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Mr. Smarty Plants - Fast growing native trees for Austin

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Thursday - June 15, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast growing native trees for Austin
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

What are your suggestions for a fast growing native tree that will do well in the clay soils of North Central Austin? I just had a 30 foot hackberry tree fall and would like to restore some shade to my backyard. I am not able to dig a very large hole to plant the tree, so would like to find a tree that either grows fast or has a smaller root ball so I can plant it. Would also like one that provides good shade without killing St. Augustine grass under the canopy.

ANSWER:

Four relatively fast-growing, clay-adapted trees native to your area are:

Texas Ash (Fraxinus albicans)
Escarpment Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)

Of these, the ash was mentioned most often as being relatively fast-growing in the books I looked at. The oaks would cast denser shade than the others, but I've seen St. Augustine growing right up to the trunks of live oaks so that might not be a problem. All should be available at local nurseries.

 

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