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Here are some ideas for your Houston gardens from Nmc woodlands specialists in tree care.
Personally I like the Japanese maples I also like red maples which are very different form Japanese maples.
In general, Japanese maples like partial sun, preferably with an eastern sunny exposure to promote leaf coloration, with protection from the western sun. Avoid full sun and sites with reflected heat. When grown in mostly shaded sites, they will not have as intense fall coloration as those receiving more sun. But remember some of the Japanese maples cant handle full sunlight. Deep green-foliaged varieties will tolerate almost full sun, while variegated varieties need even more shade.
Maples must have good drainage. If soil is poorly drained, it should be amended with compost, aged bark, or other organic material to improve drainage, and the soil mounded up above grade at least 3 to 6 inches. This will insure that the crown of the tree will not be in soggy soil. The crown ( is where the roots and the trunk of the tree meet) should never be below grade.
For gardening in the shade consider these ideas that you can use in your yard. Be ready to give up the grass! Think about shade gardening and using ferns hostas and hydrangeas.
Here in Houston a lot of lawn care services are trying to provide garden and pest control , there not qualified and we often see a lot of damage from their services, usually not treating the pest problems and proper diagnosis , its best to hire a professional or do it your self.
Consider putting in a fruit tree
Fruit Types. Not all types of fruits and berries will grow well in East Texas. Some are easier to grow than others. For example, rabbit-eye blueberries are very well adapted to East Texas conditions, as are blackberries and figs so check out what grows well in zone 8 the Houston area.
Remember regular pest control ends up saving you money before the insects do their damage.
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