There are many good reasons to choose native trees for your garden, but one of the best is that a tree that grows naturally in your own area is best adapted to your local conditions, and so will thrive. If you live in difficult locations, with hot, dry summers, then many of the trees suggested for the north-east are simply unable to cope with your conditions. That is the time to choose a local tree – one that has evolved for thousands of years to survive in your climate. When it comes to handsome shade trees, with beautiful fall coloring, that are also reliable even in the hottest and driest areas, then the Texas Ash is the top choice.
Growing Texas Ash Trees
Texas Ash is a deciduous shade tree that has outstanding resistance to dryness and heat – much more than its close relative the white ash. Ash Trees are generally thought of as trees for cooler climates, growing best in moist soil, but not the Texas Ash. This tree, which grows naturally from eastern Texas and southern Oklahoma down into Durango, Mexico, is found wherever the soil is dry. If this sounds like your garden, then this is the shade tree you want.
Texas Ash grows into an upright tree with a spreading crown. It will in time reach 30 to 50 feet tall, with a crown that can be 30 to 40 feet wide, so make sure you set it at least 20 feet away from your home or your property line. The leaves are 8 inches long, but they appear smaller, because each leaf is divided into 5 leaflets, each about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide. They are bright green on top, and whitish green on the lower surface. (The name ‘Ash’ for these trees comes from that white undersurface to the leaf). One of the outstanding features of this tree is the fall color, which is much more attractive than in white ash. While that tree usually simply turns yellow, the Texas Ash has a full-spectrum fall display, with shade of yellow, orange, red, gold and purple, often ending by the whole tree turning a vibrant scarlet. Insignificant flowers are produced in spring, on separate male and female trees. Female trees produce bunches of fruit in late summer, about one inch long, with a single wing that scatters them in the wind.
The Texas Ash is the perfect shade tree for a lawn where you have no irrigation, or if you need to grow a tree that will have no additional watering once it is established. Of course, the Texas Ash will also grow well in more normal, damper garden conditions, and with its superior fall coloring it is a much better choice than white ash. Since it is hardy from zones 5 to 9, it is a great alternative choice whenever an ash tree is needed. As well as growing it as a shade tree, you can use the Texas Ash in groups, and it is a great choice for difficult areas and sloping sites, where it will bring interest and tree-cover to barren land. The trend today is towards xeric gardening, and this tree, although not typical in appearance of plants for very dry sites, has adapted to them, and it is a great choice for low-water gardening.
Planting and Initial Care
Plant the Texas Ash in full sun, in almost any kind of soil. It grows well in poor, sandy soils, both acidic and alkaline, as well as thriving in ordinary garden soil. Do not plant in wet and low-lying areas. This tough tree is normally free of significant pests or diseases. Newly-planted trees should be watered regularly – once a week is about right – for the first growing season, and then once a month for the next couple of summers. After that it will be well-established, and able to thrive even in extended dry periods without any supplementary watering.
History and Origins of the Texas Ash Tree
The Texas Ash, Fraxinus texensis, is a variant form of the white ash, Fraxinus americana. It grows as an extension of the range of the white ash, being found in dry areas of Oklahoma, Texas and into Mexico. It always grows in drier sites than white ash does. There is a lot of technical botanical discussion about the correct naming of this plant, and some authorities consider it simply a form of the white ash. Other called it Fraxinus albicans, based on the rules of priority of naming, and others consider that species to be the same as Fraxinus americana. Whatever its true position, it is distinctive enough, particularly in its fall coloring, to be grown in gardens as a unique ash tree. Our trees are produced from seed selected from correctly identified plants chosen for their outstanding form and coloring. This tree is in high demand from gardeners wanted drought-resistant plants, and our stock is limited. Order now, and enjoy one of the toughest shade trees available.