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Happy Texas Arbor Day! Here’s what you should know.

Caitlin Ritchie
By Caitlin Ritchie November 1st, 2019
4 min read
For business

Planting trees for Arbor Day can help mitigate greenhouse gases


Most celebrate Arbor Day in the spring by planting and caring for trees. But if you’re lucky enough to live in the Lone Star State, you may know Texas has its own special Arbor Day in the fall.

The reason for Texas Arbor Day boils down to the infamous Texas heat. In the spring, it isn’t unusual for temperatures to reach well into the 80s, and the heat index can sometimes feel like the 90s.

Planting and establishing a tree in high temperatures can be difficult. So, in 2013, Texas created its own Arbor Day – creatively named Texas Arbor Day – to be celebrated on the first Friday in November. With lower fall temperatures, Texans can plant new trees without worrying about the scorching heat, giving the trees a chance to ease into their surroundings before the cooler winter months arrive.

Trees can help your monthly energy bills!

It’s a well-known fact that trees benefit the environment, preserve ecosystems, provide oxygen into the air, and absorb carbon dioxide. In fact, one large tree supplies enough oxygen for four people! But did you know planting trees can also help with your energy bills?

Planting deciduous trees on the west or southwest side of your home can lower your bills in the summer and winter. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall, letting through more sunlight to warm your home during the cooler months. In the spring and summer, deciduous trees grow new leaves, which shade your home from the harsh sunlight and keep your internal temperatures down.

Evergreen trees can also be planted on the north side of homes. These trees can serve as a buffer to northern cold fronts that sometimes sneak in through the cracks in north-facing doors and windows.

Find the best tree for your yard

Before you rush out and plant a new tree, it’s important to do a little research into the types of trees that work best in your landscape. Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:

  • Try to find plants that are native to your area. Native trees tend to be more drought and heat tolerant, require less water and will grow easier in your yard once planted.
  • When selecting a tree, consider what it is you want for your yard. Are you looking for a shade tree or an ornamental tree? Where will you plant it? How long are you hoping it will live? Identifying your hopes for the tree will help you narrow down the many choices.
  • This may seem obvious, but read the tag on the plant before buying it! Plant tags have crucial information that you need to know.
  • Think about light requirements before deciding on a tree. If the area is sunny or shady, choose a tree that will thrive in those conditions.
  • Inspect the tree for any trunk wounds or weeds growing in the pot. These are signs of damage or decay.

Depending on where you live, there are a variety of trees that will thrive in your climate. According to the Fannin Tree Farm, here are five trees that grow well in Texas.

  • Live Oak. These trees are tall with a shorter trunk. They cast a large canopy of shade and work well if you have a lot of space.
  • Bur Oak. The Bur Oak is native to Texas and is known for its large leaves and giant acorns. “Its great adaptability makes it an excellent choice for the Texas environment, as it can adapt to cold and extreme heat,” the Fannin Tree Farm says.
  • Cedar Elm. These are very common throughout East, South, and Central Texas. Cedar Elms can adapt to different types of soil and are drought tolerant.
  • Bald Cypress. Like the Bur Oak, the Bald Cypress is native to the Lone Star State. These trees tend to grow naturally in wetter climates, but can still handle dryer environments. Many enjoy the feather-shaped leaves that they provide.
  • Magnolia. Known throughout the South for their large, waxy leaves and white flowers, the Magnolia is a staple in Texas. They usually thrive best in full sun and require well-drained soils.

Resources to help you decide

Before buying a new tree, check out these handy resources to help you make the right decision.

  • Get your tree-related maintenance and care questions answered with the Texas A&M Water University guide.
  • Find the right tree for your climate with the Texas A&M tree selector tool.
  • Enter your address to learn more about energy-saving trees for your home with Oncor’s selection tool.
  • Learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Texas Tree Foundation.
  • You can also volunteer with Retreet, a charity that focuses on “restoring decimated urban forests”.

Caitlin Ritchie is a writer within the energy and power industry. Born in Georgia, she attended the University of Georgia before earning her master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


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