What is a Good Fast Growing Shade Tree for Austin and Central Texas? – Red Oak

19 thoughts on “What is a Good Fast Growing Shade Tree for Austin and Central Texas? – Red Oak”

  1. You recommend Red Oak as the best fast growing shade tree for Austin. I thought it was highly suseptible to Oak Wilt due to its production of fungal mats and harboring the beetle that spreads the disease>

    1. Red oaks are the only variety of oaks that can produce the fungal mat, however, that occurrence is VERY rare. You are more likely to be struck by lightening three times in a row on clear day than to have that happen. The vast majority of oak wilt spreads underground through interconnected root systems. Also, I don’t like making decisions of what trees to plant based on one fairly uncommon tree disease. Red oaks are great trees for the area and oak wilt is not even in the top 10 most prevalent tree disorders I run into. There are many more other problems that are more likely to make your tree planting go bad. Focusing on oak wilt is the wrong focus.

      1. We moved to our area a year ago and have a lot of dead trees. The leaves don’t look like Oak Wilt and the bark splits off the trees like we’ve heard drought affects the trees. Would you still suggest Shumard Oak with what I have mentioned. This was also a vacant house for several months.

  2. Which red oak would you be referring to? Is this the Shumard Oak or the Texas Red Oak? Any big difference between the two?

    1. I believe the tree that the author is referring to is the Northern Red oak, which is a great tree. But for Texas you would probably be better off with the Shumard Oak, since it appears to be a little more drought tolerant than the Northern Red oak.

      1. You should never plant a Northern red oak in Austin. That’s asking for trouble. I was referring to Shumard, spanish or Southern Red.

    2. There is very little difference between the varieties of red oaks, visually. Shumard or southern red are probably the best bets.

  3. I have to disagree with your theory that the Red Oak is the best shade tree for Austin, TX. The Shumard oak (which technically is part of the Red Oak family) would be a much better choice.
    But my pick would either be the Chinkapin Oak or the Chinese Pistache (‘Keith Davey’ cultivar only.) These two trees are both listed as Texas Superstars for their proven performance in the harshest climates of Texas.
    http://texassuperstar.com/plants/index.html

    1. I don’t really think of the Chinese Pistache in the same light that I do oaks and other large hardwoods. In Austin, pistache typically don’t get bigger than about 25′ tall and don’t live much longer than 30 years or so. I LOVE chinquapins. However, I always tag on the disclaimer that they are not native to the Austin area and they have only been popular for about 10 years or so. They have not yet passed the test of time. Same thing for the Monterrey oaks. I also like Mexican sycamore, bur oak, cedar elms, Arizona cypress…

      1. Any idea where I can see mature sized Chikapins in Austin? Yeah, most of the ones I have seen in the area are relevantly small. I most see Cedars, Pecans, Live Oaks, Bradfords, Red Oaks, Southen Magnolias, and Catalpa trees (I think thats the name it has white flowers and heart shaped leaves) in Austin mature size

  4. I would like to plant a Southern red. Oak in my yard. What is the best size to start ? What time of the year should I plant? I live in Baytown, TX. Thanks for the information,

    1. Fall/winter is best time to plant. Size of tree is in direct relation to your patients and budget. Assuming everything is done correctly, size is not much of a survivability factor. However, I prefer balled and but lapped trees over container grown; b-n-b is generally not available in small trees.

  5. We had a beautiful Post Oak in the back yard of our 50+ year old home here in Houston that came tumbling down in December ! We would like to replace it with either 2 more ornamental trees that still provide shade (Japanese Blueberry ?) or 1 large tree. This tree is to be planted next to our pool so no dropping leaves of any kind or roots that can be destructive either !! Any suggestions ???

    1. Houston is so different than Austin I really hesitate to make a recommendation. For large trees that are “less” messy, I like cedar elms.

    2. I live in West Tx. (Abilene) and we planted a Shumard Red Oak about 4yrs ago and I’ve read that this is suppose to be a fast growing tree. I dont see much difference in it now than 4 yrs ago. Any information / suggestions that I can do to help it?

  6. My red oak seems to have holes in it (beetles) and the leaves are yellowish-green. Is this fatal?

  7. I bought a property out on canyon lake. There is a lot of cedar and a few spindly oak trees on the empty lot next to mine. The previous owners cleared every single tree from my property and planted a single crepe myrtle which is nearly as tall as the house and has white blooms. I desperately need shade. I was going to purchase large trees (spend a little more, have them professionally planted) in the 10-15 foot range (3 year olds?). Would pecan be a good choice? I have seen other pecan’s out in the hill country, but not sure if they would survive the northwest side of Canyon lake. Advice on shading my new lake house (also my residence).

  8. Can you sale and plant 35 gallon or 45 gallon Shumard red oak in my backyard? How much for each size what kind of tree can be on either side of it to make a barrier to houses that you do not want to see from a patio in the backyard?

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