title graphic Trees are Key with Paul Johnson will help listeners better care for their trees. This short weekly podcast will feature a short lesson, a weekly tree highlight and upcoming tree related events around the state. 

    Sample topics will include Why Trees are Key; How To Hire a Pro: To Help You Care For Your Trees; What do Trees Need To Thrive; Trees As Investments; and How To Water Your Tree.

    Trees Are Key on Soundcloud



    Most Recent Episode


     Inventories Are Key

    It is easier and more efficient to care for something if you know what you are dealing with. This can be as simple as identifying the tree in your backyard (episode 9, Keys to Tree ID) or as complex as knowing where all the ash trees are in your community. Join us this week as we talk about why inventories are key.

    Species Spotlight

    Blackjack Oak, Quercus marilandica, goes by many names, yet it is unlikely you will find one in your local nursery or garden center. This tree is an important component of many Texas woodlands and forests. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more.




    Trees are Key to Wildlife

    In the past we have talked about possible animal damage to trees. Tune in this week as we discuss the importance of trees for wildlife.

    Species Spotlight

    Red mulberry, Morus rubra, is an important wildlife species that can also provide us with a tasty treat. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more.




    Costs Are Key

    Tree care can be costly, but it isn’t difficult to find an estimate for care. Just follow the recommendations found in episode 2, Keys to Hiring a Tree Care Professional, and solicit three qualified, credentialed arborists to bid on the work. However, many people do not realize there are often indirect costs in maintaining your tree. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more.

    Species Spotlight - Rocky Mountain Douglas-Fir Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca

    This week’s species is not a great choice for most yards, but is a great example of the diversity of our native Texas trees. There’s even a bit of a mystery associated with this tree. Tune in to the latest #TAK to learn more. 




    Keys to Being Social For Trees

    One of the biggest challenges our #industree faces is obscurity. Many people know what a landscape architect is, but have no idea what the responsibilities are for an arborist or urban forester.

    Listen this week as we talk about Keys to Being Social for Trees. Social media is a great tool for reaching more people and helping them understand the importance of trees and caring for them.

    Species Spotlight - Arizona Cypress Cupressus arizonica ssp. arizonica

    This week’s tree is a large evergreen that will add interest and habitat to your yard year-round. It would even make a great living Christmas tree. Listen to this week’s #TreesAreKey to learn more.



    Keys to Professionalism

    Arboriculture and forestry are wonderful careers, but it can be a struggle to be economically valued. One thing we can do to help with this concern is to increase our professionalism. Listen to this episode of Trees Are Key to learn the Keys to Professionalism.

    Species Spotlight

    Deciduous holly, Ilex decidua, is a wonderful large shrub or small tree that has great winter interest. Listen to this episode to learn about this holly that drops its leaves for the winter.


    Safety Is Key

    Many people do not realize that caring for trees can be dangerous. Every year amateurs and professionals are injured or die working on trees.

    Join us this week to learn more about how Safety is Key.

    Species Spotlight – Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum can be a large Texas evergreen. Listen to this episode to learn more about this tree that can smell like citrus and vanilla.


    It has been an amazing year for the #TreesareKey podcast. Thanks to our loyal listeners we have hit over 17,000 listens. Tune in to this week’s episode for a review of some of the best discussions of 2016.


    Keys to Mistletoe

    Did you know that you may be helping your trees when you remove mistletoe so you can hang it inside?

    However, mistletoe can have a dark side.

    Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more.


    Species Spotlight

    Black Cherry Prunus serotina var. serotine

    Tune in to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more about one the most valuable hardwoods in the Eastern United States.


    Keys to Monitoring Trees

    I can’t tell you how many times I have received phone calls or emails from tree owners whose tree died or turned brown overnight. It can happen, but it is rare. Usually a tree declines for months or years succumbing to stress, insects or disease.

    Regularly inspecting or monitoring your trees can help you find health or structural problems while they are small and more easily dealt with.

    Listen to this episode to learn the Keys to Monitoring our Trees.

    Species Spotlight – Waxmyrtle, Morella cerifera is a unique evergreen Texas native that has culinary and crafting uses. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more about this cool tree.


    Keys to New Trees

    You’ve selected the best species to plant and the best specimen at the local garden center. You’ve planted it correctly, now what?

    Fall is for planting, but what should we do after our new tree is in the ground? Listen this week to learn keys to caring for new trees.

    Shortleaf pine, Pinus echinata

    Listen to this week’s #TreesAreKey to learn more about this southern yellow pine that may be more tolerant of fire or mowing.


    Specialty Certifications Are Key

    We recommend you look for an ISA Certified Arborist to help you care for your trees. You can find out more about certification in episode 69, “Credentials are Key”.

    Listen to this episode to learn more about two specialty credentials – the ISA Certified Arborist Municipal Specialist and Utility Specialist.

    Working for a municipality or a utility require additional skills and abilities, and a specialty credential can help you find the right person to serve your community or utility.

    Sassafras, Sassafras albidum, is a Texas native tree which can be beautiful in the fall and has a culinary history. Listen to this week’s episode to find out how the plot thickens.


    Is Staking Key?

    Right now is a great time to plant trees for much of the United States, particularly in warmer areas like Texas.

    We have talked about planting in previous episodes and today we will review the pros and cons of staking trees. I recently had a great conversation with Haywood Morgan, the City Forester in Denton, which spurred this topic.

    Sweet gum, Liquidambar styraciflua is a large, Texas native tree with a memorable fruit structure. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more about this colorful tree.


    Keys to Tree Campus USA

    Did you know that Texas has more Tree Campus USA schools than any other state?

    We talked about Tree City USA, a program from Arbor Day Foundation, in episode 50. It’s great recognition for communities that care for their trees.

    Did you know that colleges and universities can be recognized for their efforts? Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more as we cover the Keys to Tree Campus USA.

    Species Spotlight – Carolina basswood Tilia americana var. caroliniana is a great large Texas native tree that supports our pollinators. The sweet, light-colored honey from this tree is a special treat.

    tree support  

    Keys to Tree Support Systems

    Have you ever walked out of the house and found half of your tree lying on the ground? No? Consider yourself lucky.

    I had one customer that had nine beautiful flowering pears when she went to sleep and the next morning more than half of them had split apart and we had to remove them. As a tree guy, I know that Bradford pears have structural issues and are likely to split down the middle, but most homeowners have no idea until it happens to them.

    Some species like Bradford pear and Texas fall elm, also known as cedar elm, are more likely to have weak branch angles or codominant stems. Listen to this episode of Trees Are Key to learn more about the actions you can take to help your trees.

    You’ve heard “Remember the Alamo” but do you know where the name Alamo came from? Tune in to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn how this week’s species spotlight played a role in history.


    Legacy is Key

    Texas Arbor Day is coming and this year we are celebrating in Nacogdoches, Texas. Considered the oldest town in Texas, Nacogdoches will be celebrating their tricentennial. That’s right, the city’s 300th birthday has arrived. What a legacy!

    Many things that we do or build may not last, but we can all leave a legacy by planting and caring for our trees. Listen to this week’s episode Legacy is Key.

    Species Spotlight – Alligator Juniper is a tough drought tolerant tree that has year-round visual interest, particularly the bark which gives the species its common name. Listen to learn more about this cool tree.


    Keys to Lightning Protection

    Flash, boom and crack.

    Storm season can hit almost any time of year and with storms often comes lightning. Lightning can be devastating to our electronics and our trees. Join us to learn the keys to protecting our trees from lightning.

    Species Spotlight - Lacey Oak - Quercus laceyi 

    Trees come in different shapes, textures, and colors. This week's tree is a distinctly blue tree, common name blue oak. Listen to this week's #TreesAreKey podcast to learn more about Lacey oak.


    Keys to Ordinances 

    Why does one community have great trees and the community next to it doesn’t?

    Why should you need a permit to remove a large tree during development?

    Why do some communities require tree care contractors to have a permit or license before they work on your trees?

    In many cases the answer is ordinances: the rules communities create can direct how trees are cared for, which trees can be removed and help protect residents from unscrupulous contractors.

    Listen to this episode to learn Keys to Tree Ordinances

    Species Spotlight

    Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, is a fascinating native fruit tree with a uniquely tropical flavor. Listen to this week’s #TreesAreKey podcast to learn more about this wonderful tree.


    Keys to Proper Pruning

    This is an exciting time of year as it is almost time to plant new trees and people are getting ready to prune their trees. Many people do not know that there is a right way and a wrong way to prune. Listen to “Keys to Proper Pruning” to learn more about how to properly care for your trees.

    Species Spotlight – Big tooth maple – Acer grandidentatum is a great choice for fall color in central and west Texas, if you have the right soil. Listen to this week’s Trees Are Key to learn more about this beautiful tree.

    TAK 929  

    Keys to Herbicides and Trees

    It’s the time of year again when the ads on local TV and radio are encouraging you to care for your lawn. Usually that includes fertilizing, but what are these two-in-one and three-in-one products?

    Rarely do you hear an ad telling you to call a Certified Arborist or remind you to prune your trees.

    What should you know before you pick up a bag or two of weed-and-feed?

    Listen to “Keys to Herbicides and Trees” to learn more.

    Species Spotlight:

    Boxelder, Acer negundo, is commonly thought of as a weed or mistaken for poison-ivy. Listen to this week’s episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more about this species and find out how to separate it from that itchy weed, Toxicodendron radicans.


    Not everyone has a large yard to plant and grow a tree, so are there other ways to grow trees?

    Could we grow a tree in a pot?

    As we consider that question, bonsai comes to mind. This ancient art is all about growing small trees by managing their root system. Learn more by listening to this episode of #TreesAreKey – “Keys to Container Trees”.

    Species Spotlight –

    This week’s tree is common across south Texas, but its sweet blossoms were once gathered to make French perfume. It would also make a great bonsai or container grown tree. Listen to learn more about Huisache aka Acacia farnesiana.

    keys to growing from seed  

    What does it mean when the pecans are ripening and acorns begin to fall? It’s time to think about growing trees from seed. Even though we often argue about the best size of tree to plant, it is possible that starting with a seed could be ideal.

    Join us for Keys To Growing from Seed.

    Species Spotlight

    Shumard oak, Quercus shumardii, is a beautiful large shade tree that can grow well even in alkaline soils. Listen to this episode to learn more about this great tree.

    Summer is coming to an end and fall is just around the corner. One of the pleasures of fall is the changing colors of our leaves and their eventual fall to the ground. What makes leaves fall from our deciduous trees?

    Someone cuts the top off a newly planted tree and a whole bunch of sprouts pop and try to replace the lost leaves. Why do multiple sprouts grow from one cut?

    How does the tree know when to break bud in the spring?

    How can you cut a branch off a tree and get it to grow roots?

    These are all caused or influenced by hormones. Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more.

    Species Spotlight:

    Gingko is a living fossil and a deciduous gymnosperm, and a unique species close to my heart. My wife and I planted a gingko as part of our wedding ceremony. Listen to this week’s #TreesAreKey episode to learn more about this fascinating tree.


     + Previous Trees Are Key podcasts

    We have talked a lot about how to hire a tree-care pro, climbing arborists, and credentials that are available in the tree care industry, but did you know that all Certified Arborists must agree to a Code of Ethics?

    Learn more by listening to “Ethics Are Key”.

    Species Spotlight:

    Southern magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, is a beautiful, evergreen species. This Texas native can be a good choice if you have lots of room, but there is a smaller option. Listen to this episode to learn more about this southern belle.


    A fever has been sweeping the nation and I am not talking about the Olympics or even the start of football season. I am talking about an augmented reality game you might have heard of – Pokémon Go.

    Join us to talk about how Pokémon Go might be key to our trees, parks, and urban forestry programs in this week’s episode “Is Pokémon Go Key?”

    This week’s species spotlight has a funny common name, Tickle Tongue, but is officially known as Zanthoxylum clava-herculis. It gets its name from the anesthetic properties in all parts of the tree that can numb lips and tongues. Listen to this episode to learn more about this cool, little tree.

    credentials are key  

    I am regularly asked how to go about hiring a tree professional. I cannot give a specific suggestion because I am a state employee and because I have a lot of friends in the industry.

    Learn more about potential credentials, such as a Certified Arborist, that are available in the tree care industry in “Credentials are Key”.

    Species Spotlight –

    Southern catalpa, Catalpa bignonioides, is a fascinating tree that can give us beautiful flowers and fishing bait. To learn more about the southern catalpa tune into the latest #TAK podcast.


    Plant Health  

    There are many insects, diseases, viruses and animals that can challenge our efforts to grow trees. We’ve talked about several of these in previous episodes.

    Sometimes it seems like we should just spray all our plants every other month to protect them but that isn’t a good option. Listen to this episode as we talk about how Plant Health Care is Key to caring for our trees. 

    Texas persimmon is a great, small tree that you would never think of as a persimmon. It doesn’t have the large orange fruits or the alligator bar but check out this drought tolerant tree that offers beauty and a tasty treat.

    animal damage 3  

    We have talked abiotics issues like drought and flood, diseases like oak wilt and powdery mildew, and six and eight legged pests like emerald ash borer. 

    Listen to this episode of #TreesAreKey to learn more about two and four legged pests in Keys to Animal Damage. 

    Tree of the Week – Species Spotlight: Lacebark elm – Ulmus parvifolia is a species originating from Asia, which is grown primarily for the bark. To learn more about the lacebark elm tune into the latest #TAKpodcast.


    What do you want to see on a tropical vacation? Sand, water, a cold beverage and palm trees.

    Palm trees are basically an arborescent grass and not botanically a tree but they are gaining in popularity. Being biologically different from woody trees they need different care.

    Tune in to learn the keys to growing palm trees.

    Texas sabal palm, Sabal mexicana, is our Texas native arborescent palm. Listen this week to learn more about one of the best palms to grow in our area.


    What do you think when you hear someone talking about CODIT?

    Maybe you picture someone sitting in a dark room in front of a computer with lines of code running across the screen? Or maybe you think about Dr. Alex Shigo, the father of modern arboriculture, and his model of how trees respond to wounding and decay.

    Join us this week as we talk about Compartmentalization of Decay in Trees in “CODIT is Key”

    This week’s species spotlight is Eastern redcedar, Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana. This tough, Texas native evergreen makes a great screen or windbreak.


    Do you know the 10 most common trees in Austin? Do you know how much storm water runoff our trees help control? Wonder how much carbon is locked up in our trees? 

    Join us this week to talk about the first intensified and accelerated Urban Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) completed in the United States. We will even talk about what percentage of Austin’s trees are city owned as we discuss Urban FIA is Key. 

    Species spotlight – this week’s tree is much maligned but is valuable to the City of Austin and the surrounding area in many ways. Listen to this week’s #TreesAreKey to learn more about ashe juniper..

    Urban Wood  

    Fuel, flavor and mulch are just a few ways to use a tree once it’s time has passed. Even trees grown in our cities can be used for art, furniture and tools. Join us this week as we talk about life for our trees after death in Keys to Urban Wood Utilization. 

    Species Spotlight: Listen this week to learn about black walnut's little brother known as little walnut or Texas walnut.


    The Texas Trinity is brisket, sausage and ribs but they couldn’t happen without trees. Wood smoke is key to the flavor of BBQ. From post oak in central Texas to pimento wood in the Caribbean, the wood of choice influences the taste of our dinner. Listen to this week’s Trees Are Key podcast to learn more about using wood smoke as flavor. 

    Species Spotlight: Mesquite or honey mesquite is a tough, Texas native that many despise for its weedy character but love for its tasty enhancement of barbecue. Listen this week to learn more about this much hated and loved tree.


    Many people are more afraid of public speaking than they are of climbing a tree… Join us this week to find out how to speak for the trees in “Keys to Being a Lorax” 

    This week’s species spotlight is the truffula tree – find out more about this rare tree by listening to this week’s episode of #TreesAreKey


    Ever wondered if the tree in your backyard is tall enough to hit the house if it fell? Have you seen a really big tree and wondered if it could be a Texas or National champion? Listen to this week’s episode to learn the Keys to Measuring Trees.

    This week’s species spotlight is a unique tree that may be difficult to find, but could be a focal point in your landscape. Texas madrone is a great native tree with attractive bark that would add visual interest year-round.


    From McAllen’s Arbor Day celebration to the Stihl Tour De Trees, there is a connection between trees and bicycles that may not seem obvious. 

    Listen to this week’s Trees Are Key to learn why bicycles are key with guest Grady McGahan. Executive Director of Retreet.


    Whether it’s the fires in Bastrop, the floods in Wimberley or tornadoes in Oklahoma; there is something you can do to make a difference when it comes to the trees lost in these disasters. 

    Listen this week to pick up a few keys to making a difference with special guest Grady McGahan, Retreet executive director.


    What’s wrong with my tree? It’s a common question. Listen to this week’s episode to learn the steps to being your own plant detective and find out how to get help figuring it out. 

    Tree of the Week - Species Spotlight - Rio Grande ash and beautiful ash from South Texas. Listen to this week’s episode to learn how to identify this tree and why it might not be a good idea to plant it.


    Join us this week to learn keys to developing successful tree partnerships with special guest Dana Karcher, Alliance for Community Trees program manager.


    “A people without children would face a hopeless future; a country without trees is almost as helpless.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

    Join us to learn how to cultivate a culture of trees with our kids in this week’s episode of Trees Are Key.

    Species Spotlight – Eastern Hophornbeam, Ostrya virginiana, Ironwood


    Ironwood may be uncommon in your local garden center, but it may be a great Texas native for you to add to your landscape. Listen this week to learn more about this wonderful tree.


    High winds can be very damaging to our trees. Listen this week to learn more about how to avoid wind damage and what you can do if your trees are damaged in a storm.

    Tree of the Week – Species Spotlight – Rusty blackhaw

    This week’s tree comes from our East Texas Regional Urban Forester Zaina Gates. Listen to learn more about this small, drought tolerant tree that looks great in all four seasons.


    The last Friday in April is National Arbor Day – it may not be a great time to plant trees across much of Texas, but it is a great time to celebrate trees and their importance in our lives. Listen this week to learn more about the beginnings of Arbor Day and find out who is being recognized by Arbor Day Foundation for their efforts to improve our trees and forests.



    Earth Day is 46 years old this year and has captured a lot of attention. I think it’s too bad that Arbor Day and Earth Day are so close together, but there can be a synergy -- In many areas they combine the two events into one big celebration. Anything that helps raise awareness of the environment, natural resources, and yes -- especially trees -- is a good thing. Join us to learn ways to integrate trees into your local Earth Day celebration.


     Trees are Key title Slide Keys to Sucking Pests  

    We’ve talked about oak wilt, emerald ash borer, and defoliating insects previously. This week join us to learn more about pests with piercing and sucking mouth parts in Keys to Sucking Pests.

    Our species spotlight is crapemyrtle, Laegerstromia indica, a beautiful, blooming tree that is common across Texas. Listen this week to learn more about the controversies surrounding this non-native tree.

     green trees and dark green banner title slide that says Tree City USA Is Key  

    Managing trees in our communities is key to maximizing the environmental, economic and social benefits of our community forests.
    How do you get started? How can a city, utility company or college campus be recognized for their efforts to care for their trees?

    That’s where three programs from Arbor Day Foundation come in. Join us to learn more in Tree City USA Is Key.

    Anacua, Ehretia anacua, is a unique, tough Texas native that has a unique leaf. Listen this week to learn more about this wonderful tree.




    There are many things that can cause a tree’s leaves to fall off or disappear. Listen this week to learn more about how to figure out what is going on and if you need to do something to help your tree.

    This week’s tree of the week is Texas Fall Elm also known as cedar elm. This tough Texas native can be a great choice in your yard or landscape. Listen this week to find out more about our Fall Elm.



    Let’s step outside of our community forests and look around. There are many acres of forestland across Texas. According to our 2011 FIA (Forest Inventory and Analysis) program there are over 62 million acres of forests and woodlands in Texas. This is second only to Alaska in total acres.

    In town, we think about our community forests producing shade, clean air & water, reducing flood waters, and increasing property values.

    Out of town, tangible products such as wood products (lumber, fuelwood, pulp), non-wood products (syrup, edibles, wildlife), and ecosystem services are produced … we need to keep forests as forests … trees are a renewable resource.

    Tree of the Week: Sugarberry aka palo blanco aka Celtis laevigata is a fast growing, short-lived species that is prime habitat for birds. Listen this week to learn more about an important habitat species.

     tropisms are key  

    Knowing how a tree grows is powerful and as they say – “with great power comes great responsibility”

    We’ve talked about trees needing light, water, air, nutrients and soil in episode 3 “Keys to Tree Growth”
    But why do trees grow up and not down?
    Why are trees in windy areas shorter?
    Why does the tree planted near the house grow away from the house at an angle?

    Join us this week to learn more about why “Tropisms Are Key”

    Mexican Buckeye is this week’s species spotlight. This tough, drought tolerant Texas native may be a good substitute for redbud. Listen this week to learn more about this wonderful flowering tree.

     Flowering 2  

    All trees bloom, but not all have showy flowers. Flowers are beautiful and provide habitat for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. Join us this week to learn more about including flowering trees in our communities.

    Species Spotlight – Texas mountain laurel is a standout this time of year. Listen this week to learn more about this sweet scented tree.


    Join us this week as we wrap up our discussion of the 3Rs – Readiness, Response and Recovery. We’ve talked about how to prepare for a disaster and how to respond to the event. It’s now time to discuss how to help your community recover their trees and community forest. After all, trees are key to healthier, happier communities and we can make a difference.

    This week’s species spotlight is loblolly pine, the species at the center of the recovery efforts in the Lost Pines area near Bastrop, Texas. Join us this week to learn more about this economically important tree.


    Join us this week as we continue our exploration of the 3Rs — Readiness, Response, and Recovery. Proper, timely response to an emergency is key to keeping the public safe and protecting our trees.

    Species Spotlight — Carolina cherry-laurel is a small, evergreen tree that bees love. Listen this week to learn more about this Texas native tree.


    Planning for storms and pests is key to protecting our trees and ourselves. Listen this week to find out how to ready your community forests and the trees in your yard for a natural disaster.

    Species Spotlight: Wild Olive, Cordia boissieri

    This beautiful, small native evergreen can bloom 11 months out of the year in the Rio Grande Valley and is grown across the southwest. Listen to learn more about this unique tree.


     ancient trees  


    People are fascinated with big, old trees and they, often desperately, want to know how old they are. Listen this week to learn several techniques to estimate the age of your trees and learn the keys to caring for them.

    Species spotlight: Quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America which puts on an amazing display of fall color. Listen this week to learn more.



    Emerald Ash Borer, or EAB, is a serious threat to our ash trees that has been marching across the U.S. and Canada since 2002. Join us this week to learn how to spot their damage, identify the culprit and what you can do to help.

    Species Spotlight: The Kentucky coffee tree was used by early settlers as a coffee substitute. This is the only species in North America in the genus Gymnocladus and has no serious pest or disease issues. Kentucky coffee tree is a great choice in lawn areas because it allows sunlight to reach the ground and is drought tolerant.

     oak wilt  

    Oak wilt is a devastating fungal disease in Texas that has wiped out many large, beautiful trees. Join us this week to learn the keys to diagnosing, managing and avoiding this disease.

    Tree of the Week: Post oak
    Post oak is the not so secret ingredient in some of the best barbecue Central Texas has to offer. This tough, native Texas tree can be sensitive to building and development. Learn more about post oak in this week’s episode of “Trees Are Key.”



    Curious if you can bare-root a 6.5 inch Shumard oak to transplant it? Wonder if your tree is hollow and therefore more likely to fall over in a storm? Join us for this week’s episode “Advanced Arboriculture is Key” to learn how advanced techniques can answer these questions.

    Pneumatic excavation, resistance drilling and sonic tomography are advanced arboriculture activities that can be used to improve or assess our trees.

    This week’s tree of the week is American Holly — a tough, native evergreen that can be used in many sites across Texas.



    Have you ever picked a sweet, ripe peach off of a tree and taken a bite just to have the sun warmed juice run down your chin? Edible trees elicit a passion that rivals common sense. We have seen people line up hours early on a bitterly cold January morning to get a free fruit tree at the San Antonio Jammin’ Jams Fruit Tree Adoption. Join us this week to learn more about fruit and nut trees.

    We can’t talk about edible trees without talking about our state tree, the pecan, our tree of the week. From pecan pie to butter pecan ice cream to pecan sandies this native nut has earned its place on our table.



    Now that it's 2016,  there are a few things you can do to make a difference for our trees. Consider these 9 options for your tree resolutions.

    Our tree of the week is yaupon holly, Ilex vomitoria. It's a tough and beautiful ornamental tree with a less than beautiful species name.


    As we come to the end of 2015, let’s reflect on what we have learned and covered so far in Trees Are Key. It has been eight months packed with information about key tree basics, keys to caring for trees, key tree programs and hopefully, a little fun along the way. Have a Happy New Year


    Urban and forest may sound like two words that don’t belong together, but urban forests are key to healthy, happy and sustainable towns and cities. Join us this week to learn more about urban forests and the people responsible for caring for them— urban foresters.

    Species Spotlight: This week’s tree is rusty blackhaw, a small, flowering tree that does well in our yards and has few pests. 


    As winter’s grip tightens across the nation, there are a few things we can do to help our trees. Check out this week’s episode of Trees Are Key to find out how to help your trees survive the cold.

    Species Spotlight – Citrus is one of winter’s sweet surprises. Have you tried to grow your own, but it’s just too cold where you live? Check out this week’s tree of the week – ‘Arctic Frost’ satsuma, a Texas SuperStar® 


    It is the season of giving and we have a few gift ideas for anyone that loves trees. From books to tools, jewelry or art — there is something for everyone in this week’s episode of Trees Are Key.

    This week’s tree of the week is Texas ebony. This tough, evergreen, Texas native is a great tree and there is a famous ebony along the banks of the Rio Grande River.


    'Tis the season for gathering, giving, and celebrating the holidays. For many people that means bring a bit of the outside inside --Christmas trees are going up in homes everyday. Find out more about how to bring a real tree, living or cut, into your home on this week’s podcast “Keys to Christmas Trees”

    Tree Of The Week: The Christmas Tree -- History.com states that Christmas trees are grown in all 50 states -- even Alaska and Hawaii. Start a new tradition and cut your own tree. There are Christmas trees farms in many areas – find out how to find the one closest to you and support a local farmer.


    Fallen leaves are key to saying time and money. Many people spend time raking and bagging leaves in the fall, but those leavers are a great source of organic material and nutrients. Join us this week to find out how to use this free resource

    Species Spotlight: Mexican sycamore is a fast growing, well-adapted shade tree that is a good choice for many of our yards. Listen to this week’s episode of Trees Are Key to find out more about this beautiful tree. 

    Shorter days, cooler temperatures and falling leaves seem to make people think about fertilizing their trees. Fertilizing may help your tree, but the tree may not need to be fertilized. Join us to learn more about the nutrients trees need, soil and leaf testing and different ways to apply fertilizer.

    This week’s species spotlight is Arizona ash (Fraxinus velutina) a commonly planted tree you may want to remove from your plant palate.



    We lose trees after every storm. A few pruning cuts can make all the difference in how long your tree lives. Join us this week to find out why structural pruning is key and how to get started.

    Mexican white oak is our tree of the week — find out more about this Texas native in this week’s #TreesAreKey podcast.


    In this week’s episode of Trees Are Key we have guest Kari Hines a wildland urban interface specialist with Texas A&M Forest Service.

    Wildfire can be disruptive and devastating. This week find out what you can do to be more Firewise® and protect your home and family from wildfire.

    What is WUI? Do you live in a WUI area? What is your risk of damage from wildfire?  Join us this week as Hines helps get you started on the path to being Firewise®.

     AD is key  

    Arbor Day is the annual celebration of trees. This week we have a special guest, Tom Boggus, Texas State Forester and director of Texas A&M Forest Service joining us to talk about the importance of Arbor Day.

    This year, our Texas Arbor Day is being celebrated in College Station at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on Friday, Nov. 6 at 10 a.m. Visit tfsweb.tamu.edu/content/article.aspx?id=22497 to learn more!

     planting tak  

    It’s tree planting season and we have talked about what species to plant and how to pick a great tree in the nursery. It is now time to talk about how to properly plant the tree for long term success.


    Our species spotlight this week is bur oak — one of my favorite trees! This is also the tree that we have planted all over Texas this year in commemoration of our Texas A&M Forest Service centennial.

     selecting the  

    It’s planting season and picking the right kind of tree is important. So is the way you plant your tree, but there is a step in between. How do you pick which tree in the nursery or garden center you should buy and plant? Join us this week to learn more about Keys to Selecting THE Tree. This week’s tree of the week is tepeguaje or great lead tree. This fast growing Texas native can quickly change the environment where it is planted and improve the survival of other species.  


    ‘Right Tree, Right Place’ has been around for decades. What does it really mean? What tree should I plant in my yard? Find out in this week’s Trees Are Key episode “Species Selection is Key.”

    Species Spotlight: American smoketree is a beautiful, small, native tree that isn’t used often, but it is well adapted to the tough conditions we find in our towns and cities. Listen to this week’s episode to find out more about this unique tree.  

     building tree  

    Buildings are going up left and right — there is a local joke about cranes being the official bird of Austin because of all the construction cranes downtown. Construction is tough on trees, but there are a few actions we can take to protect and preserve our trees through the process. 

    Species Spotlight: The Texas live oak (Quercus fusiformis) is a tough Texas native that grows well in our droughty, alkaline soils. Typically smaller than its southern cousin, Quercus virginiana, Texas live oak thrives under tougher growing conditions and accounts from many of our Famous Trees of Texas.

     soil is key  

    Soil is the foundation of our trees and key to their success.
    Knowing more about your soil will help you determine what you need to do for your trees. Soil texture, bulk densityand pH are key factors in determining what trees species will grow well for you. Join us this week to learn more about soils and trees.

    This week’s species spotlight is desert willow a beautiful small flowering tree that is also drought tolerant. 



    As the weather cools, our thoughts turn to football and baseball, sweaters and falling leaves. But why do trees lose their leaves? Why do they turn such brilliant colors? Listen to this week’s episode of Trees Are Key to find out. Our Species Spotlight this week is Ulmus Americana — American elm. This poor tree has faced a dreadful enemy, the Dutch elm disease, but that is no reason to give up on it. Find out more about our stately American elm by listening to this week’s episode.


    Trees do a lot of great things, but falling down isn’t one of them. Want to know how to keep your family and home safe? Listen to this week’s episode, Keys to Tree Risk Management.

    We are getting close to planting season and this week we introduce our new Tree of The Week: Species Spotlight where we highlight trees you should consider planting in your yard, neighborhood or town. This week we start with Retama aka Jerusalem Thorne — find out more about this colorful, drought-hardy tree by listening to this week’s episode of Trees Are Key. 



     Roots are key to healthy trees, yet they are out of sight and we don’t know much about them. We know topping trees — indiscriminately cutting the ends off branches — is bad, but we don’t know that trenching to install a sprinkler system can be just as bad if not worse. Join us this week to learn the eight things you need to know about tree roots.

    Upcoming events:
    Visit isatexas.com to learn more about the Texas Tree Conference, academy and school.

    Visit kdb.org or ctufc.org to learn more about the North Texas Citizen Forester program.

    Join #treechat on Twitter each Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time.

    We have a guest this week — Mickey Merritt is one of our regional urban foresters from Houston and he is a big tree hunter.

    Have you seen a big tree? How do you know if that big tree is really big? Want to learn more about measuring big trees? Listen to find out more about this regional, state and national program.

    Check out our website for our Big Tree Registry.

    Summer is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a nice trip or vacation. Recently, I was asked where good vacation locations in Texas were, that included trees.  This episode is the answer to that question.

    Here are the sites that I refer to in this episode.

    Our Tree Trails app - http://texasforestinfo.tamu.edu/treetrails/

    Houston Area Urban Forestry Council Big Tree Registry—http://haufc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/HarrisCountyTreeRegistry2011.pdf

    City of Ft Worth has a Heritage trees tour—http://fortworthtexas.gov/forestry/heritage-trees/         

    Portland’s Heritage Trees which can be downloaded for free or order a printed copy for $5—https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/441738

    PDX Trees—http://pdxtrees.org/

    Tampa Tree Map—http://tampatreemap.usf.edu/

    North Texas Citizen Forester Program—http://kdb.org or http://ctufc.org for more information. 

    It might be best for our trees to outlaw lawns across the country, but that isn’t realistic. People love their lawns and their trees. Join us this week to learn how you can have both.

    Find out how you can care for your tree on our  Lawn Care Around Trees  info sheet in our Urban Forestry Information Pages. 

    It doesn’t take long to figure out trees are important on a hot, summer day in Texas. Just go to a local shopping center parking lot and you will see many cars parked in the shade. You can see the same thing in rural areas with the cows in fields. Shade is key to comfort, but it is also key to our bank accounts. Join us for this week’s episode to learn more about how Shade is Key.

    Mentioned energy saving, tree planting initiatives:

    City of San Antonio and CPS Energy – Green Shade Rebate:  https://www.cpsenergy.com/en/my-home/ways-to-save/rebates-rebate/green-shade-tree-rebate.html

     Oncor Energy and Arbor Day Foundation: http://energysavingtrees.arborday.org/#Home

     City of Austin, Austin Energy and TreeFolks: http://www.treefolks.org/neighborwoods-free-trees-for-your-home/

     City of Denton and Keep Denton Beautiful—more info to come at http://kdb.org/

    Even with all the rain we have received this year, our trees may be suffering from drought. Join us to learn what we can do to help our trees through that tough time when no water falls from the sky.

    Something as simple as properly mulching you tree (http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/uploadedFiles/TFS_Main/Urban_and_Community_Forestry/About_Urban_and_Community_Forestry/Urban_Forest_Information_Sheets/How%20do%20I%20care%20for%20my%20Tree%20-%20Mulching%20your%20%20tree.pdf) could help your tree survive our long, hot and dry summers.

    Our tree of the week is the former champion Rio Grande cottonwood. You can find other Texas champions on our Big Tree Registry. http://tfsweb.tamu.edu/uploadedFiles/TFSMain/Learn_and_Explore/Conservation_Education_Resources(5)/rptBTR-NativeNaturalized_5-15.pdf

    Paul will be teaching about trees and drought at Texas Nursery and Landscape Association’s Expo in Dallas on Aug. 14. Find out more at http://www.nurserylandscapeexpo.org/

    We are entering the summer dormancy which is a great time to prune trees. We need to set our pruning goals and select the best pruning type to achieve those goals. In this episode we talk about standard language for different types—or methods—of pruning. This is so we know the work we’re asking for it the work that will be done.

    You can find out more about our Big Tree Registry through our website www.tfsweb.tamu.edu


    Tree Chat on Twitter is every Tuesday from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Central Time. Search for #treechat.

    International Society of Arboriculture Annual Conference is in Orlando, Florida on August 9 – 13.  Find out more at www.isa-arbor.com.

    Texas Nursery and Landscape Association’s Expo is in Dallas on August 13 – 15. Find out more at www.nurserylandscapeexpo.org.

    PPE stands for personal protective equipment and it is the first step before working on your trees. Join us to find out what you need to protect yourself.

    Join us for #treechat on Twitter Tuesdays from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Search for #treechat in your favorite Twitter app.

    International Society of Arboriculture hosts their International Conference in Orlando, Florida next month. Find out more at http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.aspx

    Trees can be a physical connection with our past and our future. Whether it is a Kissing Oak or a Hanging Oak, many communities have trees that are important and have stories that deserve to be told.

    Listen this week to learn more about the Famous Trees of Texas program from Gretchen Riley—one of the authors of the centennial edition of the Famous Trees of Texas book.

    Get your copy of the book today!

    Visit the Famous Trees of Texas website to explore more trees or nominate a tree.

    Join Paul (@treevangelist), during #treechat on Twitter every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time. Search for #treechat and use the hashtag to join the conversation!

    Water is vital for the success of our trees. Too much or too little can be an issue. In this week’s podcast find out how, when and how much to water your trees, and when you don’t need to bother.

    You’ll also learn how to test your sprinkler system in order to run it the appropriate length of time.

    Supporting information can be found in our Urban Forest information sheets

    Join Paul (@treevangelist), during #treechat on Twitter every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central Time.  Search for #treechat and use the hashtag to join the conversation!

     Knowing what kind of tree you have is key for proper tree care. You can always ask someone else, but we will get you started on the road to do it yourself tree id.

    Do you know the difference between simple and compound leaves?
    Do you know the difference between opposite and alternate leaf arrangement?
    Do you know we have a tree ID website

    This week’s tree of the week is the Center Oak from the Famous Trees of Texas Centennial Edition. Get your copy of the book today.

    Improper pruning is one of the biggest challenges trees face in our towns and cities. 

    It could be someone using a polesaw to trim the branches away from their house or the so called “tree guy” that strips all the limbs and foliage out of the center of our tree, leaving twigs and leaves only at the end of the branch—known as lion’s-tailing.

    One of the best defenses against improper pruning is the climbing arborist. They can get up into a tree, fully assess its needs and properly prune the tree.

    Listen to find out more about our Tree Climbing Championships, the dangers of tree care and ISA’s Certified Tree Worker Climber Specialist.

    Visit www.isatexas.com to learn more about the Texas Tree Climbing Championship and the Tree Care Industry Association’s Chipper Safety Class on June 26 in Irving, Texas. Find out more about tree care safety at www.tcia.org.

    This episode is inspired by the late Dr. Bonnie Appleton. We do a lot to our trees and around our trees because we think it helps the tree. Unfortunately, often this is not the case. Join us to find out if you are guilty of loving your tree to death.

    How To Kill a Tree by Dr. Bonnie Appleton https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/430/430-210/430-210_pdf.pdf

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the recent storms.

    It is especially important in the initial days of a flooding event to take action. When there is a flood, there are things
    you can do to reduce safety hazards caused by downed and damaged trees and protect the trees still standing.

    Here is a little information about how to care for your trees following the floods.

    Additional resources:
    Hire an ISA Certified Arborist at isatexas.com.

    Donate to help restore trees in flood-affected
    areas at treecovery.tamu.edu.

    Learn more about repairing trees after the storm
    at tfsweb.tamu.edu/afterthestorm.

     After the Storm: Flooding






     Download After the Storm: Flooding Fact Sheet

    We are often asked, "What is one thing I can do to help my trees?" The answer is pretty simple and better yet it is often free. Listen to this week’s episode to find out what’s the key to healthier and happier trees.

    Tree of the week – Waugh Campground Oak from the Famous Trees of Texas Centennial Edition. http://tamupress.com/product/Famous-Trees-of-Texas,8201.aspx

    Upcoming Tree Events:
    Texas Tree Climbing Championship in Fort Worth at Trinity Park June 12-13 www.isatexas.com

    Certified Arborist Preparation Class in Austin starting June 15. More information at www.treefolks.org/CAP

    Tune in for next week’s topic: loving your tree to death.

    We have talked about why trees are key to healthier and happier communities. Now let’s learn about the value your trees can have for you. Trees can be a great investment.

    Look for a Registered Consulting Arborist to help you appraise the value of your trees at https://www.asca-consultants.org/

    Visit our website tfsweb.tamu.edu to find more stories like this week’s Tree of the Week from the Famous Trees of Texas.

    You can find upcoming tree events at isatexas.com

    Trees need five things to grow well. Listen to this week’s podcast to find out what those things are and how they impact our tree care decisions.

    This week’s Tree of The Week is the Columbus Oak from the Centennial Edition of Famous Trees of Texas by Gretchen Riley and Pete Smith. http://www.tamupress.com/product/Famous-Trees-of-Texas,8201.aspx

    Tree Event: Bilingual Tree Care Workshop in Schertz Thursday, May 13. http://sa-aa.com/

    Next week we will talk about trees as key investments.

    As they say at ISA, “Trees are good. Trees require care. Arborists care for trees.”

    Join us and find out the key to hiring a quality pro to help you care for your trees.


    Texas Chapter of ISA www.isatexas.com ISA Consumer information www.treesaregood.com ISA www.isa-arbor.com

    Upcoming tree events at www.sa-aa.com


    In this episode we talk about why trees are key to healthier and happier towns and cities and why you should care about the trees around you.