How to Landscape with Trees in Fort Worth

Tree-lined entrance of the Kimbell Art Museum

Your yard is your canvas. But, instead of paints to design your scene, you use landscape trees to add texture, shape, and bursts of color.

Beautifying your curb appeal, though, is just the beginning. These towering plants can also define your outdoor spaces, slow stormwater runoff, and provide shade, among other benefits.

Let’s take a look at the best small trees and best large trees to use in your Panther City landscaping.

5 Ways to Landscape with Trees in Fort Worth

1. Define an outdoor space

Line your Fort Worth driveway or establish a front yard focal point with ornamental trees. Or create an outdoor oasis with privacy trees in your garden design. The possibilities abound.

Ornamental trees to try include:

  • Mexican plum trees
  • Crepe myrtles
  • Texas redbud trees
  • Yaupon holly
  • Goldenball leadtree
  • Lacey oak
  • Desert willow
  • Hawthorne tree
  • Cherry laurel
  • River birch trees

The best trees for privacy are:

  • Eastern red cedars
  • Pinyon pines
  • Ashe junipers
  • “Little gem” magnolia trees
  • Loblolly pines
  • Bald cypress trees

2. Lessen the effects of flash flooding

Stormwater runoff resulting from more frequent flash floods is a problem in North Texas, and recently, Fort Worth developed a plan including increasing the tree canopy to 30% coverage. 

You, too, can take control of the effects of flash flooding on your property by planting trees. You can even coordinate with other people in your neighborhood to request free trees to plant in the street parkway.

How do trees help mitigate stormwater runoff? In conjunction with other solutions, trees draw moisture from the soil using evapotranspiration (the process of turning water into vapor and releasing that vapor back into the air); leaves, branches, and bark catch and store rainfall before it reaches the ground; canopies reduce erosion; and roots can help minimize water overflow on land.

The best trees for managing stormwater runoff, according to the Integrated Stormwater Management Program for Construction and Development Program, include:

  • Box elders
  • Red maple trees
  • American sycamores
  • Eastern cottonwoods
  • Black willows
  • Bald cypress trees
  • American elms
  • Roughleaf dogwood trees
  • Common persimmons
  • Green ash trees
  • Sweetgum trees
  • Overcup oaks

3. Shade outdoor and indoor living spaces

Spending time with nature contributes to a host of health benefits — both mental and physical. Just the sight of trees helps reduce stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, allows us to breathe easier, and may even benefit our immune system.

But the sweltering heat of a Texas summer can deter people from enjoying the open air. Adding shade trees to your landscape design can change that by lowering area temperatures up to 6 degrees. Besides cooling outdoor spaces, shade trees can also work with summer breezes to cool the inside of your home, lowering energy bills up to 50%.

Deciduous trees planted on the south side of your home will block up to 90% of the sun during summer, and when the leaves drop in autumn, they’ll allow light to filter through and warm up your home naturally. Evergreen trees, including conifers, will provide shade all year long. Take a look at the following examples of both types of shade trees:

  • Texas red oak
  • Eastern red cedar
  • Bigtooth maple tree
  • Sawtooth oak
  • Goldenrain tree
  • Eldarica pine
  • Drummond red maple
  • Green ash tree
  • Cedar elm
  • Southern magnolia tree
  • Pecan tree
  • Ginkgo tree
  • Texas buckeye
  • Chinese pistache

4. Harvest homegrown fruits and nuts

What’s more satisfying than watching something you’ve planted grow up well? Being able to literally enjoy the fruits (or nuts) of your labor. In addition to the state tree, the pecan tree, check out these fruit trees recommended for Texas:

  • Crabapple trees
  • Texas persimmons
  • Apple trees
  • Pear trees
  • Peach trees
  • Apricot trees
  • Fig trees
  • Plum trees

5. Plant the right tree in the right place

While determining which trees to incorporate into your landscape design, keep the following in mind, as these considerations will give your trees the best chances of good health and long life:

  • Plant hardiness zone
  • Appropriate planting location
  • Full sun or shade needs
  • Height and spread of mature trees
  • Soil type and water access

For your front yard, plant small, ornamental trees. This way, you won’t have to worry about their canopies conflicting with powerlines. The front yard is also the perfect spot for establishing a specimen tree as a focal point — a flowering tree, such as the Southern magnolia. Windbreaks and privacy trees work well in the backyard.

Landscaping with Trees in Fort Worth: Other Things to Know

What are the best landscape trees to grow in Fort Worth?

  • Crepe myrtles (lagerstroemia indica)
  • Texas redbud trees (cercis canadensis)
  • Eastern red cedars (juniperus virginiana)
  • Southern magnolia trees (magnolia grandiflora)
  • Dogwood trees (cornus florida)
  • Crabapple trees (malus)
  • Elm trees (ulmus)
  • Maple trees (acer)
  • And these, too.

What are the fastest-growing shade trees for this area?

  • Netleaf white oak
  • Shumard oak
  • Texas ash
  • American sycamore
  • American elm

What trees give off the best fall color?

  • Crepe myrtles
  • Chinese pistache
  • Japanese maple trees
  • Ginkgo trees
  • Shantung maples

When to Call a Fort Worth Landscaping Pro

DIY tree planting involves more than simply purchasing the plant at your local garden center, digging a hole, and putting the tree in it. 

You’ve also got to plant during the right season (fall, in the case of Fort Worth), dig a hole that’s not too deep, locate underground utilities, apply the appropriate amount of mulch, and understand which type of tree — potted, burlapped, or bare root — is best for you.

A landscape architect can help with each of those things. And, even after your beautiful trees are planted, these pros can stay on to help with their continued care.
Main Photo Credit: Tree-lined entrance of the Kimbell Art Museum by Kent Wang / CC BY-SA 2.0

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler

Descendant of the Fulani tribe, Gettysburg-obsessed Marine Corps brat, and lover of all things writing and editing, Andréa Butler launched Sesi magazine and has penned articles for sites, such as LivingSocial, Talbot Digital, Xickle, Culturs magazine, and Rachel Ray. Andréa holds a B.A. in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and an M.A. in magazine journalism from Kent State University.