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Mr. Smarty Plants - Trees to hide telephone poles and wires

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Monday - September 28, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees to hide telephone poles and wires
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking for trees to plant between my house and the street to hide telephone poles and wires. My top priority is to add strong, gold color in the fall. Spring flowers would be a plus. Because of the wires, I plan to trim the trees to keep an oval shape and maintain their height at approximately 50 feet. I also need to provide clearance from the wires to prevent future hacking by the telephone company. Will tulip poplars or thornless honeylocust survive in my area and with annual trimming?

ANSWER:

Both Gleditsia triacanthos (honeylocust) and Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree) grow in Harris County and both tolerate pruning. 

Here are several other choices that have yellow fall foliage for the Houston area:

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) with white flowers in the spring and yellow leaves in the fall. Here are more photos and information.

Ulmus americana (American elm) with yellow fall foliage and here is more information.

Ostrya virginiana (hophornbeam) with yellow fall foliage and here is more information.

Quercus phellos (willow oak) with yellow fall leaves. Here is more information.

You can see more possibilities in our Texas-East Recommended list—use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option and select 'Tree' from General Appearance.  The Texas Forest Service has the Texas Tree Planting Guide with more choices and the Houston Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas has a PDF file of Information Pages that give lists of native plants recommended for the Houston area. 

You might also like to read our article, "How to Prune a Tree."


Gleditsia triacanthos

Liriodendron tulipifera

Chionanthus virginicus

Ulmus americana

Ostrya virginiana

Quercus phellos

 

 

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