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13 Popular Trees That Will Thrive in North Texas

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If you’ve ever driven up north from central or southern Texas, you know how much the landscape changes- so much so that it feels like you’re in a new state! The panhandle has a unique climate that’s distinct from the central plains, western mountains, or southern desert.

This, of course, means that gardens and landscaping in the north have a different selection of plants than what can grow further south. Northern TX has an ideal climate for many trees because it’s more mild and has fertile soil. This region covers USDA Growing Zones 6 through 8 and is less intense than the dry and hot growing zones in Texas.

There are stunning pine and fir forests all over northern TX, but you can also grow a variety of fruit and ornamental trees! Keep reading to get a peek at the variety of trees to grow in northern TX!

13 Trees Perfect for Growing in Northern Texas

1. Black Hickory (Carya texana)

Black Hickory trees are one of the most common hickory trees found all over Texas, hence the name Carya Texana. They’re also a species native to Texas!

Black Hickory trees have bright green leaves and pale green flowers that aren’t very noticeable. However, their leaves turn golden yellow for stunning fall foliage. Their wood is also one of the commonly used hickory woods for smoking meat.

These trees are super versatile and can grow in many soil types with average water needs. Although, they’re not very easy to transplant and should be planted directly where you intend to grow it.

Black Hickory are also often grown as nut trees because they produce a nut with a sweet flavor. Some people say it’s comparable to pecans!

Other Common Names: Texas Hickory, Buckley Hickory, Pignut Hickory

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 60-140 ft tall by

Season: Nuts in Fall

Available at: Nature Hills

2. Texas Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus)

Texas Smoke Tree
Image by Plant Image Library via Flickr

Texas Smoke Trees get their name from their smoky-purple flowers that cover the tree in a soft haze. These flowering trees can be found all over the panhandle and are most noticeable when in full bloom.

Texas Smoke Trees are considered large shrubs or small trees because they have several trunks and have an open crown that spreads wide. Along with their beautiful purple flowers, their leaves are very ornamental. The leaves are light pink when they emerge, then turn blue-green, and deepen to dark orange and red in the fall.

These trees are often found in eastern TX, where they’re usually growing in loamy or rocky-limestone soil.

If you’re looking for an easy-going ornamental tree for your landscape, Texas Smoke Trees are a great pick! They’re strong trees that can handle high heat and drought, and are pollution and deer resistant.

Other Common Names: American Smoke Tree, Wild Smoke Tree, Smoke Tree, Smoke Bush, Chittamwood

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 25- 30 ft tall by 20-30 ft wide

Season: Spring, April to May

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

3. Pink Lady Apple Tree (Malus domestica ‘Cripps Pink’)

While southern TX can grow many kinds of tropical fruits, classics like apple and pear trees really thrive in northern TX. There are many varieties of apple trees that you could grow in Texas, but Pink Lady Apple trees are one of the best picks- not just because it’s my favorite type of apple!

Pink Lady Apple trees are a hybrid from western Australia that were bred from Golden Delicious and Lady Williams apples. These fruits are medium to large sized with a marbled golden yellow and blush pink skin. They’re firm and are great for cooking or eating straight off the tree!

They’re well-adapted to long summers and have a strong heat tolerance, and will keep their leaves throughout the winter. Despite this, Pink Lady Apple trees do need lots of water.

You’ll need at least two trees for cross-pollination and will need to prune it yearly, but these trees are one of the best picks for fruit trees in northern TX!

Other Common Names: Malus Pink Lady, Cripps Pink Apple

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall by 8-10 ft wide

Season: Late Summer through Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

4. Utah Serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis)

Utah Serviceberry
Image by Jim Morefield via Flickr

Although it’s native to the region of and around Utah, the Utah serviceberry can also be found in western and northwestern TX. It grows best in dry and arid environments that are similar to Utah and have rocky or sandy soil.

The Utah Serviceberry is a large shrub with several small trunks, and at maturity is the size of a small tree. Its beautiful flowers are pale pink to white and grow in large clusters around the shrub. These flowers are pretty large so they create a snow-like cover on the shrub, and they stay in bloom until early summer!

With flowers like this, Utah Serviceberry attracts lots of pollinators throughout the spring. These can be planted on their own or grown as a hedge or a natural fence.

After the blooms, comes its fruit- which are edible and very tasty! They look and taste similar to apples and ripen around the same time, unless the wildlife eat all of them before you do!

Other Common Names: Pale Leaved Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 10-15 ft tall by 10-15 ft wide

Season: Spring, April to May

5. Black Willow (Salix nigra)

Black Willow
Image by Bruce Marlin via Wikimedia Commons (CC 2.5)

Black Willow trees can be found all over Texas, but are most often found growing in wet soil in the swampy regions of eastern and northeastern Texas. These trees really thrive with wet feet and are usually found right on the riverbank or edges of streams.

Black Willows are indeed related to Weeping Willow trees, although they don’t droop in the same way. In fact, they average 50 feet in height but can reach 100 feet tall!

Despite their name, Black Willow bark is grayish-brown and their leaves are a colorful green in the summer. The leaves then become bright, brilliant yellow in the fall, just before dropping to the ground.

The wood is soft and can’t be used for hardwood, but it is frequently used for charcoal and, interestingly, for creating artificial limbs! Also, Willow bark contains salicylic acid which is the main ingredient in aspirin!

Other Common Names: Gulf Black Willow, Swamp Willow, Sauz

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 30-60 ft tall by 30-60 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring

Available at: Nature Hills

6. Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana)

Texas persimmon
Image by Lars Plougmann via Flickr

Texas Persimmon trees aren’t very well-known, despite being a native species and growing all over the state! Although, it’s a real treat for those who do know these trees and their sweet fruits.

Texas Persimmons are berry trees with dark purple, almost black, fruit. The fruit starts to form in the summer but is ripe in the fall and becomes very sweet- attracting lots of wildlife!

These trees can be quite tall, especially when growing wild. However, they’re very easy to grow and are a great pick for adding a local species to your garden or landscaping.

Even if you’re not growing a Texas Persimmon for its fruit, they have so much ornamental beauty. Their leaves turn dark red and purple in the fall as the fruit ripens for harvest. In the spring, large, white flowers bloom all over the tree and release a strong fragrance.

Other Common Names: Texan Persimmon, Southern Persimmon

Growing Zones: 4-10

Average Size at Maturity: 35-60 ft tall by 25-35 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring, May: Fruits in Fall

7. Okame Cherry Blossom (Prunus ‘Okame’)

Okame Cherry Blossom
Image by Shinya Suzuki via Flickr

Cherry blossom trees might not come to mind when thinking about northern TX flora, but they actually thrive in the north. It’s the perfect climate for growing cherry trees, so naturally cherry blossoms do just as well. Otherwise, the Dallas Arboretum wouldn’t be able to grow over 100 cherry blossoms!

Okame Cherry Blossoms are bright pink with a darker, almost red center. They bloom in mid-spring and cover the tree in a pink fluffy coat. When in bloom, these flowers are super fragrant and have a sweet smell.

The flowers only last for two weeks before giving way to the leaves. However, months later in the fall, the green leaves turn to bright orange and add a new layer of beauty.

The Okame Cherry Blossom in particular is great for Texas growers because it has a lower chill requirement and higher heat tolerance. These trees can also adapt very well to different types of soil.

Other Common Names: Taiwan Cherry, Prunus Okame, Okame Cherry

Growing Zones: 6-9

Average Size at Maturity: 20-25 ft tall by 15-20 ft wide

Season: Spring, March to April

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

8. Everest Crabapple (Malus ‘Evereste’)

Everest Crabapple
Image by Mark AC via Flickr

There are so many different varieties of Crabapple trees with slightly different flowers, bust they’re all gorgeous and look great in many ways! The Everest Crabapple is just one of many, but its stunning flowers are a great reason to grow it.

The flower buds on Everest Crabapple trees are a deep, fuschia pink but when the flowers open, they’re pink fading to white. The flowers bloom in late spring when there’s already leaves on the tree’s branches and grow in large clusters all over. The flowers are small but have a strong fragrance!

Everest Crabapple trees are often planted for ornamental landscaping, but can also be grown for edible gardens as their fruit is edible! The “crabapples” are small fruits that resemble apples but are much smaller.

This specific cultivar is highly disease resistant and pollution tolerant. It’s also drought resistant once established and grows well in standard, well-draining soil.

Other Common Names: Crabapple, Crabapple Evereste, Malus Perpetu

Growing Zones: 4-8

Average Size at Maturity: 15-20 ft tall by 15-20 ft wide

Season: Spring, May

9. American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)

American sycamore tree
Image by Shawn Taylor via Flickr

American Sycamore trees are tall, strong trees that can grow on your property or nearby parks for generations! These trees live long and provide lots of shade with their large canopy.

It’s likely that many of the large, ancient trees growing around you are American Sycamore trees. If the conditions are right, these trees grow to be at least 150 years old!

These trees grow tall and upright, then split to create an open canopy. Their bark peels off over time and makes a pattern of white, beige, and pinkish-gray flakes. American Sycamore leaves turn from green to light orange and yellow in the fall.

Such grand trees also means a strong root system- so be careful planting these trees anywhere near structures that could be damaged by the growing roots.

Many American Sycamore trees live long because they’re low-maintenance and grow quite easily. They can tolerate high heat or winds, and are fast growers.

Other Common Names: Eastern Sycamore, American Plane Tree

Growing Zones: 4-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 70-100 ft wide

Season: Flowers in Spring

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

10. Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus var. ‘atropurpureus’)

Eastern wahoo
Image by Andrew Cannizzaro via Flickr

The Eastern Wahoo is a tree that has so many colors and gives something interesting in every season. From maroon to crimson to mauve, the Eastern Wahoo displays almost every shade of red!

In the late spring, it blooms with dark purple flowers that become reddish with time. The blossoms stay on the tree for about one month before dropping. The flowers are small but grow in clusters with many flowers, so they’re bright and noticeable.

After the flowers drop, the Eastern Wahoo produces its seeds. The seed pods are light pink-purple but turn crimson once they’re mature. At maturity, the pods split open and the seeds inside are also crimson colored!

Eastern Wahoo is another large shrub that can be pruned to be a small tree or trimmed as a hedge. These plants are very easy to grow regarding soil and water, and can even grow in full shade!

Other Common Names: Burning Bush, Wahoo, Waahoo, Spindle Tree

Growing Zones: 3-7

Average Size at Maturity: 12-20 ft tall by 15-25 ft wide

Season: Spring- Summer, May to June

11. Pecan Tree (Carya illinoinensis)

Pecan Tree
Image by Katja Schulz via Flickr

The Pecan tree is the Texas state tree for a reason and you bet you can find these trees growing all over northern TX. Pecan trees grow all over the state since they’re native to this region, but they’re most abundant in areas with rich soil.

These trees are pretty big, especially the older ones, and have huge canopies. Their leaves are bright green and their branches have thorns. Pecan trees do have flowers but they’re small and fluffy, so you can’t really see the flowers except up close.

Because Pecans are one of the most popular nut trees in Texas, there are now dozens of cultivars. Each one has a different size and flavor profile, and the trees have different specific needs. If you want to get the highest nut production, it’s best to have two different cultivars!

Along with the nuts, the wood from Pecan trees can be used for flooring or smoking in barbecues!

Other Common Names: Pecan Hickory, Hardy Pecan, Carya Pecan

Growing Zones: 5-9

Average Size at Maturity: 70-100 ft tall by 40-70 ft wide

Season: Fall

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

12. Eastern White Pine Tree (Pinus strobus)

Eastern White Pine Foliage
Image by James St. John via Flickr

The dense forests in northern TX host many pine trees and the Eastern White Pine is one of the most common. These trees are very cold hardy, so they’re a perfect choice for the chilly parts of the state. They also grow in abundance out in western TX, where the climate is dry and mountainous.

Well-adapted to the northern TX climate, they populate and mature quickly and will live for hundreds of years! Eastern White Pines are resilient trees that are highly drought tolerant, although they won’t grow well in the heat of central and southern TX.

As with all Pine trees, Eastern White Pines are evergreen and keep their lush pine needles all year long. These trees are often home to lots of wildlife such as squirrels, porcupines, or hares that will live inside or high in the canopy. Plus, many animals eat the bark or pinecones!

Other Common Names: Weymouth Pine, North American Pumpkin Pine, North American White Pine, White Pine

Growing Zones: 3-8

Average Size at Maturity: 50-80 ft tall by 20-40 ft wide

Season: Fall, Winter

Available at: Fast-Growing-Trees & Nature Hills

13. English Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Punicea’)

English Hawthorn
Image by 阿橋 HQ via Flickr

English Hawthorn is another gorgeous flowering tree that adds immense ornamental beauty to any landscaping space. Plus, its flowers and berries are edible- it doesn’t get much better than edible landscaping!

English Hawthorn trees have a dense crown of bushy branches, filled with dark green leaves. In the spring, these leaves are overtaken by little pink flowers with a delicate white center.

These trees are fairly easy to spot in the springtime because the flowers bloom in large clusters with dozens of flowers. Not so easy to spot are the berries, which ripen throughout the summer and are eaten late summer or early fall. The berries are dark red and attract hungry wildlife if not eaten by humans!

Make sure to wear gloves when going to collect these berries: as the name suggests, English Hawthorn trees have long thorns along their branches, about one inch thick!

Other Common Names: Midland Hawthorn

Growing Zones: 5-8

Average Size at Maturity: 18-25 ft tall by 18-25 ft wide

Season: Flowers inSpring; Fruits in Fall

Embrace the Cold Climate

As a gardener or landscaper in northern TX, you might feel a bit discouraged by the chilly climate of the panhandle. Sure, you can’t grow citrus or crazy cacti like growers in the southern parts of the state, but the northern climate offers a whole new world!

What we lack in warmth, we make up for in lush forests and fruit trees adapted to milder climates. There’s a huge variety of trees and shrubs that can grow in northern TX and, actually, more options for planting since the weather is less intense.

In general, there’s great diversity in plant life up north, but there’s specifically an advantage for growing trees. The greater geographic region surrounding the panhandle is a dense forest zone.

So, there’s no reason not to feel confident about growing in the north. I hope this article gave you lots of ideas and inspiration to get planting!

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