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

3R Drive-thru: Light Bulb Recycling

Recycle Light Bulbs; earn scholarship funds for your village!

If you feel in the dark about light bulb disposal, here’s a bright idea: recycle used light bulbs to earn scholarship money! The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department has selected Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs for the annual Village Recycling Challenge held at the 3R Recycling Drive-thru on Saturday, November 12, 2022 from 9 a.m. to noon in The Woodlands High School’s parking lot. Light bulbs must be intact, not broken. Batteries and other listed items will also be accepted. This event is for residents only, no businesses. 

This year’s Recycling Village Challenge shines a light on the importance of responsible waste disposal. Recycling light bulbs saves material that can be reused, reduces landfill space, and keeps hazardous chemicals out of our environment. Although they are made of glass, metal and plastic, light bulbs cannot be recycled in your curbside cart.


How are light bulbs recycled?

Light bulbs are put through a machine, called a tumbler, which crushes and separates the primary components: glass, metal, plastic, mercury and phosphor. These materials are then stored for manufacturing into new items.  


Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) contain a small amount of mercury gas. If CFLs are disposed of in a trash can or landfill, the glass can crack and release mercury into the environment. Chemicals from CFLs and other hazardous waste, such as batteries that end up in the landfill, can leach into the surrounding water table, endangering human health and aquatic habitats. CFLs and other household hazardous waste should always be treated with care and safely disposed of through special collections. If you are saving CFL bulbs for recycling, please store them in a safe place such as their original box to avoid damage. 

Want to save money, energy and even water? 

LED light bulbs use 80% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs, saving energy, money and even water. They also pose almost no fire risk because they emit  less heat than other bulbs. LED lightbulbs may cost more up front, but they’ll save you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the years because of efficiency and long life span.  

Join us for free recycling of select items and support your village by bringing Incandescent, Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and LED light bulbs to the 3R Recycling Drive-thru for the Village Recycling Challenge. The village that collects the most will receive a donation to its scholarship fund from The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N.  

Can’t make it to 3R Recycling Drive-thru?  

That’s ok! The Montgomery County Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring), Home Depot, Lowes, Batteries Plus and Best Buy accept different types of light bulbs all year. For a comprehensive list of local recycling opportunities of other oddities such as electronics, batteries, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more check out the Recycle More Guide.  

For more information, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/3rdrivethru

From Bags to Benches

Closing the recycling loop in The Woodlands

Did you know? Every ounce of plastic ever created is still with us. Breaking down into ever-smaller particles, plastic never fully disappears or forms a new compound. Since plastic remains an integral part of our lives, recycling is critical for protecting the environment. We all know that plastic bottles and containers belong in the recycle cart, but what about plastic bags and film?

Plastic bags and film cannot be recycled in your curbside recycling cart.

Why not? Your recycling cart delivers a mixed load of materials to the recycling facility – this is known as single stream recycling. Once there, the jumble is sorted into discrete bales of recyclables – aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, glass, and plastic containers. Contamination is filtered out and landfilled. The more contaminants that enter the system, the harder it is to produce bales of quality recyclables.

Plastic bags and film top the list of contaminants. Hoses, wires, textiles, and Styrofoam are a close second. They wrap around equipment, clog filters, and force the line to stop for cleaning and repair. These interruptions increase the cost to process the material, harming its marketability and the success of our recycling program.

Recycle more at the store! Although plastic bags and film cannot go in your recycling cart, they CAN be recycled at participating locations including all grocery stores in The Woodlands. Any plastic bag or film that is clean, dry, and stretchy can go back to the store for proper recycling.

Click here for a printable version of this tip card

What happens next? Each year, tons of plastic film are turned into composite lumber – a plasticized material used in park benches, picnic tables, decks, fences, and playground equipment. This material is commonly used in our parks and pedestrian bridges.

Want to learn more about plastic film recycling in The Woodlands? Visit us at the next Plastic Film Outreach Day this Saturday, July 30, 2022 at H-E-B in Creekside Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. An expert will be available to answer questions and provide examples of recyclables films. Reusable produce bags and shopping lists will be available while supplies last.

Want to recycle MORE? Check out this the Recycle More Guide for locations to recycle items such as batteries, electronics, Styrofoam and more at  www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/recyclemore. For questions, contact Environmental Services at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov or 281-210-3800. 

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:  

It’s Pollinator Week!

Celebrate the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles during National Pollinator Week, June 20-26 2022. 

A celebration of pollination 

When pollen is moved within a flower, or carried from one flower to another, it leads to fertilization, an essential step in reproducing flowers, fruit, and plants. The vast majority of flowering plants depend on insects and animals for pollination, including 35% of the world’s food crops like almonds, coffee, avocados and so much more. 

More than 99% of pollinators are beneficial insects – flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths and bees. Unfortunately, pollinator populations are in decline, mostly due to pesticides and the loss of feeding and nesting habitat.  

Ten Things You Can Do in Your Yard to Encourage Pollinators 

1. Plant a pollinator garden—provide nectar and feeding plants (flowers and herbs). Visit our website for more information on planting a pollinator garden or register your existing garden. 

2. Provide a water source—place shallow dishes of water in sunny areas or create a muddy spot. 

3. Provide shelter and overwintering habitat (bee boxes, undisturbed soil areas, and piles of woody debris). 

4. Stop using pesticides. Use natural alternatives

5. Provide sunny areas out of the wind – a sun drenched stone near a shrub is a perfect place to rest and recharge. 

6. Plant native species. Mimic local natural areas by selecting native plants. Bluebonnets and black-eyed susans aren’t just roadside beauties. Make your pollinator garden a showstopper with native plants and wildflowers for your neighbors and pollinators to enjoy.   

7. Grow flowers throughout the seasons. Provide a variety of colors and shapes. 

8. Plant in clumps and layers. Use trees, shrub layers, with some low growing perennials and vines—intermix with flowering annuals. 

9. Use compost instead of commercial fertilizers. 

10. Look but do not touch. More than being mindful of a potential sting, pollinators are delicate insects easily harmed if handled. Take a photo instead! 


Come celebrate pollinators, and more of our natural world, on Saturday, June 25. Join the Environmental Services Department and nature specialists at our annual BioBlitz. Learn about our migrating bird populations, try your hand at insect identification, explore the weird world of mushrooms and investigate what’s living in our waterways.  

Stop by the Recreation Center at Rob Fleming Park with the whole family between 8 – 11 a.m. Bring your mobile device to access the iNaturalist app and make as many observations as you can while exploring the recreation campus and the nearby George Mitchell Nature Preserve. Staff will be available to assist with iNaturalist. 

Click the button below for more information on this free event.