The Austin Nature & Science Center’s Forest Trail is a permanent self-guided exhibit that includes forty-five trees planted and maintained site-wide to encourage the selection of native trees appropriate for commercial and residential landscapes in Austin and Central Texas. The exhibit’s artistic signage, in English and Spanish, identifies each tree with a common name and scientific name, mature height, tree facts, and whether it is deciduous or evergreen.
The exhibit’s catch phrase, Right Tree * Right Place * Right Reason, serves as an easy reminder to do some research and ask some questions before selecting and investing in a tree to ensure a successful long-term outcome that costs less to maintain, gives confidence that the chosen tree will fulfill its intended purpose, and avoids unintended problems as it grows. Choose the right tree by learning key facts about it. Consider why you are planting a tree and give thoughtful consideration to the tree’s role in the landscape along with what it will need to grow and thrive. Soil types, depth, and moisture content vary widely in this region and are a key factor in tree selection. Allow adequate room for the tree to grow to its natural height and width that considers proper spacing between trees and permanent elements like sidewalks, buildings, utilities in the ground and above, and aesthetics. A tree can live between fifteen and hundreds of years, depending on genus and species, so time spent considering these factors is well spent. The exhibit’s theme and focus is encouraging people to choose and plant trees regionally native to Central Texas because they are well adapted to Austin’s local conditions, sustain local wildlife, and are in keeping with its local identity. Wherever you live, please consider planting trees native to your location.
Austin’s urban forest—its tree canopy—is vital to water and air quality and helps mitigate the urban heat island effect. It’s a healthy and sustainable mix of trees, vegetation, and other components that comprise a contiguous and thriving ecosystem valued, protected, and cared for by the City and all of its citizens as an essential environmental, economic, and community asset.
Funding for the trail generously provided by a City of Austin - Urban Forest Grant. The Urban Forest Grant (UFG) has been established to promote conservation and improvement projects that benefit Austin’s urban forest.