Essential Resources to Plant & Care for Native Trees

Whether you join us at the Arbor Day Tree Give Away in The Woodlands, or are buying tress from one of the many sales this time of year, here are some great resources to ensure your trees thrive for years to come.

Here is a quick overview of what you’ll find here. Click on a category to jump to each section, or scroll through for all the tree care tips.

Planting Bare-Root Trees | Mulching the Right Way | 3 Great Pruning Resources | Plant Health Care | Right Tree Right Place | Find a Certified Arborist Near You

Arbor Day Varieties | Which Tree is Good For Me? Guide to Arbor Day Varieties | Detailed Links for Each Variety |

Planting Bare-Root Trees

Click here for the step-by-step guide from the Arbor Day Foundation to successfully plant your bare-root tree.


Mulching the Right Way

After you plant, there’s one more step! Mulch is one of the best things you can do keep moisture in the soil and add organic matter. There is a right and a wrong way to mulch; check out this simple guide to make sure you are helping the tree, not harming it.

Check out this quick guide to mulching right from the Arborists themselves, or watch the video below from the Tree Care Video Library.

Mulching is also important to avoid conflicts between trees and turf grass. Find out why here.


3 Great Pruning Resources

1] This Tree City USA Bulletin covers How to Prune Young Shade Trees. Follow the story of two families who both plant trees, and how those trees turn out in 15 years. Isn’t the one below a thing of beauty? It is the result of judicious pruning throughout the tress life.

2 ] A quick guide to correct pruning is found in this this ISA Guide to Pruning Young Trees. Proper pruning is essential to a tree having a strong structure and pleasing form.

3] Wondering what some of the common mistakes are? This USDA Forest Service Guide has some great pictures on what to avoid as well as how to do it right.


Plant Health Care

Health Care? For Plants? Certainly! Plant Health Care (PHC) is a holistic approach to the care of trees and plants that can save you money, save your trees, and save our environment from needless amounts of toxic chemicals.

The benefits are large following the 5 steps of PHC. Skip to the second page of this Tree City USA Bulletin to find out how to implement PHC in your own yard for healthy and resilient trees.


Right Tree Right Place

Even if you plant the tree correctly, mulch it well and prune it for a strong structure, it won’t matter much if the tree is in the wrong place to begin with. One of the essential functions of trees in SE Texas is to provide cooling summer shade. Think about that and other factors that affect tree placement in this visual guide to determining the Right Tree for the Right Place.


Find a Certified Arborist

If you would like to entrust pruning, assessment and health to a certified professional, the International Society of Arboriculture has a great online tool to find one using your zip code HERE.

And for some talking points to consider in discussing your trees with the Arborist, check out this guide on How to Hire an Arborist.



CANOPY TREES

American Sycamore

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Chinkapin Oak

Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Overcup Oak

Quercus lyrata (Overcup oak) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Green Ash

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Loblolly Pine

Pinus taeda (Loblolly pine) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

UNDERSTORY TREES

Chickasaw Plum

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Possumhaw Holly [NOT SHIPPED BY GROWER]

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Roughleaf Dogwood

Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Texas Redbud

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Texas Persimmon

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Spicebush

Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)

Witch Hazel

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch-hazel) | Native Plants of North America (wildflower.org)


Tree Resource Hubs

Arbor Day Foundation | Tree Care Tips & Techniques for Homeowners

Trees Are Good.org | Tree Owner Information

Tree City USA | Bulletins & Resources


Arbor Day is brought to you by The Woodlands Township Environmental Services

Originally started by the Howard Hughes Development Company, since 1977 more than 1.5 million seedlings have been shared with residents to plant in their yard, in community open space reserves and in forest preserves. Participate in one of The Woodlands longest standing traditions and help plant trees today for our community to enjoy for years to come.

Are Invasive Species Eliminating Native Vegetation in Your Village?

“The world is a fine place and worth fighting for.” Earnest Hemingway said it best. Within our forests, green belts and even our backyards, there is a fight taking place. One that we can all help with: the fight to keep invasive plant species from damaging our native habitats.

Invasive plants are species that exist in habitats outside of their native environment. Introduced accidentally or intentionally, these plants establish themselves – spread – and eventually eliminate native species. Invasive vines grow, unimpeded by natural predators, blocking the sun’s light by overgrowing their native host. Lost along the way is the food and shelter that native wildlife depends on. Invasive plants change the soil chemistry, impact water quality, and alter food webs in our remaining natural areas.

Each of us can take important steps to help in this fight.

Start by keeping invasives out of your home landscape. Some species, such as Japanese honeysuckle, nandina and Asian jasmine, are available for purchase, so shop your local nursery’s native plant section to avoid them. If invasive plants already reside in your landscape, consider replacing them with a native. You’ll prevent their unwanted spread and enjoy the wildlife that natives invite.

Not sure which are the bad guys? HARC Research publishes The Quiet Invasion, a handy identification guide you can search for species of local concern. Report your sightings in our greenspaces through The Woodlands 311 app. Township staff and Invasives Task Force volunteers will start the process of removal.

Now, consider taking it one step further and join the Invasives Task Force. The battle against invasives is a big one but a corps of trained volunteers is helping to turn the tide. As one volunteer puts it:

“The part of vine removal that is always rewarding to me is uncovering our beautiful native species in the understory and to follow-up restoration with natives.  In the end, I see the mission of the Task Force to preserve the character of The Woodlands as a remnant forest on the edge of the Piney Woods. The Woodlands is a city ‘in the forest’, not just another suburb.”

Interested in becoming an Invasives Task Force volunteer? By working with our corps of trained volunteers in conjunction with The Township’s invasive species removal program, you can make a big difference in whether all our villages stay green or the invasives win! Attend the next training class for volunteers on February 4, 2023. Full details and registrations available online.

Registration is easy – sign up here.

Got Questions? Contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281-210-3800 or enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Guide

The best gifts come in sustainable packages!

Approximately 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. each year with 2.3 million pounds ending up in the landfill. 

Holiday wrapping paper is often coated in plastic or foil causing it to be non-recyclable. If the wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it is not recyclable. Gift wrap mistakenly put in the recycling cart harms the value of other collected paper at the recycling center.  

Beautiful paper like these: glitter, metallic, textured and reversible are NOT recyclable gift wrap.  

If it feels like plain paper, not slick or wax coated, or is made from recycled paper, then it’s a wrapping paper that can be recycled.  Another way to test recyclability is to crush the paper into a ball. If it stays bunched up, it is likely recyclable. 

An eco-friendly gift is thoughtful for the recipient and the planet! Check out these tips for a greener holiday. 

Reusable Gift Wrap and Recycled Paper 

If the holiday rush has you hustling and there’s no time for crafting, consider purchasing a reusable alternative. Fabric gift wraps, nice tea towels, scarves and bandannas make excellent choices. 

For wrapping boxes, try using found newspaper or purchasing wrapping paper made with recycled content.  Really get in to the recycling spirit with these two simple crafts and make your own gift box or hand-made bow this holiday season. 


Shopping Bag Bow  

Materials: 

  • Paper – shopping bag, newspaper, etc. 
  • Scissors 
  • Ruler 
  • Double-sided tape 

Instructions: 

Cut your paper into nine strips, each ¾ of an inch wide. Next, measure and cut the length. You’ll need three strips that are 11” long, three strips that are 10” long, two strips that are 9” long and 1 strip that is 3 1/2” long. 

Using one strip of paper at a time, twist each end toward the center until they meet in the middle and create a loop. Secure the ends in place with double-sided tape. Repeat with the remaining eight strips, with the exception of the 3 ½” inch strip; loop that one into a circle. 

Start with the three longest strips of paper and begin stacking in descending order by size; largest on the bottom. Secure each loop in place with tape. Finish with the circle loop in the center. Attach your bow on top of your gift wrapped in recyclable paper. 


Create a Gift Box 

Turn any recycled card stock into a gift box. Find old record covers, cereal boxes, or old shipping boxes and make a custom box for a loved one. 

Materials: 

  • Card stock  
  • Scissors 
  • Ruler 
  • Hot glue or double sided tape 

Instructions for an 8 inch square box: 

Trim two pieces of card stock into a square that is 12” wide and long.  

For the top: Draw a line 2” wide on each side. For the bottom: Draw a line 2 ¼” wide on each side. Press firmly to score lines but not too hard or you might cut or tear the cardstock. See image below. 

Use scissors to lightly score along the lines 

Cut alternating flaps as marked on the image below. Fold along all four scored lines on each piece of card stock. Use glue or tape to secure each corner flap inside the longer, side piece of the box.   

Tip: use clothespins to secure corners while glue is drying 

Once glue dries or the corners are secured with tape, you have a custom, upcycled box to fill with a special gift for friends, family or the holiday gift swap at the office. 

2022 Holiday Waste Guide: Service schedule updates and tips to make your holiday a little greener

There will be no interruption in curbside trash and recycling services during the Christmas and New Year holidays. All services will occur on their regularly scheduled day including yard trimmings and bulky trash pick-up.  

For trouble-free service this holiday season, please keep streets clear of parked cars to allow trucks to safely access carts, place carts at the curb by 7 a.m. and ensure cart lids close completely.  

The Woodlands Recycling Center at 5402 Research Forest Drive will be open on SaturdayDecember 24 and Saturday, December 31.  It will be open on Wednesday, December 21 and Wednesday, January 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. 

To report a missed pickup or schedule bulky trash pickup, please contact Waste Management Customer Service at 800-800-5804 or cssatex@wm.com.   


Extra Trash Bags  

  • Extra bags of trash can be placed on the curb next to your cart.   
  • Each bag must be affixed with a pink extra service tag.   
  • Purchase tags for $1.75 each from The Woodlands Township offices, Kroger (Cochran’s Crossing, Alden Bridge and Sterling Ridge)  
  • Each bag may weigh no more than 40 pounds.  


Christmas Tree Guidelines

Cut Christmas Tree Recycling – Unflocked Trees Only  

  • Remove tree stand, all decorations and lights.  
  • Place the tree at the curb on your regular service day for collection by the yard trimmings  truck.  
  • Trees free of decorations may also be deposited at the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park, 6464 Creekside Forest Dr and Research Forest Park & Ride, 3900 Marsico Pl. These trees will be chipped and used for flooring at Texas TreeVentures.

Flocked Christmas Tree Disposal  

  • Schedule for bulk pickup by calling Waste Management at 800-800-5804.
  • Call at least two working days before your regular service day.  
  • Flocked Christmas trees must be landfilled.  

Quick Tips for a Greener Holiday 

Greetings cards and packages fill our homes and warm our hearts during the holidays. Consider these tips for a greener Christmas and reduce the amount of holiday tidings that end up in the landfill. 

  • Recycle plain wrapping paper and flattened cardboard boxes in your curbside cart. Check out these Recycling Tips for the Online Shopper for help deciphering which items can be recycled and which cannot. 
  • Give a second life to your clean, gently-used clothing, housewares, toys, furniture and appliances by donating to local charitable organizations. Items should be in good, usable condition. Check out The Woodlands Donation Guide for a list of local organizations accepting donation. Many organizations will pick up your items. If you have an item that is not specified in the guide, call first to assure it is accepted. 
  • Find new recycling opportunities for items that cannot be recycled in your curbside cart. Items such as used electronics, batteries, Styrofoam, light bulbs, eyeglasses, mattresses and more can all be recycled locally at participating locations. Check out the Recycle More Guide for a complete list of locations and phone numbers. 

If wrapping paper is metallic, has glitter on it, or has a texture to it, it is not recyclable. Gift wrap mistakenly put in the recycling cart harms the value of other collected paper at the recycling center. Check this Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap Guide for sustainable wrapping tips. 


Questions or comments?

Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Community Recycling Update

Ever wonder where your recycling goes when it leaves your curb?

Comingled shipping boxes, water bottles, soup cans and cartons in The Woodlands are destined for recycling carts across our community and roll their way to the curb each week. Have you ever wondered where these materials go once Waste Management trucks pick them up?  

Our recyclables are transported from the curbside cart to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Houston. Once the truck arrives, it is weighed and recorded before the contents are dumped on the tipping floor. The material is then evaluated for contamination. If the material passes inspection it’s loaded into the recycling equipment where it goes through a series of specialized sorting machines.  

Watch the journey your recycling goes on. 

Each machine seen in the video is specialized to recover the specific items listed on the top of your recycling cart. Any other items are considered contamination meaning they do not get recycled, jeopardize worker safety, damage equipment, and weaken our recycling program.  

The most important rules to follow when recycling in The Woodlands  

  1. Do not bag your recyclables, throw them in the cart loose
  1. No plastic bags. Take plastic bags and other films to local grocery stores for proper recycling. 
  1. Only recycle the listed items in your cart. 

What’s the status of recycling in The Woodlands? 

Following the National Sword in 2018, market values of all recyclables were at an all-time low and headlines such as “Recycling is Dead” made the news. Although the recycling industry has changed from foreign to newly established domestic markets in recent years, The Woodlands recycling program remains strong. 

Recycling revenues are up 32% in the last quarter for Waste Management with the average commodity prices 60% higher than one year ago. Markets for materials collected in our program have remained steady. Profits are being reinvested in new technology to improve processing and supporting domestic markets. 

Our recycling program received recognition for Keep Texas Beautiful in 2022 for Outstanding Public Education and Outreach for the reduction of contamination by 30% in one year following the new cart tag education program. The current two-year contamination rate is 16.5%, well below the national average 25%, which is also the threshold that would impose increased processing fees.

The Woodlands residential solid waste program recycles an average of 12,000 tons per year, composts 1,500 tons of yard waste, and landfills 34,500 tons per year. An average of 39% of waste generated in the curbside residential program is diverted from the landfill annually. How can you help prevent the remaining 61% of trash from heading to the landfill?  

  1. Reduce the amount of waste you create.  
    • Remember to bring reusable tote bags, coffee cups, water bottles and other on-the-go containers or utensils. 
    • Shop sustainably. Choose products with minimal packaging. Purchase locally to reduce shipping material. Buy second hand, or even better, use what you have for as long as you can. 
    • Refuse plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and other single use plastics. 
  2. Donate gently worn clothing, furniture and home goods to local charitable organizations. Check out the Donation Guide for a complete list of locations and accepted items. 
  3. Recycle right and recycle more! 
    • Refresh your knowledge of which items are accepted in your recycling cart.  
    • Recycle beyond your curbside cart. Check out the Recycle More Guide for a list of locations to take items such as mattresses, electronics, batteries, lightbulbs, wine corks, food waste, household cleaners and much more. 

For questions, contact Environmental Services atenviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or 281-210-3800.  


Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:   

Recycling Dilemma #1010 – Textiles 

Recycling Dilemma #1009 – Recycling Dilemma #1009: Caution, that pizza box is cheesy! 

Recycling Dilemma #1008 – Plastic bags and film – Friend or Foe?  

Recycling Dilemma #1007 – How to stay caffeinated, sustainably   

Recycling Dilemma #1006 – Online Shopping   

Recycling Dilemma #1005 – Take-out Containers  

Recycling Dilemma #1004 – To bag or not to bag   

Recycling Dilemma #1003 – Moving Boxes and Oversized Cardboard   

Recycling Dilemma #1002 –  Got Stuff?   

Recycling Dilemma #1001–  Oversized Cardboard & Moving Boxes