10 Thoughts on Texas’s Trees

You might enjoy this article, by a landscape architect I’ve heard speak on relevant tree topics, Peter MacDonagh –


He’s from Minnesota, yet he notes the importance of integrating water harvesting into plantings. He gets how much water we let or even make drain away from our Texas landscapes, not to mention so much of the arid desert southwest.

Desert Willow / Chilopsis linearis, with my former Honda for scale…in a place that was formerly in Texas (E of the Rio Grande)

My favorite line of his (no offense to the conscious engineers out there): “when arborists or LAs show up at a meeting and recommend green infrastructure, we need to use every calculation, fact and figure. When an engineer shows up at that meeting, all they have to do is shoot from the hip. It’s an engineer’s world, so don’t forget that.”

I think I’ve been to those kind of meetings!


2 Replies to “10 Thoughts on Texas’s Trees”

  1. So many cities are discovering storm water as a resource with the recent drought which was tough on trees. I read that Los Angeles is considering rerouting some of those concrete channels they’ve been using for decades to send storm water out to sea. TCEQ is working with cities to crack down on residential polluters (streets, yards) to clean up storm water runoff.

    Is it possible to work with your city to change some of those onerous requirements?

    That is a good thing, and I think LA is a prime example…I saw something like that in Santa Monica recently.

    I don’t think they will listen to moderation, and when I talked to the head planner here, she completely glazed over. They are on some mis-guided agenda and don’t even involve our forester or ag agents. After seeing the same in Abq, I’ve decided to give up, as it will just be fighting a losing battle.

    The city manager here is now issuing a mandate to plant 4″ or 6″ caliper trees on all city projects…they haven’t a clue. I’m currently finishing up my last park project I will ever do here, because of a poorly contrived code and indescribable review process and stress / timeline pressures.


  2. The article was fascinating and I won’t spoil the fun, but if you ever wondered how the Alamo got its name? Do check it out.

    I’ve been known to complain about the oak trees on our property, especially this time of year when they try to kill me with pollen poisoning. That said, we recently experienced a significant hail storm and my car was parked out under large oak trees. It was completely protected. All the plants I chafed about not getting enough sun were also protected to great extent by the large overhanging boughs. Perspective, grasshopper!

    Those are some benefits, too…trees also absorb the impact of heavy rain events and lessen erosion. I knew alamo meant cottonwood, thought I had no idea there were cottonwoods at the Alamo anymore until that article…duh, it’s near the river!

    The flip-side is where there are few trees, and local codes require us LAs to plant way too many…quantity over quality. Their codes are without regard to over-crowding, culture, pruning, root damage, growing other plants and infrastructure / irrigation, water use, transplant shock of larger sizes, or availability. And El Paso is hell bent to screw up in each of those items, not just a few.


Comments are closed.