

Navaho Thornless Blackberry - This plant is special awarded plant patent No.6679. Canes are self-supporting. Fruit ripens in 4 weeks starting in early July. Self Pollinating. $8.50

Flowering Shrubs:

Purple Wisteria Tree – 2-3 FEET Deciduous vine trained to grow in tree form. Showy display of lightly fragrant purple blooms on 10" long, pendulous clusters in early spring. Shipped at 2 to 3 feet $4.95

Red Spirea – 1-2 FEET Spiraea Clusters of rosy red flowers to bloom from June to fall on a multi-stemmed shrub to 3-4. Adaptable, but flowers best in full sun. Shipped at 1 to 2 feet $3.95

Spirea Van Houttie – 1-2 FEET Displays a contribution to your garden of long arching stems lined in the late spring with so many white flowers that it hides the foliage. Shipped at 1 to 2 feet $3.95

Super Hardy English Lavender – 1-2 FEET Enjoy the beauty and sweet fragrance of lavender indoors! Stately lavender spires make a beautiful addition to your indoor flower arrangements, and fragrant, too! Capture the legendary fragrance all winter long in bouquets and sachets of dried flowers. Dense, low growing hedge – perfect for boarders, dividers, path edges…a must for every rock garden. Shipped at 1-2' $3.95

Flowering Trees:

American Redbud Trees 2-4 FEET Tiny red-pink flowers cover the twigs and branches of this tree, before the leaves appear in early Spring. The beautiful heart shaped green leaves turn brilliantly yellow in the Fall. At maturity these trees grow to 20 feet in height.Shipped at 2 to 4 feet $6.95


Flower Bulbs:

Big Leaf Elephant Ears – 4 Bulbs per pk Available from Jan 20th to May 20th $9.95

Orange Beauty Cannas – 3 bulbs per pk Mature Height: 5' to 6' tall Available Jan 20th to May 20th $7.95

Richard Wallace Cannas [yellow]- 3 bulbs per pk Mature Height: 4' to 5' tall Available Jan 20th to May 20th $7.95

Wyoming Cannas [orange] – 3 bulbs per pk Mature Height: 4' to 5' tall Available Jan 20th to May 20th $7.95

Yellow King Humbert Cannas – 3 bulbs per pk Mature Height: 4' to 5' tall Available Jan 20th to May 20th $7.95

City of Portland Cannas – 3 bulbs per pk Mature Height: 4' to 5' tall Available from Jan 20th to May 20th $7.95

Orange Beauty Cannas – 3 bulbs per pk

Blue Jay Hosta - Just 10 inches high at maturity, this slow-growing treasure is so intensely colored it makes a much bigger impact than its size would suggest! Never greening out in summer’s heat, this blue beauty is the most vibrant we’ve seen. Lavender blooms arise in early summer. Use for edging and containers! Space 1? apart. Zone 3-8; early summer, part sun/full shade; H: 10?, W: 18? $6.95

Gold Standard Hosta - Excellent border plant, foliage spring – frost, partial sun to full shade, zone 3-9. height 24 – 30? Available from October 20th to June 10th. $6.95

Prairie Sky Hosta - One of the bluest hostas available. Retains its showy color all season. Forms a tight clump of powdery blue, lightly cupped leaves of thick substance. Pale lavender flowers. Try pairing this cool blue hosta with yellow leaved Heucheras. $6.95

Royal Standard Hosta - Excellent border plant, foliage spring – frost, partial sun to full shade, zone 3-9. height 24 – 30? Available from October 20th to June 10th. $6.95

Sum and Substance Hosta - Excellent border plant, foliage spring – frost, partial sun to full shade, zone 3-9. height 24 – 30? Available from October 20th to June 10th. $6.95

Ranunculus Mixed – 12 bulbs per pk Big buttercup blooms in bright sunny colors are so easy to grow. Great for customers who want lots of flowers from each bulb. Bloom early summer. Hardy outdoors in Zones 8-11. Height 16. Size 7/+ cm. $9.95

SAWS: No-Fail Fruit Trees for San Antonio It is best bet is to select fruit trees that are suited for our warm winters. Consider these:

For peaches, 'June Gold,' Tex Royal' and 'La Feliciana' do best; 'Elberta' will not survive here.

For apples, try 'Dorset Golden' and 'Anna;' forget about 'Red Delicious.'

The best pear varieties are 'Warren' and 'Kieffer;' 'Bartlett' pears are highly susceptible to fire blight.

The 'Methley' plum is the best choice for San Antonio.

Full sun and good drainage are musts for all fruit trees whether they're grown in native soil or raised beds.

A&M: Fruit Trees in San Antonio

FRUITS FOR SAN ANTONIO The toughest, most adapted fruits include Oriental persimmon, pomegranate, blackberries, and figs. Plums, pears, and grapes are in an intermediate category, and apples, strawberries, and peaches are the most difficult to grow. Do not bother to try and grow raspberries, cherries, or blueberries; they do not survive in our alkaline soil and/or weather conditions. Apricots make a pretty tree but are not productive in this area.

Oriental persimmon make a wonderful lawn tree. The trees are small and open with large leaves that can be colorful in the autumn. The fruit on the tree often looks like Christmas bulbs—colorful, well spaced, and showy. Persimmon is astringent; it will make you pucker up if it is eaten before it is mushy ripe. The exception is Fuyu. Another variety to consider is Haichiya. The birds, raccoons, and opossum will eat the fruit you do not harvest. Oriental persimmon can be grown in our native soil. It will survive without irrigation but will produce more fruit if it is watered regularly in the summer.

Figs are also easy to grow in San Antonio. Select from Celeste and Texas Everbearing. They all have a closed eye (keeps insects out). Brown Turkey has an open eye but is still a good choice. Once established, figs can survive without irrigation but will not produce much fruit. Mulch heavily (4 to 8 inches) over the root system and irrigate regularly for maximum production.

Blackberries are so productive they can be overwhelming during their short season. They also can take over your garden because of their growth rate and thorns. If you have blackberries, expect to be ruthless in rogueing out the canes that spread from the original planting. The old wood must also be removed after harvest in April or May to make room for the new canes. Consider Brazos, Kiowa, or Rosborough for huge yields. Thornless selections such as Arapaho and Navajo are not as productive but are easier to manage.

Pomegranate is an interesting fruit. The tart flesh surrounds the seeds inside an apple-shaped case with a crown. The fruit is attractive on the shrub but the blooms are spectacular. They are glow-in-the-dark red-orange in late spring. The plant is one of the few deer-proof fruits. It makes a large dense deciduous shrub. Wonderful is the recommended variety. Pomegranate is a good xeriscape plant.

SA Fruit Tree Project video

Why People Fail at Avocado Trees

CTG San Antonio Wonderland garden in San Antonio|Ragna & Bob Hersey|Central Texas Gardener

Growing alvocados in San Antonio Texas pt 2

News Articles

Get Ready to Be Inspired by the Man Who is Saving Endangered Redwood Trees If you have ever had the honor of seeing California’s redwood trees up close, you already know they are truly one of the world’s wonders. The awe-inspiring tree can reach 320 feet into the sky and have trunks more than 27 feet wide, with the potential to live for over 2,000 years. Which means some of these giants living today were alive during the time of the Roman Empire.

But the redwoods are in danger. Before the mid-19th-century, coastal redwoods spread from Big Sur and stretched all the way up to southern Oregon, a range of some two million acres along the California coast. But then logging came with the gold rush and today only five percent of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains. And the loss of trees has a domino effect. Over the past 40 years, we have lost about 52 percent of the world’s wildlife and deforestation plays a major role in this, according to Mongabay, 50,000 species go extinct every year.

But lucky, the redwoods have a hero on their side: David Milarch. According to an article from TreeHugger, he is an arborist from Michigan and in 1991 he died from renal failure, before being revived. The near death experience inspired a new life mission, harvesting the genetics of the coast redwoods and give them an assist in migration. What does that mean, exactly? Milarch is cloning and replanting the redwoods in places where the trees once were.

Incredible video. Hit arrows to expand to full screen.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive [AATA]

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive

Get Ready to Be Inspired by the Man Who is Saving Endangered Redwood Trees If you have ever had the honor of seeing California’s redwood trees up close, you already know they are truly one of the world’s wonders. The awe-inspiring tree can reach 320 feet into the sky and have trunks more than 27 feet wide, with the potential to live for over 2,000 years. Which means some of these giants living today were alive during the time of the Roman Empire.

But the redwoods are in danger. Before the mid-19th-century, coastal redwoods spread from Big Sur and stretched all the way up to southern Oregon, a range of some two million acres along the California coast. But then logging came with the gold rush and today only five percent of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains. And the loss of trees has a domino effect. Over the past 40 years, we have lost about 52 percent of the world’s wildlife and deforestation plays a major role in this, according to Mongabay, 50,000 species go extinct every year.

But lucky, the redwoods have a hero on their side: David Milarch. According to an article from TreeHugger, he is an arborist from Michigan and in 1991 he died from renal failure, before being revived. The near death experience inspired a new life mission, harvesting the genetics of the coast redwoods and give them an assist in migration. What does that mean, exactly? Milarch is cloning and replanting the redwoods in places where the trees once were.

Incredible video. Hit arrows to expand to full screen.

Archangel Ancient Tree Archive [AATA]

Moving the Giants video, movie for sale

"The best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago. The second best time? Today." -Chinese Proverb.

One Man’s Mission to Revive the Last Redwood Forests

Watch the video: Moving the Giants: An Urgent Plan to Save the Planet. top right on the screen.

Biodiversity for a Livable Climate Archangel partner. Restoring ecosystems to reverse global warming.

Eden Project Archangel partner. Transformation, it's in our nature.

Famous Redwoods

Video: Grove of the Titans: Lost Monarch poor sound

Video: Lost Monarch- World's Biggest Tree & the Grove of Titans- Jed Smith Redwood Park wonderful pics

Video: The largest tree in the world 2016 - 2017

Lost Monarch the name of a Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) tree in Northern California that is 26 feet (7.9 m) in diameter at breast height (with multiple stems included),[1] and 320 feet (98 m) in height. It is the world's fifth largest coast redwood in terms of wood volume (the Del Norte Titan was listed as the largest single-stem coast redwood tree, in part because the basal measurements of the Lost Monarch contain multiple stems).

Lost Monarch was discovered on May 11, 1998, by Stephen C. Sillett, and naturalist Michael Taylor, and is located among other giant redwoods called "The Grove of Titans" in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, although its exact location has not been revealed to the public out of concern that excessive human foot traffic may upset the ecosystem or lead to vandalism. The tree is estimated to contain 34,914 cubic feet (988.7 m3) of wood volume, and is surrounded by other coastal redwoods known as some of the largest of the species. Of the surrounding redwood trees, some have names from the discoverers, such as El Viejo del Norte, Screaming Titans, Eärendil and Elwing, Stalagmight, and others.

Lost Monarch

Grove of Titans The Grove of Titans is a redwood grove in Northern California, home to ten of the world's largest trees.

Lost Monarch


Video: 17 BIGGEST Trees in the World

12 Trees You Won't Believe Actually Exist

One Man’s Mission to Revive the Last Redwood Forests

Redwoods: The Tallest Trees | National Geographic

Giant Old Growth Redwood Trees from the past

Nonprofit grows redwood trees to restore forests about AATA

Exploring the Redwood Forest

The Giant Redwood Trees Of California - 1912 Educational Documentary

How fast does a REDWOOD GROW ?

How to Grow REAL Giant Sequoia at Home! zone 5-8. Good drainage.

The first nine years of two giant sequoias

Group Clones Giant Trees to Fight Climate Change Associated Press story


Cold Stream Farm located in Michigan is a wholesale shrub nursery and bare root tree nursery.

Black Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) - 6-12" $4.39
Chinese Wisteria [Wisteria sinensis] - 6-12'' $5.20
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina) - 6-12" $4.39
UPS Ground $12.96 Your order # is: 100152418. Ordered 3/6/17

Arbor Day Foundation

Best Reading
Tudge, Colin. The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter. Broadway Books; Reprint edition (October 23, 2007) ISBN-10: 0307395391.

Wohlleben, Peter. The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—Discoveries from a Secret World. Greystone Books (September 13, 2016) ISBN-10: 1771642483.

Highlights: The Man Who Planted Trees: A Story of Lost Groves, the Science of Trees, and a Plan to Save the Planet , by Jim Robbins

THE ORIGINAL BOOK TITLED The Man Who Planted Trees is a slim volume, just four thousand words; in fact, it was first published as a story in Vogue magazine in 1954. That book was written as a fable by a Frenchman named Jean Giono and has tapped a deep well in the human imagination, and since its publication in book form, it has sold close to half a million copies.
Speaking in the first person, its unnamed narrator describes hiking through the French Alps in 1910, enjoying the wilderness. As he passes through a desolate, parched mountain valley where crumbling buildings testify to a vanished settlement, he comes across a middle-aged shepherd taking his flock out to pasture.

The shepherd has one hundred acorns with him, and he plants them as he cares for his sheep. It turns out that the shepherd has planted more than a hundred thousand trees on this barren, wind-ravaged landscape.

Six years later, after surviving the front lines of World War I, the narrator returns to the shepherd’s hut. He is surprised to see small trees “spread out as far as the eye could reach. Creation seemed to have come about in a sort of chain reaction.… I saw water flowing in brooks that had been dry since the memory of man.… The wind, too, scattered seeds. As the water reappeared so too there reappeared willows, rushes, meadows, gardens, flowers and a certain purpose in being alive.”

As the years go by, the trees grow taller and the forest in the valley grows thicker, and a dying ecosystem is transformed into a thriving one.

When the narrator returns for a third time, toward the end of the story, more than ten thousand people are living in the flourishing valley. Everything was changed. Even the air. Instead of the harsh dry winds that used to attack me, a gentle breeze was blowing, laden with scents.

A sound like water came from the mountains: it was the wind in the forest. Most amazing of all, I saw that a fountain had been built, that it flowed freely and—what touched me most—that someone had planted a linden beside it, a linden that must have been four years old, already in full leaf, the incontestable symbol of resurrection.

Trees... the genetically fittest you can find. The big old-timers have proven their genetic mettle; they are survivors. Or as General George Cates, former chairman of the National Tree Trust, put it to me, "You can bet Wilt Chamberlain's parents weren’t five foot one and five foot two."

Planting trees, I myself thought for a long time, was a feel-good thing, a nice but feeble response to our litany of modern-day environmental problems. In the last few years, though, as I have read many dozens of articles and books and interviewed scientists here and abroad, my thinking has changed.

Planting trees may be the single most important ecotechnology that we have to put the broken pieces of our planet back together

Take the growing number of emerging infectious diseases. Their connection to the natural world is one of the most revelatory things I discovered about how little we understand the role of forests.

I learned that there is a surprising single cause that connects a range of viral diseases including hantavirus, HIV, Ebola, SARS, swine flu, and West Nile virus with bacterial diseases including malaria and Lyme disease. Rather than just being a health issue, these deadly diseases are, at root, an ecological problem.

To put it in a nutshell, the teams of scientists researching the origins of disease say that pathogens don’t just mysteriously appear and find their way into human populations; they are the direct result of the damage people have done, and continue to do, to the natural world, and they are preventable.

“Any emerging disease in the last thirty or forty years has come about as a result of encroachment into forest,” says Dr. Peter Daszak, director of EcoHealth Alliance, a New York–based international NGO that is pioneering the field of conservation medicine.

“Three hundred and thirty new diseases have emerged since 1940, and it’s a big problem.” Most of these diseases are zoonotic, which means they originate in wildlife, whether in bats or deer or ticks, which then infect people who live near the forest.

My journey into the world of trees started in 2001, when I read an article about an organization called the Champion Tree Project. At the time, the group’s goal was to clone the champion of each of the 826 species of trees in the United States, make hundreds or thousands of copies, and plant the offspring in “living archival libraries” around the country to preserve the trees’ DNA.

A “champion” is a tree that has the highest combined score of three measurements: height, crown size, and diameter at breast height.

The project’s cofounder, David Milarch, a shade tree nurseryman from Copemish, Michigan, a village near Traverse City, said he eventually hoped to both sell and give away the baby trees cloned from the giants.

“Clones,” in this case, are human-assisted copies of trees made by taking cuttings of a tree and growing them—an old and widely used horticultural technique for growing plants.

Unlike a seedling, which may have only 50 percent of the genetics of its parent, a clone of a tree is a 100 percent genetic duplicate of its parent.

I have always been drawn to big old trees, and the idea of making new trees with the genes of champions was compelling. I proposed a story to The New York Times science section about the idea, got the assignment, and drove to Big Timber, Montana, not far from my home, to visit Martin Flanagan, a lanky working cowboy and tree lover who helped gather materials for Milarch’s Champion Tree Project in the West.

On a bluebird day in May, Flanagan drove me down along the Yellowstone River, bank-full and the color of chocolate milk, as the spring sun melted snow in the mountains. He showed me several large trees, including a towering narrow-leaf cottonwood.

“This is the one I plan to nominate for state champ,” he said excitedly, spanking the tree with his hand. “It’s a beauty, isn’t it?”

There wasn’t much to the Champion Tree organization, I found out. It was mostly a good idea with a tiny budget, with Milarch and occasionally one of his teenage sons working out of his home in Michigan; Flanagan working part time in Montana, driving around in a beat-up pickup truck gathering cuttings; and Terry Mock, from Palm Beach, Florida, who was the director.

It makes sense to plant a tree that is the genetically fittest you can find. The big old-timers have proven their genetic mettle; they are survivors. Or as General George Cates, former chairman of the National Tree Trust, put it to me, “You can bet Wilt Chamberlain’s parents weren’t five foot one and five foot two.”

Dr. Frank Gouin, a plant physiologist and the retired chairman of the horticulture department at the University of Maryland, is a friend of the project and spoke to me in support of the notion of cloning. He had cloned a big tree himself, the legendary 460-year-old Wye Oak on Maryland’s eastern shore. “These trees are like people who have smoked all their lives and drank all their lives and are still kicking,” Gouin said. “Let’s study them.” And the way to perpetuate and study them, he said, is just the way Champion Tree proposes.

My story about Champion Tree ran on the front of the Science Times section on July 10, 2001, with several color photographs of various champions, and over the next few days other media picked up the story. After a flurry of interviews, including eleven minutes on the Today show, Milarch, flabbergasted at the reach of the Times, called me. “It put us on the map, big time,” he said. “I can’t thank you enough.”

He said he wanted to come to Montana to meet me and give me a gift of a champion green ash tree as a thank-you. Though I loved the idea of a champion of my own, professional ethics prevented me from accepting the gift.

“Let’s plant one on the Montana capitol grounds instead,” he suggested. Fine, I said, a gift to the state. With the attacks of 9/11, the tree planting wouldn’t come until the following year.

On a warm, sunny June day, David Milarch came to my office in downtown Helena and introduced himself with a big hand. He is a jovial bear of a man, six foot three with broad shoulders and big arms. He looks like a lumberjack and was dressed like a farmer, in a short-sleeved snap-button shirt, jeans, and a plastic foam farm cap that said OLYMPICS 2002, and he carried a hard-shelled briefcase. There is a bit of Viking in him, not only in his outgoing personality and swagger but in his ruddy complexion, though the hair that is left is white. A small strip of wispy white beard didn’t cover his ample chin. A belly spilled over his belt.

Milarch has the charm gene, and I liked him right away. A born storyteller, he laughs loudly and frequently, and he has a flair for the dramatic and a fondness for announcing things rather than just saying them. He is an expert in the use of compliments, but pours it on a little too thick sometimes.

As we talked he flipped open his briefcase and pulled out a crumpled pack of Marlboro Lights, put one in his mouth, and, in a practiced move, lit a cigarette with one hand by leaving the match attached to the book, folding it over, and lighting it with his thumb.

Over lunch, I expected a chat about the science of big tree genetics. I was wrong. As we sat down at a local restaurant, Milarch began a story. In 1991, he told me, he died and went to heaven. Literally. A serious drinker, he had quit cold turkey. The sudden withdrawal of alcohol caused kidney and liver failure, and a friend had to carry him to the emergency room, where a doctor managed to stabilize him.

The next night, his wife and his mother beside him, he felt himself rise. Not his body, he said, but his awareness—he could look down from the top of the room and see himself lying there. It was a full-blown near-death experience, a phenomenon also known as disambiguation, something, at the time, I’d never heard of.

His consciousness, he said, left the room and soon passed through brilliant white light—“It was like a goddamn blowtorch!” he told me. On the “other side” he was told it wasn’t his time, that he still had work to do on earth, and he needed to go back.

When his awareness returned to his body, he sat up in bed, shocking his wife and mother, who thought he was dead. The experience changed him—afterward he felt more alive and more present—and he understood, for the first time, he said, the importance of unconditional love.

He appreciated his children and family more, and had a deeper connection to music and art. He felt more intuitive and more spiritual, even more electric, so charged that he couldn’t wear a wristwatch or use a computer—they were affected by his body’s electrical properties, which had been enhanced somehow.

He wasn’t perfect; there was still some of the old David there. But it existed along with this new part of him. Months later, still adjusting to this new life, he was visited in the early morning hours by light beings, who roused him. The big trees were dying, they told him, it was going to get much worse, and they had an assignment for him.

In the morning he told his kids that the family had a mission—to begin a project to clone the champion of every tree species in the country and plant them far and wide. They were a farm family in the middle of what many call nowhere, a world away from environmental groups and fund-raising and politics and science. But the Milarchs were hopeful, naïvely so, and unaware of the obstacles that confronted them.

Lunch came and I was quietly incredulous. Was I really hearing this? I thought he was joking or spinning a yarn, but he said it all with a straight face. It was, to say the least, the most unusual origin of a science story I’d ever heard. I’d had no inkling of any of it during phone interviews. It didn’t diminish the science, as far as I was concerned, because all the scientists I’d interviewed for the story said cloning trees to save genetics is a scientifically sound idea. Where people sourced their inspiration didn’t matter if the science passed the test. Still, it was curious.

And this chain-smoking tree farmer who liberally deployed the F-bomb didn’t fit the mold of the typical New Ager. During his visit over the next couple of days, Milarch laid out his take on what humans have done to the world’s forests, based on his peculiar blend of science and intuition, and how the Champion Tree Project wanted to change that.

“People should be awestruck, outraged, overwhelmed,” he said. “A tree that is five, six, eight, or fifteen feet across, the champions we are cloning, is what the size of all the trees in our forests once was, that all of America was covered with, not just one lone, last soldier standing.

When we look at the trees around us, we’re looking at the runts, the leftovers.

The whole country should be forested coast to coast with these giants, not with the puny, scraggly, miserable mess we call our forests. We don’t realize what we’ve lost.”

“The champions are in harm’s way,” he told me. “They do their best in communities that are hundreds or thousands of acres. They’re struggling in little pockets to hang on. We either get on it and get it done, or in twenty years they’ll be gone. If man doesn’t take them out, Mother Nature will. We’re in the fifty-ninth minute of the last hour.”

“Why do these light beings care about trees?” I asked.

“They are concerned about the survival of the planet. Call them light beings, plant devas, earth spirits, or angels, they are real, and there are some in charge of the trees. Americans are about the only ones who don’t believe in such things, but they are out there and a lot of people can hear them, including me.

"We treat the earth like it’s dead, which allows us to do what we want, but it’s not dead.”

Genetics is critical to the survival of the forests, they told him, and one day science will be able to prove it. He has taken his lumps from critics, including from some scientists who say he doesn’t know about science, and that it’s not known if genetics is what make these trees survivors. They say it could be just plain luck that these trees have survived. It’s not a bad idea to clone the trees, they say, just not necessary.

Others have said that it is impossible to clone a two-thousand-year-old tree—that it’s akin to asking a ninety-year-old woman to give birth.

“They can criticize all they want. But these are the supertrees, and they have stood the test of time,” said Milarch. “Until we started cloning the nation’s largest and oldest trees, they were allowed to tip over, and their genes to disappear. Is that good science? If you saw the last dinosaur egg, would you pick it up and save it for study or let it disappear?”

What we have lost by mowing down the forests around the world, he insists, is far more than big trees. We’ve squandered the genetic fitness of future forests. With humans high grading, cutting down the best trees time and again, the great irreplaceable trove of DNA that had been shaped and strengthened over millennia by surviving drought, disease, pestilence, heat, and cold—the genetic memory—was also gone.

The DNA that may be best suited for the tree’s journey into an uncertain future on a warming planet has all but vanished, just when we need it most. By making copies of the cream of the big tree crop and planting thousands or tens of thousands of the 100 percent genetic copies of these “last soldiers standing” all over the country or the world, Milarch wants to ensure that they will live on.

They may well not turn out to be better, but if they do turn out to have superior traits, then their genetic traits have been saved—“money in the bank,” Milarch says. When it comes to trees, proven survivor status is all we have to go on. Trees cradle human existence in ways known and many more ways unknown, he said. “And if we lose the trees, we’re in a world of hurt.”

There are myriad other reasons to plant trees, of course.

It’s a way to address climate change by soaking up carbon dioxide. Los Angeles, for example, has a campaign to plant a million trees; if it reaches its goal, because each tree will store two hundred pounds of carbon annually, that will be the equivalent of taking seven thousand cars off the road every year.

Trees also filter air pollution, water pollution, and toxic waste in the soil. Flooding, though often thought of as a natural catastrophe, is more often than not man-made, caused when water is unleashed from the natural storage and regulation of forests and marshes, exacerbated by deforestation. A one-hundred-year flood event becomes a one-in-five-year event when deforested land cover is a quarter of the total. The floods caused by deforestation also last longer—4 to 8 percent longer for each 10 percent of the forest that is lost. And the floods are more severe than when forests are intact.

Ninety percent of the natural disasters in the United States involve flooding, and floods have become far more frequent, largely because of deforestation.

Recent unprecedented floods in Pakistan may have been in large part the results of a warmer planet—2010 was the warmest year on record, and a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. But Pakistan also has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Between 1990 and 2005 it lost a quarter of its natural forest cover.

An irony is at work here: as the climate grows warmer, the atmosphere will carry even more precipitation. Already, scientists say, rainstorms and snowfall have become more extreme. The increased precipitation around the globe in the coming years will occur when the landscape is least equipped to handle it.

"It seems hopeless," Milarch said. "The planet is warming and we hear this bad news all the time. We decided to do something. With no money and no staff. Some of the experts told us it couldn't be done. But we couldn't just sit here and watch the ship go down. And we are doing it. And we hope it's an example to other families."

Someday, Milarch went on, he envisioned a movement, people planting clones of a global collection of thousands of the world’s great trees, from the cedars of Lebanon to the ancient oaks of Scotland, Ireland, and England—not only to restore forests, but to create functioning old-growth forests in cities and suburbs around the world. Living among them, we would be able to take advantage of their ecosystem services, their ability to cool hot asphalt, to protect us from ultraviolet radiation, to cleanse the soil and air of pollutants, to grow nuts and fruits, to calm us and beautify our surroundings.

It was such big talk for a farmer who had no funding, even if he had died and gone to heaven. He wanted me to write a book about his inspiration, but I couldn’t see it. There’s a saying in Montana: Big hat, no cattle. How would he ever bring his fascinating idea to fruition with no funding?

Besides, I’m a science reporter, and I had trouble coming to terms with a wild story about out-of-body travel to heavenly realms and back. He was asking me to believe in a magical universe, and it was a big step to take over lunch.

While I didn’t see a book in his tale, Milarch certainly had my attention and started me thinking. There was something in what he said, and the way he said it, that I couldn’t dismiss.

This was in 2001, before my own forest had started to die. Could he be right about forest die-off? Are the world’s trees in big trouble? Is old-growth genetics important? I had written a great deal about forests in my thirty years as a journalist, but never with these ideas in mind.

Not long after David’s visit, I joined classes from a local high school in a small ceremony on the front lawn of Montana’s capitol. As we planted a champion green ash tree that the Champion Tree Project had sent by truck, the marching band played the theme from Mission: Impossible.

IN 1996, DAVID MILARCH called Frank Gouin to see if the Champion Tree Project could obtain a clone of the venerable Wye Oak, the country’s oldest and largest white oak tree, named for the nearby town of Wye Mills, on Maryland’s eastern shore.

At the time, it was just under 32 feet in circumference, nearly 7 feet in diameter, and 96 feet tall, and the crown of the tree covered a third of an acre. Dating to the sixteenth century, the Wye Oak witnessed the changes of history. The Choptank Trail alongside it grew from an Indian footpath through the woods to a wagon road to a highway.

Because of its size, the tree was a local landmark as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. The Wye Oak got official recognition in 1909, when Maryland’s state forester, Fred Besley—who also created the Champion Tree measurement formula and the first list of champions in 1925—measured and photographed it and later named it one of the first champions on his list.

Visitors started coming by to see it. In 1939, the Maryland General Assembly, recognizing the tree’s historic and champion status, purchased one acre of ground around it to create a park. As the old oak started to decline, foresters for the state of Maryland made a valiant effort to keep the tree alive. Its base was hollow, and they dropped cyanide pellets into the cavity to kill termites and carpenter ants; they supported the branches with long strands of thick steel cable to keep them from breaking.

"Man, it was a big tree," said Gouin. "Four guys could sit around a table and play cards in the cavity of that tree." As a horticulturalist and tree lover, Gouin took note as state foresters tried repeatedly to clone the Wye Oak.

"Nurserymen have always had a tough time grafting oak trees because they are so slow-growing," said Gouin, referring to the way that the cells on the tip and root stock combine slowly.

"The state had spent some twenty-seven years trying to clone the Wye with grafting and budding and tissue culture. They were not able to, though they had tried everything."

But Gouin, with a thick shock of white hair and an Amish-style beard, is a master gardener who grows Christmas trees, persimmons, and peaches, and when Milarch called he was moved by Milarch’s notion of cloning each of the champions.

He also felt there was something special about the Wye Oak, and that those traits were likely stored in the genes. “A lot of white oaks get blight, but I have never seen blight on this tree,” he said. “No oak wilt and no gypsy moths, either.”

Trees are most often cloned by taking a six-inch or so cutting of the newest growth. A small opening is scraped into the cambium layer at the base of the cutting. It’s then immersed in a mix of soil and hormones, and if the procedure is successful, new roots emerge from the small scrape.

But Gouin had a different idea. Over a period of three years, he took three hundred cuttings of scion wood from the tree each spring. Scion wood is part of a branch that has several buds on it, and Gouin grafted those cuttings onto the roots of seedlings from the Wye Oak, which had been grown from acorns and so had inherited at least 50 percent of their genetics from the parent Wye and 50 percent from another tree, through pollination.

Using such closely related root stock, Gouin figured, would be comparable to a bone marrow transplant among family members and would reduce the possibility of rejection. He used a tight rubber band to join the roots and the tips together. Getting the graft to retain moisture long enough for the slow-growing oak tips to successfully connect with the root was critical, so he wrapped them in tape and then buried them in soil.

The first year, just two cuttings of the three hundred taken were successfully grafted. The second year, he took fresh cuttings and nine clones survived. The third year, in 2002, Gouin visited the clones more often, making the 140-mile round trip to the nursery once a week to ensure that the soil was kept consistently wet and cool, and thirty clones of the Wye Oak grew.

“I finally figured out what I was doing,” said Gouin. Subsequent years, he felt, would produce even more clones.

On June 6 of that year, however, a violent thunderstorm roared across the eastern shore and toppled the Wye Oak. Gouin drove straight to the fallen tree to take more fresh cuttings before the branches perished, but it was the wrong time of year. “We couldn’t get any more good budwood,” he said, “and none of them took.”

After the oak fell, thousands of people from around the region went to pay their last respects to the fallen champion, mournfully taking pictures and gathering pieces of the tree. “We all kind of hoped the Wye Oak would never fall down,” said Maureen Brooks, coordinator of the Maryland Big Tree Program. Two of the Wye Oak clones were given to Mount Vernon for an Arbor Day planting, and they now grow there on George Washington’s estate. Another clone is planted inside the stump of the old Wye Oak and is producing acorns. The other clones are in a seed orchard operated by the State of Maryland Department of Forestry and are sexually mature. “The clones are already producing acorns,” said Gouin, “and you can buy a seedling from the state of Maryland.” The Wye Oak may be gone, but its genetic heirs live on.

IN 1982, A controversial and cryptic visionary named John Allen, along with his followers, built a $200 million structure called Biosphere 2 in the saguaro-studded Sonoran desert north of Tucson. The glass-and-steel-tube dome and other buildings, the size of two and a half football fields, are a contradiction in terms: a man-made natural environment that includes a mini-savanna, desert, ocean, coral reef, and tropical rain forest.


The vivarium, as the complex of buildings is known, was meant to be a self-sustaining mini–Planet Earth that would function like the real Earth, with no external input.


Biosphere 2 was a pilot project for the day Allen and his followers hoped they could fly the pieces of the vivarium to Mars, assemble it there, and allow the group to “terra-form” the planet to create a human habitat. One by one, they thought, biospheres flown to Mars could be used to create a reservoir of trees, flowers, and other forms of plant life until one day the planet would be covered in vegetation and would sustain life as Earth does.

The project collapsed, however, and the University of Arizona took over Biosphere 2. While it didn’t colonize the red planet, Biosphere 2 has proven nifty for studying planet Earth because it allows researchers to control variables and play out different scenarios in a way that can’t be done in the real world.

In 2009, two researchers, Henry Adams of the University of Arizona’s ecology and evolutionary biology department and his professor David D. Breshears of the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources, moved twenty mature piñon pine trees, five to six feet tall, into the dome and split them into two groups of ten. One group was placed in a chamber where conditions were equal to what they are today, and the other group was placed in conditions some seven degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is now—roughly equal to the high end of the temperature rise scientists predict for the next century.

Once the trees established themselves, researchers deprived both populations of water. The human-induced drought killed the trees in the warmer chamber 28 percent faster than the trees in the chamber with normal temperatures. The message from the mini-Earth, researchers say, is that forest die-offs could increase by a factor of five if the climate warms seven degrees as predicted over the next century.

"Droughts can kill trees faster when the temperatures are warmer," Breshears said. "Instead of one die-off in one hundred years, that number could


5 Big Causes of Deforestation and How You Can Stop It, OneGreenPlanet

The planet’s forests are under threat. Some 36 football fields of forests are hacked, burned, and destroyed every minute. With each forest clearing, we lose about 135 species of animals, plants, and insects a day.

Forests provide us with many benefits, including goods such as timber and paper. They help mitigate climate change by consuming the carbon dioxide we put into the air, while breathing out oxygen. Tropical rainforests, like those in the Amazon, play a vital role in the water cycle by providing rain to the region. It is also estimated that rainforests contain more than half of anti-cancer plants identified so far.

Eighty percent of land-dwelling species establish homes in forests and the biodiversity ensures global food security and helps alleviate poverty during times of crisis. So, why are we destroying what’s left of the planet’s forest?

There is no single factor that is responsible for deforestation. Rather, it’s a combination of forces that are devastating it.

1. Agricultural Expansion

The conversion of forests into agricultural plantations is a major cause of deforestation. The increase in global demand for commodities, such as palm oil and soybeans, are driving industrial-scale producers to clear forests at an alarming rate. Indonesia, the largest producer of palm oil, was named the “Fastest Forest Destroyer,” in the 2008 Guinness World Records. Even when efforts are made to replenish barren plantations, the depleted soil is not able to produce the same biodiversity it once was.

Solution 1: Plant a tree in your backyard, a community garden, or across the world.

2. Livestock Ranching

Forest clearing for livestock ranching is another contributor of deforestation. Since 1990, Brazil, a top exporter of beef, has lost an area of forest that is three-fourths the size of Texas. A strong global demand for beef, supported by governments such as in Brazil, is expanding this kind of deforestation.

Solution 2: Join One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.

3. Logging

Logging, including illegal logging, is a driver of deforestation. In Indonesia, illegal logging operations provide short-term income for people living on less than $1 a day. However, it destroys the livelihoods of those who depend on the forest. Indonesia is one of the largest exporters of timber, with about 80 percent of it being exported illegally. It is estimated that organized criminals get between $10-15 billion dollars from illegal logging per year.

Solution 3: Go paperless.

4. Infrastructure Expansion

Road construction can lead to deforestation by providing an entryway to previously remote land. The 5,404-km Interoceanic Highway, which runs from Brazil to Peru, is a concern for conservationists as the road cuts a strip through the biodiverse Amazon rainforest. The road expansions often lead to logging and illegal logging, where opportunists slash down trees without permission from authorities. The cleared land then attracts an influx of settlers and disturbs the peace that once reigned the small villages.

Solution 4: Recycle and purchase recycled items.

5. Overpopulation

Our planet once housed an estimated maximum of 15 million people in prehistory. It now sustains a whopping 7 billion and counting. With overpopulation, there is an increase in global needs and wants, leading to expansion and deforestation. The planet’s forests are being devastated at an even rate with population growth.

Solution 5: Look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Rainforest Alliance certification on products. Increase education about breeders; increase affluence.


5 Big Causes of Deforestation and How You Can Stop It

Cherry Blossoms

The ‘brown gold’ that falls from pine trees in North Carolina. By Todd C. Frankel March 31, 2021

photo of pine trees

Mike Wilson’s longleaf pine stands now produce up to 170,000 bales of pine straw a year, harvested mostly by hand, for use as high-end mulch. (Jeremy M. Lange/For The Washington Post)

WEST END, N.C. — There is a saying among some farmers in the Carolina Sandhills: “A man would have to be a fool to cut down a longleaf pine.”

It’s not because the gangly-limbed tree is particularly beautiful. The pine doesn’t have a magnolia’s flowers or an oak’s shade. And it has nothing to do with the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker that calls the tree home. The longleaf pine’s most obvious attribute is its strong, straight timber — perfect for utility poles.

But the reason that longleaf pines are prized around here: their needles.

The dropped needles are in such demand that a lucrative business has grown up around raking, baling and selling them to landscapers and homeowners as mulch. Three varieties of pine needles are farmed, but the discarded debris of a longleaf pine is the most sought-after — and fetches the best price — because of its unusual length and high resin content, making it an attractive, water-retaining ground cover for gardens. Some even call it “brown gold.” And like anything valuable left just lying on the ground, theft is a problem. That’s why North Carolina made it a felony to steal pine needles.

It’s a case of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure — and, in this case, generating an estimated $200 million in annual sales across the Southeast. The pine straw industry, as it’s known, also helps preserve existing longleaf pine forests and supports the creation of new tree stands out of former tobacco fields and peach orchards. The bargain does have an ecological cost. Leaving the pine needles on the ground is ideal.

How planting trees can help in the fight against climate change

But increasingly there is support for conservation efforts that acknowledge nature can’t be locked away behind museum glass and allowing that some measured uses can offer protection, such as permitting cattle to graze on prairie lands to keep them open and free of woody vegetation.

“It shows a reasonable compromise between exploitive uses and conservation,” said Jeff Marcus, a scientist with the Nature Conservancy who works on the restoration of North Carolina’s longleaf pine ecosystem.

LEFT: Pine cones — some can be the size of pineapples — need to be separated from the valued needles. || RIGHT: A small tractor is used to rake needles from the sandy forest floor at Wilson’s farm in West End, N.C.

The ability to profit from pine needles has benefited longleaf pine forests that for decades have been decimated by logging and development.

“You can only sell the timber once. The pine needles come every year,” said Mike Wilson, who runs a pine straw operation here, two hours east of Charlotte.

Fate of Oregon’s timber industry hangs in the balance

The numbers just work out better, said Terry Bryant, who runs Pinestar Farms in nearby Carthage.

He could get $4,000 an acre for clear-cutting his mature longleaf pines for timber. Or, he said, he could earn $1,200 an acre collecting pine needles from the same trees — every year.

Farmers sell longleaf pine straw at roadside stalls. Garden stores stock it. Landscapers buy it in bulk. It’s more expensive than wood bark or chips. But it’s preferred as a ground cover because it doesn’t attract termites. Needles from slash and loblolly pine trees are also sold as pine straw. But the longleaf stands out.

One landscaper described his preference by telling Wilson, “I don’t do Bojangles,” referring to the fast-food chicken chain headquartered in North Carolina. Longleaf pine straw, as he saw it, was a higher-end product. It held its color. It was special.

Demand for pine straw has grown over the past two decades, closely following the rate of home building in the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and part of Alabama, said Ernest David Dickens, a forestry professor at the University of Georgia who studies the pine straw market.

It’s also been a boon for farmers hoping to hold onto their land.

Wilson, 83, started planting longleaf pine on his family farm — set just a few miles from the famed golf courses at Pinehurst Resort — in the late 1970s. His father and grandfather grew peaches. But the entire crop could be ruined by the slightest changes in the weather. They also tried mining sand, taking advantage of the region’s unusual soil.

Wilson figured he could do better with trees. He now owns more than 750 acres of longleaf pines and leases more, producing up to 170,000 bales of pine straw a year.

The longleaf pine trees on his land are rooted in a mix of neat rows and wild scatter.

“Look at it through there,” Wilson said, driving a dirt road next to a messy thicket of his trees. “That’s all natural regeneration.”

Pine straw is not a quick way to make money. Longleaf pines take a decade to even start producing needles.

Collecting them is tricky.

Going it alone in two of America’s agricultural towns

It’s still done mostly by hand on Wilson’s farm. The needles are raked away from the base of the trees. A lawn tractor with a rake and backpack blowers can help. But a worker still fluffs the pine straw with a pitchfork to shake free any dirt and leaves. Pine cones need to be tossed aside. And the longleaf can produce pineapple-sized pine cones. The cleaned needles then are stuffed into a hand-baling machine, which presses the needles into a wire-bound rectangle.

“Labor is the biggest problem I have,” Wilson said.

His workers are paid by the bale. It’s tough, seasonal work. But they can earn $900 a week, Wilson said. He recalled one notably efficient worker who pulled in $1,400 a week.

A worker loads pine needles into a baler at Wilson’s farm. Theft of any amount of pine straw in North Carolina is a felony. (Jeremy M. Lange/For The Washington Post)

As Wilson drove deeper into his property, he came upon Julio Santiago.

Santiago had worked for Wilson for several years. He stood under a thick canopy of longleaf pines, shaded from the afternoon heat. Mariachi music played from a cellphone propped up on a nearby limb. Surrounded by small hills of brown longleaf pine needles, he pushed handfuls into the baler. His wife stood nearby, using a pitchfork to prepare fresh piles for him to bale.

Each bale is worth just $3 to $5. But a trailer stacked with hundreds of bales is a target for thieves. Wilson said he still reminds his workers not leave too many bales sitting out overnight.

The Energy 202: Two GOP senators back tree planting as answer to climate change

A rash of pine-straw thefts more than 20 years ago led Wilson and other pine straw farmers to press for protection. Law enforcement didn’t take the thefts seriously, Wilson said. It was just pine needles. Theft of personal property valued at less than $1,000 was a misdemeanor. But the pine straw farmers eventually persuaded state legislators to make it a felony to steal any amount of pine straw.

It might’ve helped that the pine is North Carolina’s official state tree.

“I think I got the first conviction under that law,” Wilson said.

The market for pine straw has reduced the pressure on landowners to sell longleaf pine for timber or sell out to developers, said Marcus, the scientist with The Nature Conservancy.

“Pine straw makes it a much more financially viable operation for private landowners,” Marcus said.

It’s helped with public lands, too.

Managers of the 33,000-acre Bladen Lakes State Park used to sell logging rights to its old longleaf pines to raise money to run the park.

Now they sell rights to the park’s pine straw instead. That’s allowed the number of mature pine trees to soar, a boost for birds needing old trees for nesting, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker.

It’s not unfettered nature, but it is something close.

“Marginal habitat,” Marcus said, “is better than no habitat.”

BC By Mason Mastroianni, Mick Mastroianni and Johnny Hart /4/12/21


Dendrology. Wiki

Dendrology (Ancient Greek: δενδρον, dendron, "tree"; and Ancient Greek: λογια, -logia, science of or study of) or xylology (Ancient Greek: ξυλον, ksulon, "wood") is the science and study of wooded plants (trees, shrubs, and lianas), specifically, their taxonomic classifications. There is no sharp boundary between plant taxonomy and dendrology; woody plants not only belong to many different plant families, but these families may be made up of both woody and non-woody members. Some families include only a few woody species. Dendrology, as a discipline of industrial forestry, tends to focus on identification of economically useful woody plants and their taxonomic interrelationships. As an academic course of study, dendrology will include all woody plants, native and non-native, that occur in a region. A related discipline is the study of sylvics, which focuses on the autecology of genera and species.

Dendrology is often confused with botany. However, botany is the study of all types of general plants, while dendrology studies only wooded plants.[1] Dendrology may be considered a subcategory of botany that specializes in the characterization and identification of woody plants.

The International Dendrology Society (IDS)

Dendrology 101 & Tree Identification Techniques

Step 1: Purchase a Field Guide

Field Guide to Texas Trees by Benny J. Simpson
? Texas Trees Field Guide by Stan Tekiela
? Texas, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country by Jan Wrede
? Texas Trees: A Friendly Guide by Paul W. Cox & Patty Leslie
? Native and Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill
Country by Brother Daniel Lynch, C.S.C.


Riparian zone. Wiki

A riparian zone or riparian area is the interface between land and a river or stream.[1] Riparian is also the proper nomenclature for one of the terrestrial biomes of the Earth. Plant habitats and communities along the river margins and banks are called riparian vegetation, characterized by hydrophilic plants. Riparian zones are important in ecology, environmental resource management, and civil engineering because of their role in soil conservation, their habitat biodiversity, and the influence they have on fauna and aquatic ecosystems, including grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, or even non-vegetative areas. In some regions, the terms riparian woodland, riparian forest, riparian buffer zone, riparian corridor, and riparian strip are used to characterize a riparian zone. The word riparian is derived from Latin ripa, meaning "river bank".

A well-preserved natural riparian strip on a tributary to Lake Erie

Riparian Forest Buffers. FS USDA

A riparian forest buffer is an area adjacent to a stream, lake, or wetland that contains a combination of trees, shrubs, and/or other perennial plants and is managed differently from the surrounding landscape, primarily to provide conservation benefits. Riparian buffers can also be managed to include trees and shrubs that produce a harvestable crop along with the conservation benefits, although this is less common. Buffers are used in agricultural, row crop, range, suburban, and urban settings. A wide variety of state and federal programs support the installation of riparian forest buffers on public and private lands.

Riparian forest buffers can deliver a number benefits including filtering nutrients, pesticides, and animal waste from agricultural land runoff; stabilizing eroding banks; filtering sediment from runoff; providing shade, shelter, and food for fish and other aquatic organisms; providing wildlife habitat and corridors for terrestrial organisms; protecting cropland and downstream communities from flood damage; producing income from farmland that is frequently flooded or has poor yields; providing space for recreation; and diversifying landowner income.

Riparian forest buffers can be included in landscape-scale green infrastructure plans to serve a variety of functions, particularly along the rural-urban interface. Green infrastructure is an approach to conservation that involves creating a network of green areas to benefit people and wildlife.

Riparian Forest Buffer


Woody vines, included in Dendrology.

Liana plant

Liana, also spelled liane, any long-stemmed, woody vine that is rooted in the soil and climbs or twines around other plants. They are a conspicuous component of tropical forest ecosystems and represent one of the most important structural differences between tropical and temperate forests. Flattened or twisted lianas often become tangled together to form a hanging network of vegetation. Lianas belong to several different plant families and may grow up to 60 cm (about 24 inches) in diameter and 100 metres (about 330 feet) in length. These structural parasites exploit the trunks and limbs of tropical trees for support in order to place their own leaves into well-lit portions of the forest canopy. The presence of large lianas provides a very good indicator of older, more mature stands of forest.

Although humans use different lianas for purposes ranging from a source of fresh drinking water (vines are often hollow and conduct water through the plant) to poisons and drugs (curare comes from a liana), there is a relative lack of information on this very abundant and diverse life form. Knowledge of lianas and their ecology has lagged well behind other plant groups largely because the study of lianas is complicated by erratic growth patterns and taxonomic uncertainties.

Lianas can represent approximately one-quarter of all woody species in tropical forests. One census of lianas in a Panamanian forest revealed 90 species of lianas from 21 plant families. The density of lianas in this study is not extreme, as many seasonal tropical forests have much higher densities. Lianas have been found to affect the growth of over 50 percent of trees with a diameter of more than 10 cm (4 inches). Although tangles of lianas are known to delay forest regrowth in canopy gaps, a large number of animals depend on lianas for food in the form of leaves, sap, nectar, pollen, and fruit.

Liana. Wiki

Mixed species tangle of lianas in tropical Australia.

A liana is a long-stemmed, woody vine that is rooted in the soil at ground level and uses trees, as well as other means of vertical support, to climb up to the canopy in search of direct sunlight.[1] The word liana does not refer to a taxonomic grouping, but rather a habit of plant growth – much like tree or shrub. It comes from standard French liane, itself from an Antilles French dialect word meaning to sheave.

Lianas in Udawattakele, Sri Lanka

Lianas are characteristic of tropical moist deciduous forests (especially seasonal forests), but may be found in temperate rainforests and temperate deciduous forests. There are also temperate lianas, for example the members of the Clematis or Vitis (wild grape) genera. Lianas can form bridges amidst the forest canopy, providing arboreal animals with paths across the forest. These bridges can protect weaker trees from strong winds. Lianas compete with forest trees for sunlight, water and nutrients from the soil.[2] Forests without lianas grow 150% more fruit; trees with lianas have twice the probability of dying.[3]

Lianas may be found in many different plant families. One way of distinguishing lianas from trees and shrubs is based on the stiffness, specifically, the Young's modulus of various parts of the stem. Trees and shrubs have young twigs and smaller branches which are quite flexible and older growth such as trunks and large branches which are stiffer. A liana often has stiff young growths and older, more flexible growth at the base of the stem.[4]

A canopy of Entada gigas that has formed over a monkey ladder vine (Bauhinia glabra) on Kauai, Hawaii.


Lianas compete intensely with trees, greatly reducing tree growth[5] and tree reproduction,[6] greatly increasing tree mortality,[7] preventing tree seedlings from establishing,[5] altering the course of regeneration in forests,[8] and ultimately affecting tree population growth rates.[9] Lianas also provide access routes in the forest canopy for many arboreal animals, including ants and many other invertebrates, lizards, rodents, sloths, monkeys, and lemurs. For example, in the Eastern tropical forests of Madagascar, many lemurs achieve higher mobility from the web of lianas draped amongst the vertical tree species. Many lemurs prefer trees with lianas for their roost sites.[10] Lianas also provide support for trees when strong winds blow.[11] However, they may be destructive in that when one tree falls, the connections made by the lianas may cause many other trees to fall.[11]

As noted by Charles Darwin, because lianas are supported by other plants, they may conserve resources that other plants must allocate to the development of structure and use them instead for growth and reproduction. In general, lianas are detrimental to the trees that support them. Growth rates are lower for trees with lianas; they directly damage hosts by mechanical abrasion and strangulation, render hosts more susceptible to ice and wind damage, and increase the probability that the host tree falls. Lianas also make the canopy of trees more accessible to animals which eat leaves. Because of these negative effects, trees which remain free of lianas are at an advantage; some species have evolved characteristics which help them avoid or shed lianas.[12]

Liana tangle across a forest in the Western Ghats, India

Specific examples are listed.

18 Plants That Should Always Be Planted Together, Prepper, 2-15-19

Companion planting can not only help your growing plants thrive, but deter pest infestations that can greatly diminish your harvest yield. Grouping specific plants together can also help prevent nutrient depletion in soil.

Some common garden plants actually curtail the ability to thrive when they are either planted close to each other or near specific trees and bushes that are growing near your gardening areas. Keeping the border around your growing plots clear of debris and harmful trees, like the Black Walnut, will help prevent both yield problems and eliminate places harmful insects winter over or make their homes during the gardening season.

Benefits Of Companion Planting

Soil Enhancement

Using companion planting techniques to group together crops that can infuse additional nitrogen into the soil can improve your harvest.

Beneficial Insects

Not all bugs are bad. Courting beneficial bugs into your garden and providing them a home in a grouping of companion plants just might bolster your yield. Helpful insects do not eat your plants, but the bugs that dine upon them.

Physical Support

Some plants, such as pole beans, can grow steadily while providing support to other crops – in this case, corn stalks. When plants become heavily laden with vegetables, they can sag and cause breakage that will kill the plant of allow harmful bugs and bacteria to infiltrate it.

Protective Herbs And Flowers

Planting a border of specific herbs and marigold plants around the border of the garden, and in with some companion plant groups, they will protect the most important crops from harmful insects and wind damage.

Trap Crops

This type of companion planting use both herbs and ornamental plants that urge harmful bugs in their direction only to sicken or kill them after being snacked upon. Trap crops like geraniums an borage should be planted either protective herbs and flowers at the border of the garden or only several feet in front of the protective border as a first line of defense against harmful insects. Both geraniums and borage should be planted in the vicinity of crops that Japanese beetles love – like broccoli and cabbage. The scent of the plants will draw the highly destructive beetles in their direction and then kill them after being chewed upon.

Nasturtiums are also superb trap crops to ue in your companion plant layout. Beetles of nearly all types and aphids will be attracted to them. Once the nasturtiums are filled with the harmful insects, carefully remove them from the ground and drown or burn the insects.


When plants sensitive to either sunlight or wind, or both, are overexposed to such weather extremes, they can die within days. Following companion planting protocols, less environmentally fragile plants in a grouping can protect the others, without harming their own growing course.

Walnut Tree Dangers

These trees should never be anywhere near your garden. A single black walnut tree located within 100 feet of the growing space will destroy all of your diligent companion planting efforts.

These release juglone, a chemical compound, into the ground. Juglone provokes wilting and a yellowing of leaves – and even untimely death of otherwise healthy plants. The chemical compound in black walnut trees is present not only on branches and leaves, but in the nuts that lay on the ground. Juglone is also secreted through black walnut tree’s root system.

How much juglone is excreted by the black walnut trees will vary by season. The percentage of juglone present in the tree hits its peak as the nut start to reach maturity. It takes at least two months for the chemical to be removed from the soil after cutting down the tree.

All breeds of walnut trees make juglone, INCLUDING HICKORY, PECAN, AND BUTTERNUT TREES, but the black walnut boasts the highest percentage of this crop killer. Plants that are the most vulnerable to juglone include tomatoes, pepper varieties, eggplant, and potatoes. Onions, corns, beets, and carrots tolerate the chemical compound better than others.

Walnut tree leaves can be composted safely but not until two weeks after they have fallen to the ground or remain on a cut branch. It takes at least 14 days for air, water, and environmental bacteria to detoxify the matter once it has been separated from the tree.

Asparagus, Cabbage, Peppers, Tomatoes, Rhubarb, Eggplant, Alfalfa, Narcissus, Potatoes, Jack in the Pulpit, Columbine, Crab Apple Trees, Chrysanthemum – select varieties, Phlox, Nectarine Trees, Cherry Trees, Bugleweed, Lilies, Hydrangea, Spiderwort ,White Birch Trees, Bellflowers, Ginger, Lilac Bushes, Plum Trees, Peach Trees, Lamb’s Ears, Hollyhocks, Rhododendrons, Hostas, Geraniums, Crocus, Wood Ferns should never be cultivated near juglone producing trees.

Garden Companion Plant Guide

Send comments to, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus