Choosing the Right Tree

There are three major items to consider when choosing a tree: site conditions, such as the amount of space, amount of sun exposure, and soil conditions are the most important things to determine. Appearance, such as leaf size or texture, flowers, deciduous or evergreen, fall color, or structure are some personal choices that need to be made.


Trees that are placed in flower beds are usually considered ornamental trees. These trees should be placed at least 5’ from any structure. Most of these trees will vary in size from 5’ to 30’ tall and 3’ to 18’ wide. Trees that are used to provide shade should be placed at least 20’ from any structure. These trees will vary in size from 40’ to 100’ tall and 40’ to 100’ wide. Each tree will differ in width and root structure; these two characteristics should be the final determination of spacing from structures.


Most trees will require a specific number of hours of daylight. Shade trees typically will require 6 hours of sunlight a day. Some others are considered understory trees that are used to growing under tall canopies, and these will require fewer hours of daylight.

Soil Conditions

In Southeast Texas we have many different types of soils, from sand to heavy clay. Fort Bend County’s soil will range from a heavy clay to sandy loam near local creeks and rivers. Soils in Fort Bend are alkaline leaning while in East Texas soils are typically are more acidic. The heavy clay soils we have locally retain moisture for long periods of time which can make it easier to over water or “drown” a tree.

Leaf Size & Structure

Aesthetic appeal falls more into personal preference than into scientific selection. Every tree has its own characteristics, and there is always a tree that aesthetically fits a site better than another. Big leaves, small leaves, fall color, evergreen, deciduous, flowering, symmetrical branching, natural structure, and leaf color are some of the important factors to consider for the best look for your garden.

Flowering Trees

Flowering trees serve a dual purpose. While providing beautiful color while blooming, they can also provide accent and shade. There are many different flowering trees that bloom at different times of the year for differing periods of time.  For instance, some trees will bloom in the summer while others will bloom early spring, and the period of time they may be blooming could range between a week to several months. The time of year you'd like your tree to bloom is an important consideration when selecting a tree to compliment your landscape.

Evergreen or Deciduous

Evergreen trees provide a great look during the bleak winter time months and also provide shade year around. Deciduous trees, on the other hand, will provide shade during the summer months while being able to allow sun to warm your home or yard during the winter months. Understanding whether you need an evergreen or deciduous tree is another important decision to determine what's best for you.

Fall Color

Though fall color is not as pronounced in the South as it is in the North East, there are a few trees that are fairly dependable for fall color. Yellow Tree Hibiscus, Japanese Maples, Shummard Oaks, Cypress, and Golden Rain Trees are a few examples of trees that can provide your landscape with beautiful fall color.

Growth Rates

Growth rates of trees vary greatly. Typically, the faster a tree grows the shorter its lifespan. Having a plan and mixing the species is probably your safest bet to achieve a great looking and effective landscape that will last for years to come.

The following tree species are suited to our Fort Bend County environment.

Deciduous Trees

Trees that lose their leaves seasonally, usually in winter.

  • Red Oak

  • Water Oak

  • Burr Oak

  • Green ash

  • Chinese Elms

  • Cedar Elms

  • Bald Cypress

  • Pond Cypress

  • Crape Myrtle

  • Red Bud

  • Pecan

  • Chinese Pistache

  • Drummond Red Maple

  • Bradford Pear

  • Saucer Magnolia

Evergreen Trees

Trees that keep their green foliage year-round.

  • Live Oak

  • Holly Trees

  • Pine Tree

  • Ligustrum Tree

  • Juniper Tree

  • Wax Myrtle

  • Bottle Brush

  • Magnolia

Flowering Trees

Trees that flower seasonally.

  • Texas Olive

  • Bradford Pear

  • Crape Myrtle

  • Magnolia

  • Red Bud

  • Bottle Brush

Written by Danny Lenderman | Edited by Sebastien Serimontrikul