From an old Chinese proverb: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.’ In Houston, winter is the best ‘now’ time.

Granted, winters in our area vary greatly! From the recent icy days with snow to balmy days in the 80s, it can make gardening a challenge. But the pleasant days in the 60s and 70s are the best time to look closely at your garden needs. Trees are beautiful additions to your home’s value, and have attractive flowers, fruit or nuts, and fall color. Trees also provide shade, cool the air, absorb rainfall, and prevent erosion.

During our typical winters, there will be mild temperatures and gentle rainfall to water newly planted trees. Planting trees when they are dormant allows them to acclimate slowly, develop new roots as the soil warms, and get a good start in your garden before the heat of the summer.

But, as with everything, there are exceptions – avoid planting tropical fruits or tender trees until springtime. Also, water weekly, especially if we don’t get rainfall. Be cautious and do not use a weed and feed product near a tree since the active ingredient can cause damage.

Plant a tree and enjoy it for years to come!

Suzzanne Chapman
Author: Suzzanne ChapmanEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Suzzanne Chapman is the botanical collections curator at Mercer Botanic Gardens and promotes organic gardening, growing native plants, and protecting the environment. Send your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..