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Saturday - October 05, 2013

From: Cleveland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Soils, Trees
Title: Trees for Plum Grove, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Sorry Mr. Smarty pants, my question is I live in Plum Grove Texas, I have 5 acres and NO TREES. What trees were on the property were either taken out by Ike, or the twisters that followed. I have bought some Ash and with all the drought nothing is growing too good, I would love to plant some trees but I need to find out what will do best in our current weather conditions, can you please help me?


We just looked it up, and Hurricane Ike struck southeast Texas on Sept. 13, 2008, five years ago. Have you attempted to grow anything there since, or has the property just been left as it was after the storm? This was actually a question to ask yourself, but if nothing has grown well there since the storm, you may have soil or drainage problems that have become  a deterrent to growth.

If we understand you correctly, you have planted some member of the Fraxinus (ash) genus and it is not doing well. There are 9 members of that genus native to Texas in our Native Plant Database. We went to  our Recommended Species page and, clicking first on South Texas on the map of Texas, got only one Fraxinus native to that area, Fraxinus berlandieriana (Mexican ash). We went back and clicked on East Texas and got a list of three ashes native to East Texas: Fraxinus americana (White ash),  Fraxinus caroliniana (Carolina ash) and Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash). With no more information available than that, we can only list some of the reasons we know of that the trees involved might not be doing well. Depending on when or how you planted those trees, they are likely suffering from transplant shock. In Texas, especially in our drought conditions, we recommend that woody plants (trees or shrubs) be planted only in the coolest months of the year, normally November to January. If they are planted in hot weather or in clay soil without provisions made for drainage or if the trees you have are not native to your area and the soils are incompatible, any of those could be reasons for the problem.

The first thing we would suggest you do is contact the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Education Extension Office for Liberty County and enquire whether others are having the same sort of problem. If there is a soil problem produced by the storm or other causes, they should be able to provide you with a soil testing kit so you can figure out what amendments you need to make in order to have a more viable soil. They can probably also give you a list of trees that are native to and do well in your area.

About the best we can do for you beyond that is to again go to our Recommended Species lists for South and East Texas and make a list of trees that are recommended for those areas. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree and learn the growing conditions, soils and water needs of that tree. Your job will be to follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to determine its growing conditions and the knd of soil it prefers and compare those with the conditions on your property. We urge you not to plant any woody plants (trees and shrubs) until cooler weather, November through January, and to prepare the soil for each tree to maximize the chances of success.

Trees suitable for the area of Liberty County TX:

Acer rubrum (Red maple)

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood)

Fraxinus americana (White ash)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia)

Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak)

Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress)


From the Image Gallery

Red maple
Acer rubrum

American hornbeam
Carpinus caroliniana

Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

White ash
Fraxinus americana

American holly
Ilex opaca

Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

Coastal live oak
Quercus virginiana

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

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