LEGACY TREES PROGRAM

The Legacy Trees Program is committed to promoting the benefits of trees, supporting the cultural heritage of Texas, and engaging the public through volunteer and planting opportunities.

Trees help improve public health, the environment, and the economy. A healthy and well-managed urban forest maintains the composition, structure, and integrity of the forest ecosystem. Protecting and promoting these resources leads to cleaner air and water, reduced stormwater runoff, lower energy costs, and improved health.

With your help, Precinct 4 can grow into a greener, healthier place to work and live. Volunteer to care for heirloom fruit and nut trees along the trails or foster a historic tree. Want to help preserve history? Share in the heritage and development of Texas by fostering your own legacy tree. Schools, nonprofits, and Harris County Precinct 4 residents are invited to apply.

What is a Legacy Tree?
A historic, champion, or native heirloom fruit tree

  • One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • During a heavy rain storm, a healthy forest can absorb as much as 20,000 gallons of water in an hour.
  • Forested areas absorb 10-15 times more water than grassy areas.
  • Healthy trees can increase residential property values up to 15 percent.
  • Communities with trees may spend less money on stormwater management infrastructure.
  • Customers are willing to pay up to 10 percent more for certain goods and services on a tree-lined street.
  • Trees act as natural water filters that can reduce stormwater runoff, soil erosion, and flooding.
  • Streets with little or no shade need to be repaved twice as often as those with tree cover.
  • For every dollar invested in planting, cities see an average of $2.25 return on investment each year.

1. When do I plant? Planting season begins in the fall and continues through the early spring. The best time to plant is immediately following leaf drop to give the tree plenty of time to establish a healthy root system before summer.

2. What species? Consider your area’s environment before selecting a tree species. Are you planting in wet lowlands or dry uplands? Do you need a tree that primarily provides shade or protection from the wind?

3. Where? Check for utilities and infrastructure that the tree may eventually obstruct. Always call Texas 811 before you dig to avoid planting over utilities.

4. Preparing your tree: Cut away any circling or matted roots, and quarter the bottom half of the root ball with a sharpshooter. Dig a broad hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Backfill the hole with native soil so that the top of the root ball will sit at ground level.

5. Planting: Lift the tree by the root ball and situate it so that the trunk is straight and the root ball sits at ground level. You can adjust the depth of your hole by backfilling it with native soil. Once the tree is in position, fill the hole with native soil. Staking isn’t necessary unless the tree is leaning.

6. Mulching: Add a 2- to 4-inch mulch layer extending out 2 feet from the center of the tree or to the tree’s drip line. Make sure that the mulch is
not piled against the trunk like a mulch volcano, as this may cause decay and attract critters.

7. Tree protection: Protect the tree with a cage to ensure landscaping activities and wildlife do not damage the trunk.

8. Aftercare: Water your tree infrequently and deeply for best root development. Monitor the soil moisture with your finger or a soil probe until the tree is established. Continue to monitor the tree for diseases, pests, and heat stress.

HOW TREES HELP

The Economy
Trees increase business value,
home value, and conserve energy.

Your Healing
Patients after surgery have faster recovery times with a scenic tree view.

Your Lungs
Trees help provide clean air.

The Environment
Trees preserve wildlife habitat, prevent soil erosion, and reduce the urban heat island effect and noise pollution.

Your Nutrition
Fruit & nuts from trees contain antioxidants and healthy fats.

Your Comfort
Trees reduce temperatures up to 20°F and also provide skin protection.

Your Growth
Children who are raised around trees are healthier.

Social Environments
Trees beautify neighborhoods, improve mental health, and reduce crime rates.

Our Goals:

Planting and caring for urban trees to create healthier, more beautiful communities

Preserving the historic trees of Texas

Promoting the regional and global benefits of trees

Activities and Projects

  • Foster-A-Legacy Tree
  • Orchard beautification
  • Tree plantings
  • Festivals and educational events
  • Precinct 4 GeoChallenge and Trails As Parks Passport Series

Historical Trees of Texas

Century Tree

Century Tree

Dating back to the early 1900s, the Century Tree resides on the Texas A&M campus in College Station. Countless marriage proposals and weddings held under its canopy give rise to an Aggie legend that if you walk underneath the tree with someone you are dating, you will remain together forever.

Liberty Courthouse Oak

Liberty Courthouse Oak

The Liberty Courthouse Oak adorns the corner of the courthouse square in Liberty. The tree has been a fixture throughout Liberty’s history, standing alongside seven courthouses, two presidents of the Republic of Texas, and numerous political speeches.

Panna Maria Oaks

Panna Maria Oaks

After Polish immigrants endured hardship sailing and trekking through harsh land for several weeks, they held their first mass under the Panna Maria Oaks in Karnes County. It became the site of the first Polish church in the United States.

Battle Oaks

Battle Oaks

ThThree Battle Oak trees are all that remain of a once larger oak grove that existed during establishment of the original University of Texas campus. According to legend, these trees survived Civil War troops collecting the grove’s wood to build a fortress in 1883 to protect the Texas Capitol. The trees were threatened again in 1923 by the planned expansion of the University of Texas. Fortunately, a faculty member named Dr. William Battle saved the trees from the axe and they now bear his name.

Baptist Oaks

Baptist Oaks

In 1849, early settlers met under the Baptist Oak in Goliad to coordinate the first Baptist church west of the Guadalupe River. The torn limb depicted in the picture occurred in 2011 when a large vehicle struck the tree. Though the tree has endured multiple damaging incidents, it continues to stand strong.

Choctaw Robinson Oak

Choctaw Robinson Oak

Choctaw Bill, one of the first settlers in Hazel Dell, preached to the Choctaw Indians under the Choctaw Robinson Oak for hours on end. The shady tree was conveniently located across from a saloon and post office, ensuring that the preacher had a regular audience.

Wiemers Oak

Wiemers Oak

Named for John Weimers and his wife, the Weimers Oak was the site of many Methodist Episcopal church services and conversions. Weimers later donated land near the tree to construct a larger church building for the growing congregation.

Borden Oak

Borden Oak

After the Great Storm of Galveston in 1900 prompted raising the entire island, Thomas Henry Borden ensured the protection of the Borden Oak by constructing a dike around the tree to keep out any salt fill. After completion of the grading, the hole was filled with fresh soil and water. The tree’s base now stands approximately 5 feet below ground level.

Church Oak

Church Oak

Much of the history of the Church Oak has been lost over the years, except for a concrete marker placed in 1917 inscribed with the words, “Folklore says that here, in the dawn of Texas history, stood an Indian Village in which one of the early missionaries lingered many days; that here a vision of the chief’s daughter freed the first German in Texas. Tradition says that under this tree, mass was offered by the Abbe Em Domenech in 1849.”

Courthouse Cedar

Courthouse Cedar

Colonel Harvey Mitchell, known as the Father of Brazos County, dug up a small cedar sapling from the banks of the Navasota River in 1854 and moved it to the grounds of a new courthouse in Boonville. Over the years, the tree was moved to three other courthouses before finding a permanent location in 1870 at the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan.

Deaf Smith Oak

Deaf Smith Oak

In the early 1800s, during Texas’ fight for independence from Mexico, frontiersman and military spy Erastus “Deaf” Smith climbed the Deaf Smith Oak to scout Mexican troops moving into the Cibolo Creek area. Smith suffered permanent hearing loss because of a childhood disease. Despite this difficulty, he achieved success and became a role model for the hearing impaired.

Hero Tree

Hero Tree

When Texas Air National Guard Captain Gary Herod’s plane stalled over Meyerland in 1961, he guided the disabled plane away from a heavily populated subdivision to an open field and fatally crashed. Because of Herod’s actions, there were no other casualties that day. The City of Meyerland dedicated a tree in his honor, but in 2018 the tree developed crown rot and had to be removed. Sprouts from the tree were gathered and are now part of Precinct 4’s historical tree collection.

Kissing Oak

Kissing Oak

Just a block down from the Log Cabin Oak in San Marcos stands the Kissing Oak. The tree is named for Senator Sam Houston’s gesture of kissing women supporters at the end of his gubernatorial speeches during his race against Hardin R. Runnels.

Kyle Auction Oak

Kyle Auction Oak

In 1880, property owner and state representative Fergus Kyle, along with the family of David Moore, donated 200 acres of land to the International-Great Northern Railroad to build a station between Austin and San Marcos. An auction held under the Kyle Auction Oak sold the remaining lots to businesses and residents in what would become the booming town of Kyle.

Log Cabin Oaks

Log Cabin Oaks

The Log Cabin Oaks are remnants of the area where a log cabin was located that served as a school and community center for early settlers and later as Hays County’s first courthouse. In 1874, a large fire destroyed the cabin and damaged many of the oaks in the grove.

Century Tree

Masonic Oaks

In March 1835, five Master Masons including Anson Jones, who would later become the first Grand Master of Texas Masonic Lodges and the third president of the Republic of Texas, gathered under the Masonic Oak in Brazoria to organize the first Masonic Order of Texas.

Old Evergreen Tree

Old Evergreen Tree

Located in Lee County’s earliest settlement, the Old Evergreen Tree was once the hub of the town of Evergreen when the community was a railway stop between Austin and Houston. One of the earliest known visitors to the tree was the French-Canadian explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, who surveyed El Camino Real that is now State Highway 21.

Ranger Oaks

Ranger Oaks

This oak grove in Seguin provided a sheltered campground to the original Texas Rangers as they defended the new Texas Republic from Mexican and Comanche attacks. The company, led by John Coffee “Jack” Hays, Captain Mathew Caldwell, and James Hughes Callahan, formed the Gonzales-Seguin Rangers in 1839.

Runaway Scrape Oak

Runaway Scrape Oak

Also known as the Sam Houston Oak, the Runaway Scrape Oak in Gonzales County was previously named for the flight of settlers following defeat at the Alamo. General Sam Houston stood under this oak and ordered an evacuation as the Mexican army was closing in, just 46 days away from the decisive Battle of San Jacinto.

Treaty Oak

Treaty Oak

Known as the Father of the Forest by Native Americans, the Treaty Oak is a unique icon recognized by settlers, historians, and arborists for its massive spreading crown and as the site of special worship ceremonies. The tree existed before Stephen F. Austin signed the first boundary agreement with natives, endured development in the 1920s, and narrowly survived being poisoned by a vandal in 1989.

LEGACY TREES PROGRAM

The Legacy Trees Program is committed to promoting the benefits of trees, supporting the cultural heritage of Texas, and engaging the public through volunteer and planting opportunities.

Trees help improve public health, the environment, and the economy. A healthy and well-managed urban forest maintains the composition, structure, and integrity of the forest ecosystem. Protecting and promoting these resources leads to cleaner air and water, reduced stormwater runoff, lower energy costs, and improved health.

With your help, Precinct 4 can grow into a greener, healthier place to work and live. Volunteer to care for heirloom fruit and nut trees along the trails or foster a historic tree. Want to help preserve history? Share in the heritage and development of Texas by fostering your own legacy tree. Schools, nonprofits, and Harris County Precinct 4 residents are invited to apply.

What is a Legacy Tree?
A historic, champion, or native heirloom fruit tree

  • One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
  • During a heavy rain storm, a healthy forest can absorb as much as 20,000 gallons of water in an hour.
  • Forested areas absorb 10-15 times more water than grassy areas.
  • Healthy trees can increase residential property values up to 15 percent.
  • Communities with trees may spend less money on stormwater management infrastructure.
  • Customers are willing to pay up to 10 percent more for certain goods and services on a tree-lined street.
  • Trees act as natural water filters that can reduce stormwater runoff, soil erosion, and flooding.
  • Streets with little or no shade need to be repaved twice as often as those with tree cover.
  • For every dollar invested in planting, cities see an average of $2.25 return on investment each year.

1. When do I plant? Planting season begins in the fall and continues through the early spring. The best time to plant is immediately following leaf drop to give the tree plenty of time to establish a healthy root system before summer.

2. What species? Consider your area’s environment before selecting a tree species. Are you planting in wet lowlands or dry uplands? Do you need a tree that primarily provides shade or protection from the wind?

3. Where? Check for utilities and infrastructure that the tree may eventually obstruct. Always call Texas 811 before you dig to avoid planting over utilities.

4. Preparing your tree: Cut away any circling or matted roots, and quarter the bottom half of the root ball with a sharpshooter. Dig a broad hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball. Backfill the hole with native soil so that the top of the root ball will sit at ground level.

5. Planting: Lift the tree by the root ball and situate it so that the trunk is straight and the root ball sits at ground level. You can adjust the depth of your hole by backfilling it with native soil. Once the tree is in position, fill the hole with native soil. Staking isn’t necessary unless the tree is leaning.

6. Mulching: Add a 2- to 4-inch mulch layer extending out 2 feet from the center of the tree or to the tree’s drip line. Make sure that the mulch is
not piled against the trunk like a mulch volcano, as this may cause decay and attract critters.

7. Tree protection: Protect the tree with a cage to ensure landscaping activities and wildlife do not damage the trunk.

8. Aftercare: Water your tree infrequently and deeply for best root development. Monitor the soil moisture with your finger or a soil probe until the tree is established. Continue to monitor the tree for diseases, pests, and heat stress.

Activities and Projects

  • Foster-A-Legacy Tree
  • Orchard beautification
  • Tree plantings
  • Festivals and educational events
  • Precinct 4 GeoChallenge and Trails As Parks Passport Series

Our Goals:

Planting and caring for urban trees to create healthier, more beautiful communities

Preserving the historic trees of Texas

Promoting the regional and global benefits of trees

HOW TREES HELP

Your Comfort
Trees reduce temperatures up to 20°F and also provide skin protection.

Your Healing
Patients after surgery have faster recovery times with a scenic tree view.

Your Nutrition
Fruit & nuts from trees contain antioxidants and healthy fats.

Your Growth
Children who are raised around trees are healthier.

The Environment
Trees preserve wildlife habitat, prevent soil erosion, and reduce the urban heat island effect and noise pollution.

Social Environments
Trees beautify neighborhoods, improve mental health, and reduce crime rates.

Your Lungs
Trees help provide clean air.

The Economy
Trees increase business value, home value, and conserve energy.