Texas Arbor Day is coming up on November 4, just in time to kick off tree planting season. Many of the cities in Williamson County are celebrating Texas Arbor Day with tree planting events, so be sure to look up your local city information to find out how to participate.
One of my favorite things about Texas is the wide variety of trees that are native to our big state. Texas boasts as many as 281 native tree species, from the pines in East Texas to the southern live oaks in Central Texas to the sabal palms in the Rio Grande Valley to the mesquites in the Panhandle.
I am admittedly not a huge fan of the ashe juniper, also known as mountain cedar tree, especially in January when the pollen count causes my allergies to go crazy. I did gain an appreciation for mesquite trees when I lived in Abilene for a few years and learned that any kind of shade is welcome in west Texas.
Williamson County can grow a wide range of trees. You will find Texas live oaks or escarpment oaks in the western part of the county in the Edwards Plateau, as well as the large, beautiful southern live oaks. Cedar elms are a native tree that add color in the fall, along with flameleaf sumac and red oaks. Native pecan trees grow along the riverbanks of the San Gabriel, where you can also find towering burr oaks.
In 1919, the pecan was named the official state tree of Texas. Pecan is the only native nut tree in the entire United States. Pecan growers in Williamson County will be starting harvest in the next week. A fresh pecan is hard to beat in flavor and quality. If you’ve never had fresh pecans, I encourage you to find one of our local producers at the farmers’ market in November or December to taste fresh, locally grown pecans. You will never go back to the grocery store for pecans again!
If you are interested in adding more trees to your landscape, fall is the best time to plant. You will give the root system time to get established during the winter months so the tree can grow well in the spring and summer. Take time to research the best tree for your location, considering space and light requirements. We have a great tree selection and planting guide on our website at Williamson.agrilife.org/.
Texas may not be as famous as the northern states for fall color, but we do have some beautiful trees. Enjoy Texas Arbor Day this year and take time to enjoy our beautiful central Texas landscape and native trees. For more information about tree planting and care, contact Kate Whitney, Williamson County Horticulture Extension Agent, at 512-943-3300.