Trees add a lot to the Texas home landscape; they are used as recreation for kids, shade for homes and a place to escape the hot Texas sun on summer afternoons. Agriculturists at Texas A&M University suggest that you consider planting a native tree when choosing which tree to plant near your Texas home, and have compiled a list from which you can choose (See references). When to plant your tree depends upon where you live in Texas. Spring and fall are the recommended seasons, but if you are in the southern regions, you can plant in the winter as well.
Choose a suitable location to plant your tree. Consider large shade trees for the west and south sides of the house to help insulate it from the Texas afternoon heat. Also take into account the mature size of the tree and check for low-hanging overhead power lines.
Soak the roots of the bare-root tree for three to six hours in a bucket of water.
Dig a hole the same depth as the pot in which the tree is growing, with a width three times the diameter of the pot. If you are planting a bare-root tree, the hole should be the same depth and twice the diameter of the root ball. If you are planting in clay soil, which is common in north Texas, use the gardening fork to rake the sides and bottom of the hole to loosen the soil.
Remove the tree from its pot and gently loosen any tangled roots. If the roots are circling the root ball, cut them with very sharp scissors and then loosen them with your fingers, disturbing the root ball as little as possible. If you are planting a balled and burlapped tree, remove the burlap if it is synthetic. Otherwise, pull it down to the bottom of the root ball and bury it with the tree.
Place the tree in the hole and fill the hole halfway with soil. Fill the hole with water. When the water drains, finish filling the hole with soil.
Mound and compact soil 8 inches thick and 5 inches high and form it into a watering ring 2 feet from the base of the tree. Fill the watering ring with water. When it drains, add soil to holes that have formed as a result of the soil settling. The watering ring helps concentrate the water to the young tree's roots during the critical stage when it is becoming established. This concentrated moisture will help keep the young roots cool during the hot Texas summers.
Add a 3-inch layer of mulch inside the ring, 2 inches away from the bark of the tree. Mulch acts as protection from the hot Texas sun in that it will help the soil maintain moisture and also help keep the roots cool.
Stake the tree if you live in the Panhandle, south of Galveston or areas of west Texas that are subject to high winds. Drive the stake into the ground next to the tree. The stake should be shorter than the tree. Use soft strips of cloth or nylon stocking material to tie the tree to the stake. Remove the stake when the tree becomes established.
Trim off any suckers around the bottom of the tree, and prune off any crossed or broken branches.