How do I pick the right tree for my garden?

As with all gardening, it should be as simple as putting the right plant in the right place, but trees are long-term investments and require some research. Consider the attributes of your yard before going tree shopping. The size of your garden and the location of utility lines or easements should be noted before you plant. Factor in the amount of sun and shade your yard gets and test the ground to see if it’s wet or well drained. Also, think about your landscape design goals and decide if it’s important to have an evergreen or deciduous variety (which sheds leaves annually) in your yard. Then, find out how large your tree will be once mature. For example, most suburban lots can accommodate a shade tree like the Drummond Red Maple (Acer rubrum), which has red seeds called samaras that fly like helicopters and provide great fall color. If you’re interested in a selection that grows quickly, a great choice for our area is the Redbud (Cercis canadensis), a fast-growing, small native tree that provides beautiful flowers and pollen for bees in early spring.

Native trees are well adapted to our area, so avoid invasive species. There are a lot of options; check out this online resource that has many ideas for southeast Texas: texastreeid.tamu.edu/content/listOfTrees.

Local nurseries are filling up with great plants and many gardening groups have plant sales this time of year, which offer guidance and plant suggestions that will be wonderful in your garden for years to come.

March Mart at Mercer, to be held Saturday, March 17, is a great opportunity to visit with plant experts and ask questions about your yard. For more information, visit hcp4.net/mercer.

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..

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..

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