Various plants showing their roots on a placard titled "Caring for Your Roots"

North Texas is beautiful, but it can be a challenging environment for perennials like trees and shrubs. Try these tips to help your favorite landscaping features thrive. We’ll also address grass care in North Texas as well.

Caring for Trees and Shrubbery

Let’s address trees and shrubs first.

How to Plant New Trees and Shrubs

Planting trees and shrubbery improves your local environment and boosts your property’s curb appeal. When you live in North Texas, there are a few things you need to consider when adding these plants to your yard. 

Aim to only plant new trees and shrubs when the weather is mild. For North Texas, the best time to plant new trees and shrubs is during the fall. The weather is still warm enough for good root growth while the risk of severe weather giving your new plants a beating is as low as possible.

New trees and shrubs will require more frequent watering than your older ones. This helps the root ball of the plant settle and get established in the soil, encouraging good growth from the bottom up. Begin watering as soon as you get the new tree or shrub in the ground. Then you will want to water them daily for the first two weeks. Move to watering three times a week for the next ten weeks after that. After the first 12 weeks have passed, move to the watering schedule recommended for the specific tree or shrub. This extra watering attention at first gives your plant the best chance of rooting well despite Texas’s hotter conditions.

Mulch is a must for new trees and shrubs. Just 2 to 3 inches of mulch is sufficient to encourage cooler soil and slower water loss. Don’t add too much or pile it too high directly around the trunk since it can lead to fungal growth or disease issues. Top up the mulch twice a year to keep weed seeds from being able to reach the soil and germinate as well.

How to Properly Water Older Trees and Shrubs

New landscaping and pathway to sitting area

Mature and established trees and shrubs should thrive with just the natural rainfall you receive. If there is a severe drought, you may need to add irrigation for everything, including trees and shrubs. Proper tree and shrub selection will ensure mature specimens rarely need additional watering.

Don’t Forget to Fertilize Your Plants

Fertilizing provides crucial nutrients for trees and shrubs so they can survive heat stress. It’s also necessary for flowering and general growth. Root zone fertilization is best done in the spring and fall in North Texas. This ensures the plants are prepared for the challenges of both summer drought and winter frosts. In the Dallas Fort-Worth area, the lack of fertilization is the number one killer of trees and shrubs.

What Is a Root Fertilization Treatment?

This is an advanced treatment in which liquid fertilizers are injected directly into the root zone of trees or shrubs. Instead of the fertilizer evaporating or washing away from the surface, it’s all absorbed by the active feeder roots of the plants. You may notice faster spring greening, enhanced blooming, and greater resistance to disease and insects.

Protect Your Trees and Shrubs From Disease, Insects, and Weeds

Weeds, diseases, and insects can damage your trees and shrubs so badly that they can’t handle the heat of summer. The best way to ensure that your trees and shrubs are protected is to contact your trusted landscaper. Treating dormant soil during the winter season prevents harmful pests from coming back in the spring and summer. During the late spring months, you should get your trees and shrubs professionally checked for active fungus or insect infestations.

Caring for Your Grass Roots in North Texas

Grass needs extra care as well, especially through the summer.

When Planting New Grass Into Your Lawn

Choose the right type of grass for your location first and foremost. Bermuda grass is a really popular turfgrass for North Texas thanks to its drought tolerance and general low maintenance requirements. In order to protect itself, Bermuda grass goes into dormancy during extreme drought and comes back to life as soon as the water returns. However, Bermuda grass does require sun for at least 6 hours a day to stay green. To ensure that your lawn looks great, try to plant shade-tolerant shrubs between houses where there is a lot of shade or around the base of trees to avoid dead zones of grass around these areas.

Make Sure Your Soil Is Healthy

Stone wall holding new landscaping

Most of North Texas has clay-heavy soil. This soil type holds water extremely well, which helps grass survive between rainfall or watering. With the proper watering technique, you may only have to water your grass twice a week. Consider the soil under your lawn like a sponge. Water it a little at first to get the clay wet, then apply the bulk of your weekly application an hour or more later. This ensures good absorption so the water is stored near the roots.

Avoid the Use of Pesticides

Pesticides may kill off the bad bugs on your shrubs and trees, but they also kill the good ones. For example, many pesticides kill between 60% to 90% of the earthworm population where they are applied. If the pesticide enters the larger ecosystem through runoff, it can pollute water systems or threaten the health of other animals. Strong plants that are well fertilized and watered will naturally withstand most pest infestations.

Try Using Ornamental Grasses Instead of Turf Grass

Ornamental grasses are ideal for North Texas because they’re tougher and require less maintenance than turfgrasses. Ornamental grasses can also be used as accent specimens in your landscape. Native ornamental grasses will be able to handle both more shade and tougher drought conditions than turfgrasses. They tend to have a bunching or clumping habit rather than forming turf.

Need help caring for your plants? Call us today at Landscape By Design.