Waterwise

Simmons Oak Farms

Five great things about Cedar Elm trees

By Mary Beth / November 22, 2021 /

We hear a lot these days about how important native trees and plants are. Cedar Elms are one of my favorite native Texas trees. Here are five of the things I most love about cedar elms! GREAT FOR URBAN YARDS! Cedar Elm doesn’t grow as wide a canopy as some shade trees so it’s a…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Wild Olive

By Mary Beth / November 21, 2020 /

Sunday was the perfect day to spend outdoors – cool and sunny.  After burning the branches already in the fire pit, we wandered through the yard trimming dead wood to keep the fire going.   It gave us a chance to take a good look at our trees – how they’ve grown, what looks good, and what…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Honey Mesquite

By Mary Beth / November 18, 2020 /

A signature plant of south Texas, the mesquite tree’s popularity as a landscape tree is growing rapidly.    Its spreading canopy gives dappled shade and relief from our brutal summer sun.      The mesquites pictured above are growing along a slope leading down to a resaca.   Mesquite trees are not picky about the soil…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Protect Your Investment

By Mary Beth / July 4, 2020 /

The following is a post from a few years ago on our old blog.    Since we are nearing our dry season, I thought it would be a good re-run! In our neck of the woods, we often go for months without measurable rain.   Driving around the Valley, it appears that lots of people have just thrown their arms in the…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Honey Mesquite Trees

By Mary Beth / July 3, 2020 /

The honey mesquite tree (Prosopis glandulosa) is a pod-bearing tree native to South Texas. This time of year, you may notice the sap oozing from parts of the trunk and branches. Well, that’s exactly why it’s called HONEY Mesquite. Some may say it’s for the sweet, honey producing flowers but I don’t think it’s that…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Chapote

By Mary Beth / May 1, 2020 /

Texas Persimmons, also known as Chapote, is a small semi-deciduous tree with dark  green leaves. It is often low forking or multi-trunked.   In South Texas, Texas Persimmons performs much like a live oak, retaining its leaves throughout the winter and then dropping them shortly before flushing fresh leaves in the spring.  It prefers well drained, alkaline soils.   …

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Spanish Dagger or Pita

By Mary Beth / March 30, 2020 /

Although not technically a tree, one of our favorite “trees” is Yucca trecleana, or Spanish Dagger.   This is a water-wise plant commonly found in brush lines and in the ranch country.    It has stiff wide leaves with extremely sharp tips.    I’ve read that an Indian tribe used these leaves to stab around…

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Rostrata Blooms

By Mary Beth / March 27, 2020 /

It is rare that I ever see a rostrata blooming. Ours were five years old before the first bloom – and then it wasn’t like the entire field bloomed – less than 5% had a flower stalk. The flower spikes are less structured than other Yuccas but the petals are large, airy, and quite striking.…

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Simmons Oak Farms

Texas Sabal

By Mary Beth / March 19, 2020 /

Texas Sabal is the one palm native to the Rio Grande Valley.  Twenty years ago, the last large native stand was in Brownsville but they are making a come-back.   Large specimens can be seen in many of the brushlines and native brush.   It looks similar to Florida’s cabbage palm but with a stockier…

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Simmons Oak Farms

‘Desert Museum’ Paloverde

By Mary Beth / January 17, 2020 /

Paloverde ‘Desert Museum’ gives us all the ease and beauty of a native desert tree without the thorns! We’ve grown them for about five years now and love them every bit as much as we thought we would. When we first planted them in the field, we were amazed at how fast they grew. They…

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