Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Texas Native Trees that Grow under 50 Feet Tall

Sometimes size really does matter when you are looking for trees that come under a set height. This can be important for having a tree grow under a balcony or other landscaping themes where shorter trees are preferred. These are all trees that grow under 50 feet tall, all native to Texas.


Fraxinus cuspidata
Common Name: Fragrant Ash, Flowering Ash
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: A small tree that can be a large shrub, the fragrant ash can get to 20 feet high. Gray bark will have scales as it ages. Slender branches have dark-green leaves and white 4-petaled flower clusters. Fruits are samaras. Bloom season is May through June.
Planting Guide: Fraxinus cuspidata should be grown in partial shade and dry nearly neutral pH soil. It is cold tolerant.
Propagation: Fragrant ash is propagated by seed that is stratified in cold moist sand for 30 to 60 days. Sow after collection or after the stratification if planting in the spring.
History: It will attract butterflies and birds for its cover and nesting. It is also a larval host for swallowtail butterflies.
Warnings: This particular tree doesn’t have much problem with disease and pests.
Distribution: Fraxinus cuspidata is found in AZ, NV, NM and TX.



Rhus lanceolata
Common Name: Prairie Sumac, Lance-leaf Sumac, Prairie Flameleaf Sumac
Synonyms: Rhus copallinum var. lanceolata
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: Growing up to 20 feet high, prairie sumac is a deciduous tree with white flowers and red fruits. Leaves are green and then become red or orange in the fall season. Leaves are veined and pinnate in an alternate arrangement. Flowers bloom July and August in a panicle. Fruits are drupes.
Planting Guide: Rhus lanceolata prefers sunny spots and dry alkaline soil. It is both cold and heat tolerant.
Propagation: Prairie sumac is propagated by seed and semi-hardwood cuttings. Cuttings should be done in late summer. Seed will need to be collected September through October and then have 30 minutes to an hour of acid scarification.
History: It is a larval host to the Banded hairstreak (Satyrium calanus) butterfly and the Red-banded hairstreak (Calycopis cecrops) butterfly.
            Leaves have tannin in them and can be used in tanning leather.
            Sumac-ade, a lemonade type drink, can be made from fruits of the prairie sumac soaked in water.
Warnings: If the soil is very rich the prairie sumac may get fusarium wilt when young.
Distribution: Rhus lanceolata is found in NM, OK and TX.


Sabal mexicana
Common Name: Mexican Palm, Rio Grande Palmetto, Texas Palm, Palma Di Micharos
Synonyms: Sabal texana
Lifespan: Perennial
Description: A slow growing tree, the Mexican palm grows to 50 feet tall and 3 feet in width for the trunk. Leaves are large and fan-like, blue-green in color. Fruits are in clusters and dark purple. A trunk will start to appear after the tree has aged to about ten years old. Blooms are white and occur March through May.
Planting Guide: Sabal mexicana prefers sun or partial shade with moist or dry soils. It is find in sandy or clay soils.
Propagation: Mexican palm is propagated by seeds. No treatment of the seeds is necessary but for best germination you can cold stratify for 30 days.
History: It attracts birds and wildlife as it is aromatic and has browsing fruits.
Warnings: The trunk won’t begin to really appear until it is at least 10 years old.
Distribution: Sabal mexicana is found in TX.

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