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Going Native in Landscaping Your Austin, Texas Yard

Sep 8th 2015 at 6:25 AM

Planting or landscaping your Austin, Texas yard will not only enhance your homes beauty and value but will also help preserve the natural environment around it.

Austin is a unique area and with that comes a unique climate and unique soils. The climates in this part of Texas can be very hot with dry summers, so by planting native greenery. you are conserving water while enjoying all the benefits such plant life has. These principles include: Planning and Design, Soil Analysis, Appropriate Plant Selection, Practical Turf Areas, Efficient Irrigation, Use of Mulches, and Appropriate Maintenance.

To begin, Austin is broke into three distinct vegetation areas: the Edwards Plateau, the Blackland Prairie and the Post Oak Savannah. Within each of these areas are different soil types which therefore have different planting requirements. Where are these different types of soil regions and what are there requirements?

The Edwards Plateau is in the area west of Mopac. The terrain here is of rolling hills and steep slopes which brings along with it shallow soils. This area is also referred to as the beginning of the Texas Hill Country. In this area, the undeveloped land is still dominated by mesquites, oaks, and juniper trees. The land here is also very ecologically sensitive. When landscaping here you will want to limit the amount of fill dirt added and insure adequate drainage away from the foundation of your home.

You will also want to look for plants or trees that are native to the area. Besides the native trees, other trees that grow well here include Bur and chinquapin oaks, cedar elm, Mexican plum, Texas persimmon and Texas redbud. The Blackland Prairie is in the area east of the Balcones Fault. The soil in this area slopes gently and once was farmland. The more fertile areas near Del Valle and Govalle were used as truck gardens at the turn of the century.

Existing vegetation may include grasses and scrub brush. Existing trees may consist of oaks, pecans, and some cedars. Staying consistent with the natural landscape of the area, you will want to plant pecans, oaks, and Texas ash. Some shrub choices include cherry laurel, Indian hawthorn, oleander, Burford, Chinese, or yaupon holly. The Post Oak Savannah area is east of Austin. The soil in this area is sandy and slightly acidic. Planting plants that are also on the Blackland Prairie list may be appropriate for this area.

By having an analysis of your specific yard's soil and water needs, you can plant the right trees and shrubbery. In doing this, you will have healthier plants that require less maintenance, will be more disease and pest resistant and use the most minimum amounts of water.

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