DALLAS – Thousands of unique Texas Star bur oak trees, a product of the Texas A&M Forest Service Urban Tree Improvement Program, soon will be dotting the state’s landscape in an effort to conserve energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve storm water management.
Texas Star bur oaks are acorn-bearing trees tailored to Texas, selected from genetic families proven to perform well in the state’s tough climate. They can reach heights of more than 80 feet and have heavy branches that form an open, spreading crown of dark green foliage.
Geneticist Tom Byram said the Texas Star bur oaks were hand-picked for an Arbor Day Foundation energy saving program because of their durability.
“Initially, native trees growing in urban environments were identified,” he said. “We collected acorns from these trees and planted them in replicated field trials at multiple locations. Outstanding selections from the best families in these field evaluations were grafted into orchards and managed for acorn production.”
Oncor, a Texas-based electricity provider, is sponsoring the donation of 12,000 Texas Star bur oaks to its customers through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Energy-Saving Trees program, which promotes conserving energy and reducing household electricity bills through strategic tree planting.
“We’re excited about Oncor’s involvement in this program,” said Gretchen Riley, Tree Line USA coordinator for Texas A&M Forest Service. “Not only do their customers have the opportunity to receive free trees specifically selected for the urban environment, but Texans as a whole will reap the benefits of trees planted through this program.”
Customers can reserve up to two trees per household at arborday.org/oncor. An online tool allows users to find the most strategic location to plant their tree and estimates the resulting energy savings. The 12,000 trees are estimated to yield more than $2 million in energy savings within 20 years as well as other benefits, including cleaner air, reduced carbon dioxide emissions and improved storm water management.
Find out more about the Energy-Saving Trees Program by visiting the Arbor Day Foundation website.