The Great TX Tree Experiment Part 2

mattm01(8b)March 25, 2014

Thought I'd break this out into another post. Well, the trees made it through a WILD winter here in Cen Texas. In San Antonio the "norm" was wild swings in temps all winter long. One day it was mild and then the next front would push in and we'd have lows in the teens. I believe the lowest I got this winter was 14deg and I did remain below freezing for a few days in a row. We had multiple nights in the mid teens (6?) and plenty of 20s so a colder winter than last if I remember correctly. More trees have been added to the lab. Nearly all are in bags or some sort of root trainer container but those that I had multiples of might end up in regular plastic as well. Nearly everything survived the summer heat. All the oaks were quite content and most thrived down here. The maples were a bit more of mixed bag. Asian maples (save the Fire Dragon) all saw some leaf scorch and the Japanese Maples certainly need late day shade to not roast. We'll see how this year goes as I've changed some locations for better shade. I managed to collect a bunch of local acorns which you'll see in the nursery as well as ordered several California / SW oaks to try out. For now I'll just try and get a bunch of early spring pics up and then fill in details when I can. I've also included the current library list at the end for reference.

Acer palmatum - "Seiryu"

Canby Oaks

Quercus canbyi

Canby Oak

Fresh growth on Acer truncatum

A. truncatum

Acer barbatum is the most obvious here but there's Q. germana as well as some American Smoke Trees and Eucalyptus

The lab is getting big

rysophylla x canbyi - Hybrid Oak

Q. mexicana

budding Q. organensis - Organ Mtn. White Oak

pungens var. vaseyana - Vasey Oak

Vigorous Acer barbatum

Q. greggii - "La Siberia" just starting new growth

Q. guajavifolia

New growth on Q. germana - Mexican Royal Oak

Gambel Oak

Mexican Blue Oak just starting - I may have some new acorns growing as well - Hard to Start!

Quercus crassipes

The acorn lab.

Q. arizonica

Q. agrifolia - Coast Live Oak

Canby (R) and Lacey (L) acorns I collected last fall in my yard or neighborhood woods.

Too many to list here. The obvious ones are Acer skutchii

Acer saccharum - "Oregon Trail" Sugar Maple budding

Red Maple and A. palmatum - "Purple Ghost", A. palmatum - "Shishigashira"

I still have some "wants" but I'm getting close to full now!

Spring 2014 Full Tree List


barbatum - Southern Sugar Maple
buergerianum - Trident Maple
grandidentatum - Bigtooth Maple - TX sourced
grandidentatum - Bigtooth/Canyon Maple - OR sourced
leucoderme - Chalk Maple
palmatum - “Glowing Embers”
palmatum - “Sango Kaku”
palmatum - “Purple Ghost”
palmatum - “Seiryu”
palmatum - “Shishigashira”
rubrum - Red Maple
saccharum - “John Pair” Caddo Sugar Maple
saccharum - “Flashfire” Caddo Sugar Maple
saccharum - "Oregon Trail" Sugar Maple
skutchii - Mexican Sugar Maple
truncatum - Shantung Maple
truncatum - “Fire Dragon” Shantung Maple


coggygria - European Smoke Tree
coggygria - “Old Fashioned” Smoke Tree
obvoatus - American Smoke Tree


microtheca and/ or wandoo - not 100% sure which, Could have both.


texenis - Texas Ash
velutina - “Fan Tex” Arizona Ash


biloba - “Autumn Gold”


cembroides - Mexican Pinyon Pine
eldarica - Afghan Pine


chinensis - Chinese Pistache
chinensis - “Keith Davey” Chinese Pistache


agrifolia - Coast Live Oak
arizonica - Arizona White Oak
buckleyi - Texas Red Oak
canariensis - Algerian Oak
canbyi - Canby Oak
x comptoniae - Compton’s Oak
coccinea - Scarlet Oak
durata - Leather Oak
emoryi - Emory Oak
engelmannii - Cali Mesa Oak
faginea - Portuguese Oak
falcata - Southern Red Oak
fusiformis - Escarpment Live Oak
gambelii - Gambel Oak
germana - Mexican Royal Oak
glaucoides - Lacey Oak
gravesii - Graves or Chisos Red Oak
greggii - "La Siberia"
grisea - Grey Oak
hypoleucoides - Silverleaf Oak
ilex - Holm or Holly Oak
kelloggii - Cali Black Oak
macrocarpa - Bur Oak
mexicana -
mohriana - Mohr Oak
muehlenbergii - Chinkapin Oak
myrsinifolia - Bamboo Leaf Oak
nuttallii - “New Madrid” Nutall Oak
oblongifolia - Mexican Blue Oak
organensis - Organ Mtn. White Oak
pagoda - Cherrybark Oak
polymorpha - Mexican White Oak
pungens var pungens - Sandpaper Oak
pungens var. vaseyana - Vasey Oak
rugosa - Netleaf Oak
rysophylla - Loquat Leaf Oak
rysophylla x ??? - Hybrid Loquat Leaf (HUGE Leaves)
rysophylla x canbyi - Hybrid Oak
sinuata var. breviloba - Bigelow Oak
sinuata var. sinuata - Durand Oak
stellata - Post Oak
turbinella - Turbinella Oak


parvifolia “Allee” Chinese Elm

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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Wow - nice collection!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 3:51PM
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I've gathered 2 things from this update:

1. I am not worthy

2. It is time for you to move to a more rural location and start planting your arboretum.

Congrats, everything is looking good!!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 4:16PM
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gardener365(5b Illinois USA)

Pics thoroughly enjoyed!!!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 6:57PM
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What? .33 acres isn't enough room? Laugh. Yes, at some point many of these will need new homes. I plan on planting a few more in the yard and maybe removing a Live Oak or Texas Red Oak (plenty of those here). Luckily I have a friend who just moved onto acreage about 10 minutes away who's a bit of a tree geek too so I have a home in mind... There's also the possibility of planting them out in the greenbelts around my neighborhood (we're adjacent to a preserved wildness park too - I collect my Lacey Oak acorns in there from HUGE trees)

DAX - I took your advice found on here and acquired several of the Rootrainer flats for the acorns. Very handy. Might upgrade next year to the individual cell models.

I've spent far too much time reading up on the Mexican and SW oaks (hours and hours) and slowly parsed out what I thought would work in Texas. It can get cold here so many of the Mexican Oaks were iffy. I opted to try and find ones from higher elevations or the northern part of Mexico into the Southwestern US. I still have a "want list" if anyone can point me to sources:

Quercus: crassifolia, corrugata, sartorii, undulata, carmenensis, chihuahuensis, depressipes, graciliformis, havardii, hinckleyi, intricata, palmeri, and tardifolia appear like they might work. Then there's the "maybe list".... ha!

I'll continue with the picts as more trees start to leaf out.

This post was edited by mattm01 on Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 20:47

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 8:46PM
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Thanks for the eye candy, Matt!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 8:34PM
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fairfield8619(Zone 8 NW LA)

Man you must be in cold pocket or hole! I see just one day below freezing. Amazing what micro-climates can do.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 1:25AM
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The key will be on your soil type and heat. A few like Q. crassifolia, Q. emoryi, Q. graciliformis, Q. hypoleucoides and Q. rugosa live in cool mountain air. The California oaks also suffer from the humidity. The Asian and eastern oaks more than likely come from acidic soil. The native and Mexican oaks from the mountains from northeast Mexico seem to do best. The eastern Sierras are hot and humid like most of Texas. (but not as humid as y'all further east) Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Regarding the more eastern oaks and Asian Maples (save the Shantung) tried to find species that were closer to neutral soil than really acidic. If reports were strongly in the "prefers acid soil" then I passed. Same for water - They needed to at least be fairly drought tolerant. My soil appears to be "lightly alkaline" and the surveys I've seen indicate ~7.8pH

I live on the far NW side of SA and tend to average several degrees cooler than the city proper. Hoping that helps with the "cooler climate" needs of the higher elevation trees. Most did just fine last year and we hit 108 mid summer!

SA can get some humidity but it's less common than many think. Certainly not Houston! The "Dry Line" plays a dance with San Antonio all summer so we get dry days (lowest was 17% Humidity) and more humid days but certainly not like East TX or the Coast. I leaned towards the "inland" CA oaks as the coastal ones seems a bit to iffy.

It's really all a big "we'll see" and I enjoy that to some extent. If they "Work" - fantastic. If not, I'm out $15 and a few season of water. It's enjoyable to see all the variation while do have them!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2014 at 9:28PM
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ltruett(Zone, 9 Houston)


Nice pictures. Every time I see them it makes me think of my brother's backyard. He is growing a lot of trees and I've been doing the same thing in my back yard for years. I'll add a few that have been growing well so far this spring.

I have a lot of bald cypress trees, bald cypress/montezuma hybrid cuttings, Canby oak, Loquat Oak, Mexican White Oak, and other various trees in this picture.

"Super Dragon" Shantung Maple

Seiryu, two seiryu seedlings, regular JM seedling (front to back)

"Skinny Dragon" shantung maple

red JM seedling

"Fire Dragon" shantung maple seedlings

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 4:38PM
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davidrt28 (zone 7)

Thanks, I enjoyed the pictures of baby plants haha.
FWIW, almost all of the Mexican evergreen oaks at the NCSU arb. looked awful after the recent 20 year freeze, even though it only got down to 7F there. Of course a freeze that bad is far less likely down in San Antonio, you're almost in the tropics. But I think people should know to take the zn 7 rating some of them have with a grain of salt. Q. rysophylla, which I'd ordered from Camforest but switched for something else, might well survive indefinitely in zn 7, but I wouldn't want it if it looked awful at the end of every winter. In some sense I already have a plant in this ambiguous category: Quercus X turneri, which would remain evergreen in a maritime climate, but just turns gray-brown here in late Nov, and then drops its leaves by the middle of winter. A waste of space I'm still debating about whether to keep.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:14PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Very impressive Matt!

Watering during the summer is the hardest part so it requires a lot of patience having to water every day. I see that you got the irrigation system in place so that should help a lot.

Ltruett is my brother. We're always growing all kinds of trees...

Here is 'Super Dragon' Shantung maple that has best spring color of all I've tried.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 9:37PM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Would all these trees, more or less, survive in-ground (after establishment of course) without irrigation in SA?

Just curious.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 10:31PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Wow, nice to see so many baby trees, and great pictures too (what camera do you use Mattm1?).

Methinks somebody(ies) on this thread have a tree addiction.

I have an assortment of trees and shrubs grown from seed here too (1.25 acres). Some were seedlings purchased or otherwise acquired, some were self-sown, some I've started from seed. It's so fascinating to watch them grow and note genetic variations!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 7:19PM
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Laugh - When I saw the Skinny Dragon from ltruett I thought, 'Man, that's a lot like Lou's trees'. My "regular" Shantungs have been "meh" and didn't like the really hot days. The "Fire Dragon" didn't miss a beat. That Skinny Looks great. Metro Maples is on my drive by list if I get up that way - wish I could mail order small ones.

- Hair - Truthfully, I have no idea which would survive on their own. Some of the eastern oaks I have my doubts although I did opt for more drought tolerant ones when I could. I suspect the Mexican and Cali/SW oaks would do fine given how little precip they see naturally. pH tolerance is also an unknown. The drip lines are connected to my 'tree zone' that also provides water to many of my larger landscape trees. I've backed down on the waterings this spring from last (many new 30g landscape trees went that previous fall so they need help the first summer or 3) Lacey, Bigelow, Texas Red and Live all grown naturally in the surrounding woods and it's DRY with little soil. Except for the maples, I tried to get as drought and heat tolerant as I could (caddo fits in here as well) back off on water for the oaks to see how they do.

Most pics are with a Nikon D7000. Some are iPhone when I don't bring out the big gun...

Couple more shots today (iPhone)

Q. organensis

Compton Oak

Acer buergerianum

More growth on Loquat Leaf Oak

Mexican Blue Oak

Turbinella Oak

Chisos Red Oak

Meléndrez Oak - I need to get more info on this one. Seems to be an evergreen version of the Chiso Red or something like that.

ShuWillow Oak - Q. x moultonensis

This post was edited by mattm01 on Wed, Apr 2, 14 at 0:38

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:35AM
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Waiting for those fall colors this year mattmo1. Very nice seedlings!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Pretty impressive that they survived a winter down into the teens still aboveground in their POTS! B)

BTW, how do you post multiple pics in the same post?

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 8:55PM
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georgeinbandonoregon(z9 OR)

have seeds/seedlings of crassifolia, graciflformis, and a number of other oaks---if interested email me "dismalvista(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2014 at 10:20PM
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