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My love affair with trees began early. As a kid, I climbed everything that stood still, but trees were my favorite obstacle. My two favorite trees were a catalpa and a mimosa, both smooth-barked trees in our yard in Pittsburg, Texas.
Unfortunately, mimosa trees are weak and dying out across the country. The catalpa is still on my good tree list, even though most of the rest of the world considers it a trash tree. Well, that's what this book is about - horticultural details as well as my opinions on whether and how to use the various trees available in Texas.
After I grew up and quit climbing them, trees became enormously important to me for another reason. During my conversion to organics in the late 1980's, I was astonished to find how well trees responded to the organic method. Once residential and commercial projects ceased using high nitrogen, synthetic fertilizers and toxic chemical pesticides, the trees on these projects almost immediately took on a better appearance and started to grow at a faster rate than before the change. The one tree that taught me the most is a gingko in my own backyard in the Lakewooed area of Dallas. I didn't understand the deatils in the beginning - I just knew it was working. Now I do understand the secret. That wonderfully simple secret is actually no secret at all. In general what happened is that I discovered Mother Nature's plan - a perfect plan that is in some ways too simple for most folks to buy into at first. The secret? Imitate nature as closely as you can: (1) Select adapted plants and plant them correctly at the proper time and in the right location. (2) Don't do anything that hurts the life in ths soil.
It's really that simple. You will find the details of this basic plan in the firlst chapter, and then special instructions for particular trees under the appropriate entries.
I hope you will find this book easy to use, but I encourage your suggestions.
Welcome to the common sense approach to dealing with Texas' most wonderful plants.