Texas lies in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6 to 9, which means this state experiences a variety of growing climates. Texas gardeners should choose trees according to their USDA Zone as well as the tree’s native distribution, mature size, bloom time and general culture. Various trees commonly thrive in Texas gardens and landscapes.
The pecan tree (Carya illinoinensis), a large hickory in the Juglandaceae family, naturally occurs along Texas stream banks. These slow-growing trees eventually mature from 70 to 100 feet in height. Pecan trees feature gray bark, deciduous leaves and nonshowy, yellow flowers that bloom from March through May. The blossoms give way to edible, sweet nuts commonly used in culinary recipes. Pecan tree wood makes nice furniture and flooring. These perennial trees often suffer from pecan scab, twig girdlers and tent caterpillars. Pecan trees prefer well-drained, rich soils in sunny positions.
Hackberry trees (Celtis laevigata), also called Texas sugarberries, belong to the elm family (Ulmaceae). These perennials range from 60 to 80 feet in height with similar spreads. Hackberries feature light-colored bark, tapered leaves and green blossoms that appear from February to April. The flowers give way to nonshowy red fruits that attract birds. Mistletoe often grows on hackberry trees. This tree naturally grows along riverbanks and streams across Texas. Hackberries thrive in various soils, but need partially shady positions. Texas gardeners often plant this tree along roads. The wood makes effective plywood and furniture.
Texas ash (Fraxinus texensis) thrives in limestone and rocky soils that receive full shade. This drought-tolerant member of the olive family (Oleaceae) reaches between 30 and 45 feet in height. Showy green or purple flowers appear from April to June, followed by small fruit that birds love to eat. The green leaves turn a vibrant autumn color. Texas ash is often used as an ornamental landscape tree.
The Texas mulberry (Morus microphylla), sometimes called the mountain mulberry, belongs to the Moraceae plant family. This mulberry variety bears pale gray bark and small, green leaves. Nonshowy red and green flower clusters bloom in March and April, giving way to edible red to black fruits that ripen in May. Mature Texas mulberry trees range from 12 to 36 feet in height. This perennial tree tolerates various types of soil, but prefers dryer locations that receive partial shade. Texas mulberry trees naturally occur on Texas hillsides.
American sycamores (Platanus occidentalis), also called buttonwood trees, reach from 75 to 100 feet in height. This perennial tree bears dark bark that sloughs off to reveal a pale inner bark. Red, green or yellow blossoms appear in March and April, followed by orange or brown fruits that ripen through December. This Platanaceae family member prefers moist clay or loamy soils in various lighting conditions. The wood works well for flooring, fiberboard and particleboard. Texas gardeners often plant the American sycamore as a shade tree.