West Texas Tree Guide

Where to Plant

Room to grow
Before you begin to dig, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I planting this tree?
  • How tall and wide will it grow?
  • Is it going to interfere with phone lines or utilities?
  • Will its branches rub against the house?
  • Will its roots disturb sidewalks or foundations?
  • Will it block desirable sunlight?
  • Is it going to give shade in summer or block light in winter?

Plan First
Draw a plan of the space the tree will occupy when fully grown. Call your utility locater service to avoid underground cables and pipes. Choose a tree that fits into your available space. the tree chart on pages 4 & 5 will show the size of the different trees at maturity.

Xeriscaping
From the greek word Xeros, meaning “dry”. Landscaping that conserves water and energy. The principles of Xeriscape are: start with a good plan, improve the soil, use mulch, reduce lawn areas, choose low-water plants, water efficiently and practice good maintenance. Xeriscaping your yard ensures a balance between the requirements your plants need to survive and the resources naturally available.

 

How to plant

Pick the site
Select a site where the fully grown tree will not interfere with utilities or structures.

Pick the right tree
From the chart, pick the tree or trees that are best suited to the space, soil, light and water conditions of your property.

Grab a shovel
Loosen the soil 8-10 inches deep in an area 3-5 times the diameter of the root ball. In the center, dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball but no deeper than the root ball. The roots should sit on undisturbed soil. Give the hole rough sides.

Drop the ball
Place the tree in the hole by supporting the root ball. Do not lift the tree by the trunk. Pull the pot or burlap away from the sides and top of the root ball, exposing the roots. While supporting the tree begin to fill in the hole with the original soil (not mulch or compost). Fill it in halfway, then add water and tamp gently. Pack the earth firmly enough to support the tree upright. Repeat until the hole is filled. Encircle the tree with a berm of earth 3 feet around and about 4 inches high. Cover loosened area of soil with 3-4 inches of mulch.

High Stakes
You don’t need a stake unless the root ball is small and winds are high. If the tree is unstable use 3 stakes at equal distances from the trunk. Be careful not to injure roots with the stakes, and secure the trunk with wide straps (like bicycle inntertubes). Do not use wire.

Spread it
The use of fertilizer can actually slow root growth, because it removes their incentive to spread out in search of nutrients.

 

Recommended Tree List

Below is a list of recommended trees for the greater Lubbock and South Plains area. Just click the name to reveal detailed information about the tree, as well as a photo.

 

Pinus eldarica

Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 20-30 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, fairly rapid growth as pines go. Good in our alkaline soils, useful as windbreak or specimen tree.

Pyrus calleryana

(variation) Height: 25-35 ft. Spread: 15-20 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate to rapid growth rate, easy to grow, white early spring flowers, deep red fall color.

Qurcus macrocarpa

Height: 50-60 ft. Spread: 40-60 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, compact pyramid shape, dark green foliage, picturesque with age.

Juniperus virginiana

(variations) Height: up to 20 ft. Spread: 6-8 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, moderate growth, compact pyramid shape, dark green foliage, picturesque with age

Ulmus crassifolia

Height: 50-60 ft. Spread: 30-40 ft. Characteristics: Dediduous, moderate growth, useful in alkaline soils, fall color not notable but a very good elm for Texas.

Pistacia chinensis

Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 30-40 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, large oval deep-green glossy leaves, yellow to orange fall color, excellent oak

Quercus muhlenbergii

Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 30-40 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, rich deep green summer color, excellent fall colors, insect/disease resistant

Chilopsis linearis

Height: 12-25 ft. Spread: 10-15 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, white to lavender color flowers, needs full sun/god drainage, graceful tree

Juniperus virginiana

Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 25-35 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, moderate to rapid growth, pyramid shape, hardy once established, bagworm problems controllable

Koelreuteria paniculata

Height: 40-50 ft. Spread: 20-25 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, blooms early summer, bright yellow flowers turn to tan seedpods, colorful

 

Pinus thunbergii

Height: 20-30 ft. Spread: 20-25 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, moderate growth, Large deep green needles, different shape of pine, well adapted to soil varieties

Juniperus chinensis

(variation) Height: up to 20 ft. Spread: 6-10 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, moderate growth, broad pyramid shape, bright green foliage, blue cones, good for screening

Ulmus parvifolia

Height: 40-60 ft. Spread: 30-50 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate rate, true “Chinese” elm, dark green foliage, fruits in fall, resistant to elm Leaf Beetles

Quercus fusiformis

Height: 30-40 ft. Spread: 40-50 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, moderate growth, dark, shiny leaves, drops leaves in spring, broad spreading native Texas tree

Carya illinoesis

Height: 60-70 ft. Spread: 50-60 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, large rounded shape, newer types better at disease, needs deep soil and zinc

Pinus edulis

Height: 10-30 ft. Spread: 15-20 ft. Characteristics: Evergreen, slow growth, pyramid shape, long life tree, trunk gets up to 12 inches diameter at maturity

Crataegus cordite

Height: 20-30 ft. Spread: 20-30 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, attractive white flowers in spring, red fall fruit, often multiple trunk

Quercus texans

Height: 50-80 ft. Spread: 30-50 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, brilliant red (sometimes yellow) fall color, acorns mature second year

Cercis canadensis

Height: 25-35 ft. Spread: 20-30 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, flowers hold several weeks, light orchid-pink to rich burgundy color

Cercis canadensis

Height: 25-35 ft. Spread: 20-30 ft. Characteristics: Deciduous, moderate growth, flowers hold several weeks, light orchid-pink to rich burgundy color