Landscaping with Native Trees in Northwest Houston: A Homeowner's Guide

trees in blossom

Houston is home to a wide variety of native trees and plants. These can be used to create a beautiful landscape design and draw wildlife and pollinators to your yard. Opting for these iconic trees can make a good mix of native and non-native vegetation for your home's landscaping.

This article covers everything you need to know about using native trees to enhance your property's landscaping. Read on to learn more about the available tree options, planting and care tips, and the benefits of choosing native trees.

Introduction to Native Trees of Northwest Houston

There are many different native tree species in Northwest Houston. White Ash and Loblolly Pine are two of the most popular options. Other native tree species in this part of the country include the Cedar Red Elm, Texas RedBud, Honey Mesquite, Texas Olive, Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly, Eastern Redbud tree, and more.

In addition to being well-adapted to the local environment, native trees come with a long list of other benefits. For starters, these trees do not require a lot of water or fertilizer, making them a low-maintenance plant option. Secondly, they provide food and shelter to local wildlife. Furthermore, mature trees require minimal care.

Key Benefits of Using Native Trees in Landscaping

Here are some of the top reasons to add a native tree or two to your landscaping.

  • Higher Survival Chances: Since they are accustomed to the local environment, native trees are better equipped to handle the soaring temperatures of Houston's harsh summers and the subsequent cold winters.

  • Saving Water: Native trees have adapted well to the conditions of the regions in which they grow. The drought-tolerant varieties native to the Houston area can do well without regular watering – translating into significant water savings.

  • Minimal Fertilizer Needs: As a low-maintenance option, these drought-resistant trees have adapted well to the area's soil conditions. You can be sure that the black clay soils of Houston have all the necessary nutrients that these trees need to thrive. This significantly reduces their fertilizer requirements.

  • Non-Invasive: Looking for a tree that won't take over your yard by way of unchecked growth? You can't go wrong with a native option. Most native plants have a natural way of regulating their growth.

  • Feeding Local Wildlife: Native trees provide shelter and food to local wildlife. Many small mammals, insects, and birds rely on these trees for survival.

  • Aesthetically Appealing: These trees can also add a unique sense of beauty to your property. For instance, it is hard to match the impressive beauty of Southern Magnolia trees in late spring right through to summer.

Popular Native Trees for Northwest Houston Yards

Some of the native tree species found in this region include:

  • Cedar Red Elm: Known for its ability to withstand poor soil conditions and drought, this North American native tree has been gaining popularity across the state of Texas. This rugged-looking shade tree is a low-maintenance option – that only requires pruning now and then for purposes of tidiness.

  • Live Oak: These majestic trees are known for their expansive canopies, which provide some much-needed shade against the Houston heat. This excellent shade tree has a short trunk and typically grows to a height of about 50 feet.

  • Texas Olive: Growing to a height of 15 feet – with a similarly sized spread – these native trees grow fast and have big, everblooming white flowers. On top of being drought-tolerant, these excellent trees also produce purple-colored fruit that acts as food for local wildlife.

  • Pride of Houston Yaupon Holly: This is an improved version of the native evergreen tree Yaupon. These small trees usually have one or more trunks. They are perfect for smaller spaces – and normally grow to be 12 to 25 feet tall. In winter, the females produce appealing red berries that are consumed by local wildlife.

  • Shumard Red Oak: Growing to a height of over 100 feet, this beautiful tree is exactly what you need to make your yard stand out. The tree's long, bristle, lobed leaves (which are highly recognizable) normally turn to an eye-catching shade of scarlet in fall. Its large acorns act as food for small mammals like deer and squirrels.

Planting Tips for Native Trees

Once you have chosen your preferred native tree, you can move on to planting. For the best results, be sure to follow the tips below when planting native trees:

The best time to plant a new tree in Houston is November. This allows for the proper development of roots before the first frost. By the time the harsh summer rolls by, the roots will also have had enough time to grow.

Make sure that you choose the right spot for the new tree. There should be enough space to accommodate the tree when it's fully grown. The area should have good drainage and be free of weeds.

Dig a hole two or three times the size of the young tree's root ball. This encourages healthy root growth. For proper placement, make sure that the root ball is just above or level with the soil surface when planting.

The newly planted tree should be watered immediately. It would be best to consider applying a layer of mulch to protect the roots from temperature extremes and conserve moisture.

Caring for Your Native Trees

Native trees are low maintenance. However, to keep your tree healthy and looking good, it is important to conduct some basic tree care activities.


It is recommended that you water your young native tree regularly for the first year—this should cover the period through spring and summer. Established or mature trees should be able to draw all the water they need from the surrounding ground. Watering should only be considered during abnormally hot or drought periods.


Native trees should be able to get all the nutrients they need from the soil. As such, fertilizers may not be necessary. However, it makes sense to apply organic mulch around the base of your tree – especially during the early years of growth. Consider using a good garden compost or well-rotted manure as mulch.


Native trees do not require much pruning. Therefore, you can ensure that your tree remains healthy by removing congested, diseased, or dead branches.

Integrating Native Trees into Your Overall Landscape

You can create a drought-tolerant landscape with the help of native trees. These low-maintenance landscape plants can be used to provide shade, enhance privacy, and create focal points.

Consider creating different landscapes, like prairies and woodlands, with these native additions. Alternatively, you can come up with a unique mixture of native trees and non-native plants – provided that they are non-invasive and work well together.

Grouping native trees with native plants can help you create a more cohesive and natural look. To achieve some level of drama or harmony, consider choosing a tree with a color that contrasts or complements other components of the landscape. You can also introduce seasonal surprises and changes to your yard by selecting a tree that blooms at a different time.

Get Professional Advice and Services

You can't go wrong with native trees – especially if you want to create a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape. If you are ready to start, contact Monster Tree of Northwest Houston to talk to a seasoned and knowledgeable tree care expert or request an estimate.