For our full list of decorative tree recommendations, start here!
If it’s time for a new look in your yard, or you recently lost some trees due to storms and are looking for replacements, our owner and ISA Board Certified Master Arborist Amy Langbein Heath has put together a list of her ten favorite ornamental trees for North Texas. Here is the second installment. If you have questions about what trees might be best for your specific landscape, let us know!
When we say “redbud,” we usually mean the Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), but there are two other cultivars, Texas redbud and Mexican redbud, that are also common. All three varieties have heart-shaped leaves and pink/purple blossoms. The redbud is a relatively small tree. It has a short trunk, spreading branches and can grow to about 20 feet tall. It is often added to gardens and houses because it is one of the season’s earliest flowering trees and adds a lot of color with its burst of pinkish/purplish flowers. The redbud’s green leaves, stunning blossoms, and seed pods make it a beautiful decorative tree choice all year round. The redbud does best in full sun or light shade and the Mexican and Texas varieties are drought-tolerant.
Flowering dogwoods are a much-loved feature of gardens both in East Texas and the DFW Area. Dogwoods generally exhibit white blooms, but may also show pink or other colors. They bloom for 3-4 weeks in the springtime, and looks particularly spectacular during that time, but are a great decorative choice all year long. Fall brings crimson foliage, giving way to red berries in the winter. In their natural environment, dogwoods are understory trees, protected and surrounded by other trees. Because of this, flowering dogwoods prefer at least partial shade to thrive.
Yaupon holly is a versatile, multi-trunk shrub or small tree. Yaupon can be trimmed into a hedge or left to grow as an individual tree, making it a popular choice for residential and commercial landscaping. A hardy evergreen, yaupons produce small white flowers in the spring and the female plants produce bright red berries that stay until fall. Yaupons are drought-tolerant and can reach a height of 25 or 30 feet. The dense foliage and berries are attractive to birds throughout the year. Additionally, the yaupon is the only caffeine-containing plant that is native to North America. The leaves can be dried and used for tea!
A graceful and elegant addition to the right landscape, the Japanese Maple is a local favorite for good reason. There are numerous varieties available, with foliage in a range of colors. Japanese maples start out with green leaves in the spring, which quickly mature into shades of red and ochre. These medium-sized ornamentals love the shade and thrive under larger plants or shaded by houses. One of the common issues we see with Japanese maples is too much sun, but if you have space in the shade, they can be a welcome addition.
Looking for a low-maintenance, full sun, drought-tolerant tree? Meet the desert willow. The small tree or large shrub has a spreading crown with willow-like light green leaves. In the mid-summer, these have fragrant, pink flowers that form in clusters at the tip of the branches. This native tree can withstand the heat of our North Texas summers and its flowers are a great hummingbird and bee attractor!