Consider size of tree or shrub before planting

During this fall season, many gardening activities should be completed and others should be started. Gardening should be easy, efficient and successful.

With the good soil moisture and cooler temperatures, this is an excellent season to plant shrubs and trees that are in containers.

Gardeners may at times purchase small, attractive plants that are adapted to other areas but not here. Some plants are not suitable for the alkaline clay soil, salty water and summer heat or humidity in this area. Apple, magnolia and pine trees and azalea, camellia, gardenia, lilac, rhododendron and yew shrubs grow easier in northern and eastern areas.

The mature size of shrubs and trees should be considered before purchasing and planting them. Some shrubs and trees are suitable for two-story houses and commercial buildings but will become too large for smaller ones. Do you want the shrubs to grow in front of windows or up to the eaves? Do you really need trees that will mature up to 75 to 100 feet high and 50 to 100 feet wide? You should remember the roots grow out more than the limbs on healthy shrubs and trees.

All of the fastest-growing trees are susceptible to diseases, insects and weak limbs. Problem trees include Arizona ash, Bradford pear, Chinese tallow, cottonwood, poplar and willow.

Medium-size trees for this area are Chinese pistachio, crabapple, lacebark elm, honey mesquite, osage orange, Japanese persimmon, eldarica pine, Mexican plum, panicled golden raintree, redbud, soapberry and desert willow.

Dwarf shrubs (1 to 3 feet) are dwarf burford holly, dwarf Chinese holly, dwarf crape myrtle, dwarf pittosporum, dwarf yaupon holly, dwarf nandina, red yucca and rosemary.

Small shrubs (3 to 5 feet) are barberry, bridal wreath spirea, China rose, crape myrtle, dwarf palmetto, flowering quince, glossy abelia, grayleaf cotoneaster, Indian hawthorne, Japanese boxwood, juniper, nandina domestica compacta and tea rose.

Medium shrubs (6 to 9 feet) are agarito, althea, burford holly, ceniza/Texas sage, Chinese horned holly, crape myrtle, elaeagnus, forsythia, fraser photinia, green pittosporum, Indian hawthorne, Italian jasmine, juniper, nandina domestica, pomegranate and variegated pittosporum.

Large shrubs (10 to 25 feet) are California fan palm, cherry laurel, Chinese photinia, crape myrtle, oleander, possumhaw holly, Texas Mount Laurel, Texas palmetto, Texas persimmon, vitex and windmill palm.

Ornamental grasses are big bluestem, fountain grass, Mexican heather, muhly grass, pampas grass, purple autumn grass and sideoats gramma.


• Bill Welch will present a seminar at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 about “Fall Gardening” at the Horticultural Gardens. The fee is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Pre-register by calling 845-7692.

• Elmer Krehbiel is a retired Texas A&M University professor and a Brazos County Master Gardener. Write to him c/o the Brazos County Cooperative Extension Office, 2619 Texas 21 W., Bryan, Texas 77803.

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