2018 North Texas Conference

2018 North Texas Conference

This year’s North Central Texas Urban Forestry Conference focused on Diversity. The expert presenters gave us new ways to look at structural soil and root zone protection, storm water management, pest analysis and management, and a look at exciting tree species choices. This conference marked the first time the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council partnered with the North East Texas Nursery Growers Association, which allowed attendees to access the trade show conveniently.

The first presenter was Dr. Kelby Fite and he gave us a review of soil studies by Bartlett. Among many topics he explained the rapid soil improving effect of fine roots, which are able to add organic matter into depths of the soil. Also, the use of high quality, smaller planting stock in areas with limited soil space may allow a longer timeframe before rooting space becomes an issue. He later discussed the importance of not only selecting high quality trees, but techniques to improve long term root structure. He was followed by Dr. Fouad Jaber’s discussion of storm water management utilizing trees, bioswales, and bioretention areas. Some advances in storm water management include the use of green roofs, even in downtown Dallas where a highway overpass is now a park with trees in spite of the fact that much of the soil is no more than a few inches thick. Trees have potential to control erosion with roots while also uptaking water and reducing the burden on public storm water control. A very interesting point he made concerned the use of bioretention in everyday settings such as home yards. By simply creating depressed areas in the soil, “bonus” water can retained and absorbed into the soil. Features and designs like these serve an important role in slowing water, forcing soil absorption, and stopping pollutants from flowing to rivers and harming crucial water bodies.

If you give trees large quantities of uncompacted soil, things work out pretty well.  -Dr. Kelby Fite

One of the presenters, Dr. David Creech, was unfortunately unable to attend. However, the Director of Peckerwood Gardens was able to take over the presentation on new and diverse tree species that could be planted in Texas. We thank Adam Black for being able to make it on short notice. Dr. Mike Merchant and Dr. Kevin Ong were the final presenters covering current urban forestry pest issues and methodology for identifying those pests, respectively. Crape myrtle bark scale is a relatively new pest to North Texas, but there are successful chemical control methods which were discussed. The future of ash trees in Texas is unfortunately less certain due to devastating impact of EAB; however, there are methods for saving trees and lessening the impact of a pest that will almost certainly continue to spread throughout the U.S. The good news is that Texas has only about 2% ash trees and there are successful treatments for saving individual trees. Dr. Ong discussed the logic behind identifying patterns and issues with pests in trees that may not always be clearly and easily determined.
Presentations

Click here for Adam Black’s presentation on Diversifying Tree Choices

Click here for Dr. Kevin Ong’s presentation on Landscape Problems

Click here for Dr. Mike Merchant’s presentation on Emerging Pests

We also want to thank all of our sponsors not only for supporting the conference, but also for attending the presentations. Our 2018 sponsors were Southwest Wholesale Nursery, Environmental Design & Davey, Arbor Masters, Minick Materials, Site One Landscape Supply, BWI, Arbor Stakes, and ISA Texas. We hope to continue to provide education beneficial to all in our industry.

There were over 200 participants and the conference was completely sold out, so we thank you for making this conference a success and we will strive to make next year’s conference even better. The presentation room was comfortable, and the weather was exceptional if you had a chance to walk along the water out front. We hope that the change in venue was a positive experience overall and we hope to offer more advantages to our attendees in the future. If you would like to participate in the planning of the 2019 conference, please contact Laura Miller.

Post Oak in the Cross Timbers

Post Oak in the Cross Timbers

The Post Oak’s “Roll” in the Cross Timbers Region

By Melinda Adams The post oak got its name from early settlers who commonly used the decay resistant wood for fence posts. Post oak takes several forms though out its range but the tree we are most familiar with is an upright majestic shade tree. Its twisted and knarled branches make it one of the most prominent deciduous trees in the winter landscape. Post oak leaves are five lobed and somewhat resemble a crucifix. They are among the last trees to leaf out in the spring and one of the earliest to stop growing, which contribute to their slow growth rate. The average post oak takes more than ten years to grow 2” in trunk diameter. However, it becomes a dominant species on poor sites due to its drought resistance. The cross timbers consisted of upland forests of drought resistant, slow growing trees, that cut through sections of the prairie from Central Texas, Oklahoma and into southern Kansas. Fort Worth is flanked with the Eastern and the Western Cross Timbers. The drought resistant post oak is a dominant species in both, but in the more arid sandier Western Cross Timbers they are closer together, smaller and slower growing. Reportedly, the post oak will not begin to bear acorns until it is about 25 years old. Though acorn production is sparser than other oaks, they are more important to wildlife because they are higher in fatty acids. The University of Arkansas Tree-Ring Laboratory has been conducting research in the Cross Timbers for over thirty years. They have found thousands of post oaks between 200 and 400 years old in all three states. The oldest are usually found on sandy soils or on steep rocky terrain. The height of the post oak is rarely over 100’, or greater than 48” in diameter and the largest recorded post oak is 117’ tall and 52” in diameter. However, in its extreme southern range it often takes the form of a small tree seldom taller than 40 feet. The oldest post oak ever documented in the cross timbers is over 400 years old, but is only 20 feet tall.

A large post oak tree

Post Oak

The gently rolling native grasses of the Fort Worth Prairie once stood between the two Cross Timbers. Settlers wrote of stark transitions from the prairies to the forests, describing them as “walls of woods”. Post oaks invaded the Fort Worth Prairie about the same time we did. Through the suppression of fire, agriculture, and ranching, the abrupt transition has been blurred by an invasion of woody species into the grassland. Many groups of post oaks and black jack oaks grow in Fort Worth where there was once only prairie or savanna. As the oaks matured, their canopies closed and they shaded out the native grasses reducing the fire fuel load. Post oak may have been well suited to survive the rigors of the Cross Timbers or an effective opportunist at invading the prairie. However, it has not faired as well in modern urban developments. Post oak cannot tolerate root disturbance. The tree grows so slowly it is unable to heal torn and ripped roots before they decay. Many post oaks die in patches without apparent cause. Dr. Dave Appel, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University, has conducted some interesting studies on post oak decline. He discovered that much had to do with the depth to hardpan. Hardpan is an underground impermeable layer that is associated with water table depth. Since Cross Timbers post oaks grow under arid conditions in well-drained soils, trees over shallower hardpans have water that is more available during prolonged droughts. Trees less than a few hundred feet away that have a deeper hardpan may not be able to survive. Dr. Appel also found just the opposite was true in urban areas. Post oak is one of the least tolerant species to flooding. Post oaks over shallower hardpans will be more susceptible to over watering than those over deeper hardpans. A new water loving homeowner, a new irrigation system, or a recent change in drainage patterns can be enough to tip the scale. Post oak death due to over watering will have similar symptoms of trees with other types of root damage. Tips of branches will die back causing an abundance of epical sprouting (sprouting of small twigs along trunk and/or major limbs). Trees with root damage often take several years to die. As the tree consumes its starch reserve, it will produce fewer and smaller leafs while branches will continue to die back. As the tree uses up the last of its energy reserve, death can appear to happen suddenly after a flush of growth in the spring or acorn production in the fall.

Post oak trees in a park

Post oaks provide shade and a view of the past

You are fortunate indeed if you have a post oak in your yard. Because of their slow growth rate and their difficulty surviving transplanting you will never find one at a nursery. Your tree successfully took hold in the arid grassland or cross timbers and grew slowly and steadily. It was one of the lucky few that survived construction and it provides an abundance of shade for you and food for urban wildlife. If you are lucky enough to have a post oak under your care, like a cactus, it will be healthier if you simply ignore it. Don’t over prune it or feed it, and avoid putting flowerbeds or driveways under the canopy where you will disturb its roots. Just enjoy its beauty and its shade. When your neighbor’s exotic imported trees are wilting in the hot Texas sun, you’ll be as happy as your post oak with your reduced water and electric bill.

Citizen Foresters Plant Trees in Arlington

Citizen Foresters Plant Trees in Arlington

Citizen Foresters help with tree planting - Meadowmere Park

Citizen Foresters and Master Gardeners plant 16 trees in Arlington

The morning of Friday, December 15, 2017, three Citizen Foresters and several other volunteers from the Master Gardeners program planted 16 trees in Arlington. The species planted were cedar elm, bur oak, bald cypress, desert willow, and Mexican plum. Although the morning began with chilly weather, volunteers worked tirelessly, and soon the sun rose over the treetops onto four trees that had already been planted. Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers and the forestry staff, all 16 trees were planted by 10 a.m. The event was coordinated between the City of Arlington, Citizen Foresters, and Master Gardeners with the help of local resident Juliet Bran.

A City of Arlington employee provides a naturally fun smile during the tree planting event

The Parks and Recreation Department’s Forestry and Beautification staff assisted with the planting.

The trees were planted on the median of Shorewood Drive near Bowman Springs Park in Arlington. This street had only a few existing post oak and cedar elm, but will now be able to grow to provide a full tree canopy and beautify this residential street.

Texas Persimmon Tree

Texas Persimmon Tree

Unique Trees of North Texas:

 

Texas Persimmon

 

(Diospyros texana)

Texas persimmon in winter

Texas persimmon in winter

By David Coke and Gene Gehring

The Texas persimmon (aka Mexican persimmon, black persimmon, or Chapote Negro) is not to be confused with common persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) which has larger fruit, a single stem, and is taller with rougher bark. Texas persimmon looks more like crapemyrtle when older, and is usually multi-stemmed with smooth bark.

 

This tree’s range is primarily in the southern half of Texas and into Mexico, particularly southwest of the Colorado River. Its native range does not extend into the upper Gulf Coast, north Texas, or far west Texas. It likes dry, rocky areas and doesn’t like “wet feet”. Planting in a yard that gets regular watering can make for an unhappy Texas Persimmon; however, this native understory tree is able to withstand some shading from larger canopy trees. Texas persimmon has been successfully planted in North Texas and can live 30 to 50 years when conditions are right.

 

It can grow to 35 ft, but is typically about 10 ft high. It has a rounded crown and a smooth, gray bark. As the tree ages, the bark will start to peel away from the trunk and reveal lighter colors underneath. It is a deciduous tree but can be evergreen in its southern areas. It has 1” to 2” oval to oblong leaves which are leathery, fuzzy underneath, and curled over on the edges. They are dioecious (separate male and female plants) and since the species is not common in the area, both sexes would need to be planted to produce fruit. They flower starting in March or April and have small white flowers. That is followed by a small, black fruit which is about ¾” and is edible when ripe. It has lots of little seeds though making that difficult. The fruit it typically ripe in August. It is also used to make a black hair dye or dying leather. Be careful, it can stain the skin black as well. The fruit is enjoyed by a wide range of birds and mammals. Its tough, dark heart wood was used for tool handles.

 

The national and state champion Texas persimmon tree is located in Ulvalde County. That individual is 26 ft tall, has a 22 in diameter, and shades an area 31 ft across.

North Texas Giving Day 2017

North Texas Giving Day 2017

Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council is proud to be a part of North Texas Giving Day.

North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event for people in North Texas to come together and raise as much money as possible for local nonprofits in the 16 county region around DFW. In just six years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $156 million into the North Texas community. In 2016, more than 142,000 gifts totaling $37 million benefited 2,518 nonprofits.

From now until September 14, we want to spread news of this amazing event. We encourage everyone to brag about the great programs CTUFC provides our communities. We encourage all our members to donate and share our event information. If able to donate, know that a donation of $25 is able to receive additional funding. Here’s the really exciting part: Every gift made through North Texas Giving Day.org on September 14th helps our chances of winning prizes given throughout the day ranging from $500 to $5,000!

Our logo is a strong young post oak sprouting from an acorn surrounded and nurtured by the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council.  It represents the great things that can grow from humble beginnings when given the proper support.  Your contribution goes a long way in supporting that growth.

Our current objectives are: * Continue providing up to date, science based information to tree care professionals at an affordable annual conference * Support volunteer education and outreach through the Citizen Forester program * Fund the Mayfest Tree giveaway and * Develop community tree planting projects through partnership with local organizations * Expand our capabilities by hiring our first employee; a part time Executive Director.
With past donations, CTUFC.org, has got a face lift allowing us to  continue to nurture urban forestry programs and an awareness of our natural resources.  The museum quality eco-history traveling exhibit, “The Cross Timbers a Natural Wonder”, has spread even farther across communities, reaching visitors in schools, libraries and city halls.  The exhibit fosters an appreciation of the natural and cultural history of the Cross Timbers region.
CTUFC will once again be able to cultivate sound urban forestry practices by cohosting one of the least expensive yet highest quality workshops in the State, the North Central Texas Urban Forestry Workshop.  Local municipal foresters will grow stronger by attending workshops paid for by the Council.
College students of urban forestry at Stephen F. Austin State and Texas A&M will receive scholarships to diminish the burden of escalating education costs. All of this will be due to your support.  Your contribution will help us spread the roots of sound urban forestry throughout our 17 county region.  We appreciate your involvement and have hopes that you are able to glean all the benefits of a healthy urban forest for many years to come.  Thanks to your contribution, we can make it happen.

 

Or go to https://northtexasgivingday.org/ and search Cross Timbers Urban Forest Council.
Anacacho Orchid Tree

Anacacho Orchid Tree

Unique Trees of North Texas:  Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides)

The Anacacho Orchid Tree is a unique tree not seen often in the North Texas area. It is a small tree in the Fabaceae family which grows to approximately 15 feet tall. It is reportedly native to only a few canyons in western central Texas and in adjacent northeastern Mexico. It generally grows in a bush form but can be trained into a single-trunk tree. The leaves are bi-lobed almost like a small split Red Bud leaf or a cow hoof shape. The one pictured blooms bright white clusters of flowers in the spring and then forms flattened seed pods much like a Red Bud tree. There is also a Mexican Bauhinia that blooms light pink clusters of flowers.

The Anacacho Orchid Tree can grow in full sun or as an understory specimen. It is very drought tolerant, requires good drainage, and will tolerate different soil types other than the typical limestone soils of where it is native. North of Austin it will freeze during heavy winters but since it grows so rapidly it forms a new tree in less than a growing season.

If you might like to try growing an Anacacho Orchid Tree it is best that it be planted on the south side of your home or where it is shielded from the north and west winter weather.

Crosstimbers Annual Meeting

Crosstimbers Annual Meeting

Loyd Park, Grand Prairie

September 22, 2017

11 AM

 

Make plans to join us for our annual membership meeting.  Everyone is invited to have lunch, review the year that was and vote on a new Executive Committee.   After the business meeting, you can enjoy the hiking trails, rent a kayak or canoe, or make an evening of it by reserving a cabin or campsite.  Loyd Park is located on the western shore of Joe Pool Lake in south Grand Prairie. Admission if free just say you are with Cross Timbers, everyone will meet in Loyd Lodge.  Click on the map for more information about Loyd Park.

Let us know you are coming by registering on Eventbrite

North Texas Giving Day

North Texas Giving Day

Please Support Us!

Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council

To promote programs in the region to increase interest in urban and community forestry

Our current objectives are: • Continue providing up to date, science based information to tree care professionals at an affordable annual conference • Support volunteer education and outreach through the Citizen Forester program • Fund the Mayfest Tree giveaway and • Develop community tree planting projects through partnership with local organizations • Expand our capabilities by hiring our first employee; a part time Executive Director.
2018 Tree Conference

2018 Tree Conference

Just Announced 

2018 Urban Forestry Conference

February 1, 2018

Arlington Convention Center
1200 Ballpark Way
Arlington, TX. 76011

 The Crosstimbers Urban Forestry Council and Trinity Blacklands Urban Forestry Council are teaming up with North Texas Nursery Growers for the 2018 conference.  This collaboration will allow attendees to continue to have the top notch class that everyone is accustomed to and access to North Texas Nursery Growers trade show.  More information coming soon.