North Texas falls into two USDA Hardiness Zones, 6 and 7. The average nighttime winter temperatures in Zone 6 range from 0 to minus 10 degrees; the average low temperatures in Zone 7 range from 10 to 0 degrees. Gardeners in north Texas can choose from tall, towering pines and shorter, ornamental trees. Plant the larger trees where they have plenty of room to grow, and use them as wind-breaks or shade trees in a large yard. Plant the smaller trees as stand-alone specimens on a front lawn or near a patio.
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) is also known as western yellow pine. The tree grows from 50 to 80 feet tall and 30 feet wide. It produces light-green needles that grow from 8 to 10 inches long; purple male flowers and red female flowers bloom in late March. Oval-shaped, red-brown pine cones that grow to 4 inches long appear in the fall. Plant the tree in full sun and well-drained moist soils.
Golden Rain Tree
Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata) is also known as the varnish tree. The tree grows to 30 feet tall and produces lacy-looking leaves that turn yellow in the fall, yellow flowers that grow in large clusters and 2-inch long red-purple seed pods. Plant the golden rain tree in full sun and a loose, well-drained soil.
Colorado spruce (Picea pungens) grows from 30 to 120 feet tall with a spread of 10 to 20 feet. The tree produces four-sided, pointed and very sharp blue or blue-green needles that grow from three-quarters inch to 1.25 inches long. The seeds are violet pine cones that turn brown at maturity. The cones are cylindrical, pointed at both ends and grow up to 5-inches long and 1-inch wide. Plant the Colorado spruce in rich, moist, organic soil and full sun.
Yaupon holly (llex vomitoria) grows from 20 to 25 feet tall and produces oval-shaped, dark green leaves that grow from one-quarter to 1-inch long; and small, white flowers that will be either male or female. A male tree and a female tree are both necessary for the female to produce the bright, red berries that are an important food source for birds and wildlife. Plant the Yaupon holly in full sun, partial shade or full shade and in a soil that is moist and well drained to wet.
Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) grows up to 40 feet tall and produces smooth leaves; white, lavender, purple or red flowers that grow in large clusters and black or brown fruits. The tree can be upright or spreading and can grow several feet a year. Plant crape myrtle in moist, well-drained soil and full sun.