Live Oaks are native to Texas and grow throughout central Texas from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. Live Oak are beautiful trees with wide spreading canopies that have horizontal arching branches that tend to dip to the ground. Some of the most unique Live Oak in Texas have branches that spread outward and rest on the ground. Live Oak have dense canopies with dark green and waxy elliptical shaped leaves, 2 to 5 inches long, that are stiff and leathery and have a lighter grayish green color underneath. Live Oak trees shed their leaves every year in the spring which are quickly followed by new leaves giving them an evergreen appearance. Younger Live Oak trees light gray bark that is smooth and as they mature their bark becomes dark gray to black with ridges and furrows. Live Oak trees are amazingly adapted to drought and grow best on clay loams.
Common Names: Live Oak, Coastal Live Oak, Virginia Live Oak, Southern Live Oak
Eastern Red Cedar are attractive evergreens that are grown as a large shrubs or small trees with a dense pyramidal form. The Eastern Red Cedar is often used for windbreaks, screens and for median strip plantings in the highway. The Eastern Red Cedar will grow in a variety of soil types including clay and is very drought tolerant. The new foliage on an Eastern Red Cedar appears needle like with an attractive dark blue-green color. As the foliage on an Eastern Red Cedar matures they turn to a dark green color and appear scale like. The Eastern Red Cedar also has reddish-brown exfoliating bark that peels of in long vertical strips. In late fall the female Eastern Red Cedar produces an abundance of dark blue fruit.
Common Names: Virginia Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Carolina Cedar
The Chinese Pistachio is highly recommended by horticultural experts at Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Kansas State Universities. The Chinese Pistachio is a medium sized ornamental tree from China and Taiwan that is extremely winter hardy and has a superior level of drought, heat and wind tolerance. The Chinese Pistachio is the first shade tree to receive the coveted “Earth-Kind” designation from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service for its high levels of genetic resistance to insect and disease problems. The Chinese Pistachio has extremely hard, durable wood which helps protect the tree from wind, ice and decay. Chinese Pistachio trees have a medium to fine textured foliage that remains an attractive deep green color during the growing season and a spectacular fall color in shades of orange, red, and crimson. In the summer the female Chinese Pistachio produces panicles of inconspicuous red dish flowers that are followed by small green berries that turn red to reddish-purple in the fall, which are relished by birds.
The Crape Myrtle was introduced to the US over 150 years ago from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. In 1998 Dr. Carl Whitcomb developed the Red Rocket Crape Myrtle, which is known for its prolific production deep red flowers. Each cluster within the Red Rocket Crape Myrtle has hundreds of red flowers and each cluster can be up to 24″ long. The Red Rocket has a very broad with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 1” to 2” long. Red Rocket produce new growth with red leaves in the spring and as the leaves mature they turn into a green color, which then turn an orange-red color in the fall. Each summer the Red Rocket exfoliates its gray-brown colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and light brown colored bark. The Red Rocket Crape Myrtle is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, very drought tolerant and has a high resistance to powdery mildew and anthracnose.
The Brodie Eastern Red Cedar (often referred to as Brodie Juniper) is one of the most popular cultivars of Juniperus virginiana because of its narrow pyramidal growth habit. Traditionally Eastern Red Cedar (parent plant of the Brodie Juniper) have not has as much popularity in smaller landscapes due to their mature width of 25’. Brodie Junipers will reach a mature width of 12’ which gives them more versatility in smaller landscapes and they are often used as privacy screens in narrower landscapes. Brodie Junipers have naturally dense canopies with dark green foliage that have a very smooth feel which differs from it’s parent needle like foliage. Another plus to the Brodie Juniper is the uniformity of their canopies since they are all taken from cuttings; its parent, the Eastern Red Cedar, has been known to have a lot of variance in the shape and size of their canopies. Brodie Junipers have proven to be extremely drought tolerant, disease resistant and able to handle a wide variety of soil conditions. In late fall they will produce an abundance of dark blue berries.
Common Names: Eastern Red Cedar ‘Brodie’, Brodie Juniper, Brodie Cedar, Virginia Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Carolina Cedar
The Bald Cypress is native to central and east Texas and is one of only two species in the ancient Taxodium genus that now survives and the other species is Montezuma Bald Cypress found in south Texas. Bald Cypress trees grow in swamps and rivers and are excellent shade trees for areas with poor drainage or standing water. Bald Cypress trees maintain a straight trunk and layered branches giving it a pyramidal and moderately dense canopy. Bald Cypress trees have fine fern-like leaves giving it a graceful fine textured appearance. In autumn Bald Cypress leaves turn from deep green to a coppery-red color. Bald Cypress trees have cinnamon-brown colored bark with a thin and fairly smooth texture that exfoliates in long strips. Bald Cypress trees also produce small round cones that are blue-green and contain triangular seeds. Bald Cypress trees are fast growing, extremely long lived and relatively maintenance free.
Common Names: Bald Cypress, Southern Cypress, Swamp Cypress, Red Cypress, White Cypress, Gulf Cypress
The parent tree of the Allee Elm is located on the University of Georgia campus and is approximately 60 years old. The Allee Elm has a vase shaped form with long arching branches. The Allee Elm produces rich green and glossy foliage that changes to yellow during the fall. The Allee Elm has exfoliating bark which is outstandingly attractive. The bark on an Allee Elm peels off in a puzzle like pattern and exposes rich shades of gray, green, brown and orange. The best quality of the Allee Elm is its ability to withstand the harshest growing conditions by growing well in a wide range of soil types and in restricted soil spaces. The Allee Elm is also resistant to Dutch Elm Disease, Elm Leaf Beetles and Japanese Beetles.
Common Names: Allee Elm, Elm Tree, Texas Elm Tree
A popular cultivar of Red Maple due to its densely oval to rounded canopy, heat tolerance and dependable fall color. Very similar to the October Glory Maple, but the Brandywine will have a slightly denser canopy and a deeper red leaf color in the fall. The Brandywine Maple produces small red flowers and samaras (helicopter seeds) in the spring before the buds appear. When the star shaped leaves emerge on a Brandywine Maple they are tinged with red and then develop into a medium green color. In the fall Brandywine Maples produce a deep orange to red fall color that persists well into November. Throughout the growing season Brandywine Maples maintain a very dense canopy despite their vigorous growth rates due to the short spacing between the branch points. Brandywine Maple trees are adaptable to dry or wet soil conditions and are better adapted to the warmer Texas climate than any other Red Maple cultivar. The Brandywine Maple also has winter interest because the new branch growth retains a red color after the leaves drop.
The Little Gem Magnolia has an upright and oval rounded canopy. The Little Gem Magnolia is recognized for its prolific flowering that lasts 6 months of the year, which lasts from May through October. The Little Gem Magnolia produces large fragrant creamy white saucer shaped flowers that are 8 inches wide. The Little Gem Magnolia has beautiful shaped oblong leaves that are 5 to 7 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Little Gem Magnolias have leaves that are stiff and leathery with a deep glossy green color on top and a bronze-brown fuzzy underside. The Little Gem Magnolia differs from the Teddy Bear Magnolia in the following characteristics: Little Gem Magnolias have more open and rounded canopies, they produce a heavier volume of flowers, their leaves are narrower, and they grow faster than Teddy Bear Magnolias.
The Muskogee Crape Myrtle is a hybrid between the Japanese Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia faurei) and the common Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), which was developed by the US National Arboretum in 1978. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle produces long lasting clusters of light lavender flowers. Each cluster within the Muskogee Crape Myrtle has hundreds of lavender flowers and each cluster can range from 8” to 16” long. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle also has one of the longest flowering periods of any Crape Myrtle, 120 days. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle has a very tall and vigorous growing habit with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 1” to 3” long. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle has leaves that are glossy green in the summer and in the fall they turn yellow and red. Each summer the Muskogee Crape Myrtle exfoliates its cinnamon colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and light gray colored bark. The Muskogee Crape Myrtle is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, very drought tolerant and has a very good resistance to powdery mildew.
The Natchez Crape Myrtle is a hybrid between the Japanese Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia faurei) and the common Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica), which was developed by the US National Arboretum in 1978. The Natchez Crape Myrtle was one of the first hybrids released and is certainly the most popular. The Natchez Crape Myrtle produces long lasting clusters of white flowers. Each cluster within the Natchez Crape Myrtle has hundreds of white flowers and each cluster can range from 8” to 16” long. The Natchez Crape Myrtle also has one of the longest flowering periods of any Crape Myrtle, 110 days. The Natchez Crape Myrtle has a tall and arching growing habit with small alternate leaves that are rounded at the base and are 2” to 3” long. The Natchez Crape Myrtle has leaves that are glossy dark green in the summer and in the fall they turn a vibrant orange-red. Each summer the Natchez Crape Myrtle exfoliates its dark cinnamon-brown colored bark in thin strips to expose a smooth and cream colored bark. The Natchez Crape Myrtle is adaptable to a wide range of soil types, very drought tolerant and has a very good resistance to powdery mildew.
The Nellie R Stevens Holly is a cross between the English Holly and Chinese Holly. The Nellie R Stevens Holly has a naturally dense broad pyramidal shape. The leaves on a Nellie R Stevens Holly are glossy with a dark green color and are among the darkest of any plant. The Nellie R Stevens Holly produces inconspicuous white flowers in the spring. The flowers allow the Nellie R Stevens Holly to pollinate and produce an abundant amount of vivid red berries that are very attractive. The Nellie R Stevens Holly is adapted to many environmental conditions with its superior level of shade and drought tolerance.
The Oakland holly is unique as its new growth emerges as a reddish purple and ages to an emerald green. They have an emerald green foliage and a unique oak-shaped leaf, and as it ages it matures from a more columnar to a pyramid shape. Another notable characteristic of the Oakland is that it is a hermaphrodite, and it will be self-fruiting without need for a male pollinator. Beautiful greenish-white flowers appear in the spring, and red-orange berries in the winter. They can adapt to many soil types from sand to well drained clay soils, and they can handle partial sun to full sun.
Red Oak are native to Texas and grow east of Ft. Worth to Texas’ border with Louisiana and Arkansas. Red Oak are large stately and majestic trees with wide spreading canopies that become more rounded as they mature and when younger Red Oaks have a narrow and open habit. Red Oak are fast growing and high quality trees that are easy to maintain and require moderate amounts of fertilizer and moisture when established. Red Oak leaves are 4 to 8 inchs long, display 5 to 7 deep lobes and have bristles on the tips of each lobe. The leaves are glossy dark green with a lighter green underside and in the fall the leaves turn a brilliant red to red-orange color. Younger Red Oaks have a smooth light gray bark which turns dark gray to black with ridges and furrows as they mature.
Common Names: Shumard Red Oak, Shumard Oak, Swamp Red Oak and Spotted Oak
The Vitex ‘Shoal Creek’ has earned a dominant status among the Vitex agnus-castus cultivars and it has several unique qualities that are responsible for this popularity. This cultivar of Vitex was selected for it vigorous growth habit, large flower spikes and it produces the best blue-purple flowers. Vitex are large multistemmed shrubs that maintain fairly dense, symmetrical and rounded canopies. Vitex also have some spring interest because the new branch growth has a showy purple color that turns red-brown and lastly a pale gray color as the branch matures. Vitex have medium to fine textured leaves that are 3 to 4 inches long with 5 to 7 leaves per stem. Vitex have a gray-green leaf with a lighter silver-gray color underside and in the fall the leaves develop a purple tint. In early summer Vitex begin producing silvery gray buds on the tips of each stem that open to a beautiful display of lavender blue flowers that are extremely fragrant. Each cluster of flowers that the Vitex produces has dense rings of lavender blue flowers and each cluster can range from 8 to 12 inches long. Vitex continue this process over several weeks until the clusters completely blanket the entire canopy which are relished by butterflies and hummingbirds. The Vitex can tolerate most soil conditions, provided they are well drained, and will flourish in full sun. The Vitex is designated as a Texas Superstar Shrub by Texas A&M University.
The Eagleston Holly is a natural hybrid of the Dahoon Holly and American Holly. The Eagleston Holly is a beautiful evergreen holly that is grown as a large shrub or small tree with a pyramidal growth habit. The Eagleston Holly can be used for a variety of landscape settings as either a tall screen or a solitary specimen when grown with a single trunk in tree form. The Eagleston Holly has a dense canopy with small slender branches which are smooth and light to medium gray in color. The Eagleston Holly can adapt to both sandy and clay soils with a moderate growth rate. The Eagleston Holly has shiny medium-green leaves with multiple soft spines that are accented in the fall with clusters of bright red berries which persist throughout the fall and winter. The berries on an Eagleston Holly are very attractive to wildlife, serving as an excellent food source. The roots of an Eagleston Holly are rarely invasive due to their great number and relatively small diameter.
The Taylor Eastern Red Cedar (often referred to as Taylor Juniper) gets its name from where it was discovered in 1978 out of Taylor, Nebraska. This cultivar of Eastern Red Cedar was selected because of its narrow and upright growth habit which resembles the look of an Italian Cypress. For years Italian Cypress have been thrust into landscapes throughout Dallas Metroplex because of their unique shape but they have a lot of issues which include: Phytophthora Root Rot, Seridium Canker, Spider Mites and they are susceptible to cold weather. With this introduction of the Taylor Juniper all of those issues are solved while keeping the desired look of an Italian Cypress. Eastern Red Cedar (parent plant of the Taylor Juniper) are native throughout Texas and are extremely drought tolerant, disease resistant and able to handle a wide variety of soil conditions and all of these traits can be seen in the Taylor Juniper. Most landscapes incorporate Taylor Junipers by planted them as hedges in narrow areas between a pool and fence or as accent pieces flanking doorways.
The Eastern Red Cedar ‘Burkii’ are attractive evergreens that are known for their unique silver/blue green foliage. They have a dense pyramidal form and they are often used for privacy screen and ornamental accents in flower beds. They have a very smooth feel which differs from it’s parent needle like foliage. Another plus to the Burkii is the uniformity of their canopies since they are all taken from cuttings; its parent, the Eastern Red Cedar, has been known to have a lot of variance in the shape and size of their canopies. Burkiis are all females and they produce lots of blue green berries during the Fall. Burkiis have proven to be extremely drought tolerant, disease resistant and able to handle a wide variety of soil conditions. The Burkiis are the hardiest variety of the silver/blue trees on the market with the highest resistance to canker. Much hardier than the Blue Ice Arizona and Carolina Sapphire Cypress trees.
Common Names: Eastern Red Cedar ‘Burkii’, Burkii Cedar, Burk Eastern Red Cedar, Silver Cedar, Blue Eastern Red Cedar
The Scarlet Crape Myrtle was developed by Mitch Magee by cross-pollinating a Miss Sandra Crape Myrtle with an Ebony Flame Crape Myrtle. This new variety created a truly novel Crape Myrtle because up until this point there were limited options in terms of Crapes with deep red flowers. Most customers would go with Dynamite or Red Rocket Crape Myrtles if they wanted a deep red flower but they only reached a mature height of about 14’, they are very slow growing at about 1’ per year and they have a wider and bushier appearance. The Scarlet, however, grows about 2’ per year and they have more upright and rounded canopies like the Natchez Crape Myrtle which will get about 20’ tall at maturity. Scarlet Crape Myrtles also produce a deeper red flower without any of white flecks of flowers which are often produced by Dynamite and Red Rockets. On our farm, Scarlets have also shown a higher resistance to powdery mildew and more cold heartiness than Dynamite and Red Rocket.
The Thunderstruck Lavender Skies Crape Myrtle was developed by Mitch Magee by cross-pollinating a Natchez and a Best Red Black Diamond. This is a very interesting cross because the Natchez has white flowers and the Best Red has deep red flowers and we ended up with a Crape Myrtle that has light purple flowers with pink notes. Like the Black Diamond, the Lavender Skies has dark burgundy-blackish plum foliage but it has a much fuller, more upright and rounded canopy. It has a faster growth rate as well and at maturity it will reach 20’ tall much like the Natchez Crape Myrtle. At our farm, the Lavender Skies has shown much more cold heartiness than the Black Diamond series.
The Thunderstruck White Lightning Crape Myrtle was developed by Mitch Magee by cross-pollinating a Natchez and an Ebony Ivory Black Diamond Crape Myrtle. This cross resulted in a tree with very similar features to Ebony Ivory in that it has dark burgundy-blackish plum foliage and white flowers. The White Lightning, however, is a much faster growing at about 2’ per year and it reaches a mature height of 20’. It also has a more upright canopy and rounded canopy like a Natchez. At our farm, White Lightning Crape Myrtles have also shown much more cold heartiness than the Black Diamond series.
The Thunderstruck Ruby Crape Myrtle was developed by Mitch Magee by cross-pollinating a Purely Purple Black Diamond and a Scarlet Crape Myrtle. The unique combination created a Crape Myrtle with dark burgundy-blackish plum foliage and deep red flowers which is similar to the Best Red Black Diamond. The deep red and black colors are perfect for those looking to break up that “too much green” effect seen in typical flowerbeds. One major improvement of the Ruby vs the Black Diamond is that it grows about double the rate and they reach a height of about 20’ at maturity. The Ruby also has a more upright canopy which remains that way even when flowers are produced as opposed to Black Diamond which normally start to droop as the weight of the flowers pulls down the branches. At our farm, Ruby Crape Myrtles have also shown much more cold heartiness than the Black Diamond series.
In 1989, Mitch Magee found an openly pollinated seedling of the Mary Nell Holly on his farm in Poplarville, Mississippi and this new variety of Holly was given the name Liberty Holly. This new variety has a larger leaf than the Mary Nell and it also has more spines, which average between 15-20 around the edge of the leaf. The Liberty Holly also has a very dense, upright and pyramidal shape which is great for privacy screens in areas that are very narrow or even as solitary specimens. In the spring Liberty Hollies produce small creamy white flowers and in the winter orange-red berries will appear. They can adapt to many soil types from sand to clay and from moist to very dry. Liberty Hollies also grown well in full sun to part shade. Their disease and pest resistance are comparable to Mary Nell Hollies.
The East Palatka Holly is one of the most popular hybrids between Dahoon and American Hollies and some of the other notable hybrids include Eagleston, Foster and Savannah Hollies. Like their counterparts, they can be used for a variety of landscape settings as either a tall screen or a solitary specimen when grown with a single trunk in tree form. East Palatka have leaves that more closely resemble those of Dahoons with them being more rounded, glossy and having a single spine at the tip. They also tend to have more drooping branches as they mature which they also inherited from the Dahoon. At maturity East Palatka will be slightly taller than Eaglestons at about 25’ tall and they will produce more bright red berries in the winter, which is attractive to wildlife.