By Jeff Ray

by Jeff Ray | CBS 11 Meteorologist

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Arbor Day is always the first Friday in November.

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While the National Arbor Day is in the spring time, the TEXAS Arbor Day is in the fall.

Why?

Because of the Texas heat.

The best time to plant a tree or shrub in this area is in fall.

This way the plant has the cool season to settle in, have its roots grow out (roots grow year around in trees and shrubs), and increase its chance of survival in its first summer of hot and dry.

Like many suburban home owners, I have a modest-sized yard.

I only have ONE tree in the front yard, a Bradford Pear I inherited.

My backyard has a couple of dwarf pomegranate trees and a mid-size fig tree.

I’ll be doing a story on the fate of my Bradford tree later this season (these are NOT one of my favorite trees).

But if you are considering adding a tree this Arbor Day consider a mid-sized ornamental tree.

These are trees that get between 20-25 feet tall and about 15 feet  around. They offer up some kind of flower or colorful feature.

They won’t shade your yard too much but still offer a nice vertical feature in the landscape.

This week I feature three trees for your consideration.

The first is a native redbud tree.

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There are several varieties to choose from; they has slightly different looks and sizes to consider.

All of them do very well in this area.

They are both drought and disease tolerant and produce a lovely red flower in early spring.

The flowers then turn into a seed pod that birds will feast upon later in the year.

I have to admit, redbuds are my go-to choice for a mid-size tree. I love the heart-shaped leaves and their brilliant fall foliage.

The other tree is a specific variety of a magnolia called Little Gem.

This tree will be about 20-25 feet at full maturity. It is a good tree to hid a fence or window behind since it stays green all year. In the spring it produces a beautiful and fragrant large white flower.

The third option is more of a shrub than a tree.

It is all in the way you prune it.

The Burford Holly is an extremely common plant here in North Texas.

I have two of them on my property, both of them females so I get this wonderfully bright red berries on them through the winter. I’ve shaped mine into a tree form, both are about 10-12 feet high.

You can keep them short and compact if this fits the space better but they’ll get about 15 feet high with you prune them into a tree shape.

All three of these trees are easy to find at your local nursery. You might have noticed in new construction the use of the Little Gem magnolia is getting very common.

There are some camps who argue that the disease problems with crepe myrtles make the redbud the better “North Texas” tree.

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You won’t go wrong with any of the three choices I have here. Just remember there are two great times to plant a tree: ten years ago and right now.