When days are hot and muggy, we want shade trees now - not in 20 years. Fast growth, however, is only one of many factors to consider when choosing a shade tree. A good rule to follow is to purchase your tree from a reputable nursery with well-trained employees. Consider whether the tree is strong, long-lived, messy or prone to disease. Never buy a tree based on price or growth rate alone.
Choosing the right tree: Match the mature size of the tree to the location. Large trees should be planted 20 to 30 feet away from the house. Small to medium size trees work well near patios or decks.
Avoid planting messy trees near driveways, walkways or deck areas. Consider a tree's growth habit and how it will fill a specific need. A tree with low hanging branches, for example, may be perfect in the middle of a yard but may be a nuisance next to a driveway.
Good Choices for Northeast Texas:
Small to medium-sized trees: Crepe Myrtle, Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginica), Japanese Maple, Vitex (Vitex agnus- castus), Leyland Cypress, Ornamental Pear.
Large trees: Bald Cypress, Ginkgo, Oaks, Southern Magnolia, Red (not Silver) Maple, Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera).
Ask your nurseryman for help in choosing specific varieties and other species suitable for this area.
Geneva Thomas, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas AgriLife Extension Service