Texas Madrones

When we purchased the ranch it was originally named “The Lost Madrones.”   We knew there were a few madrone trees on the place, like there are around much of the Texas hill country.   What we did not know was that the ranch has one of the largest stands of “old growth” trees in Texas!   We found over 300 trees in one cedar infested area of the ranch all well over a hundred years old. The madrone tree is in the center of the photograph with a cedar tree on the left and a small oak tree on the right.  The madrones have a symbiotic relationship with the cedar trees.  The cedar trees provide shade and an acidic soil that they love.

The trees have amazing bark that peels off each year, changing color from a mild yellow to almost hot pink.

Some people call madrones “ladies leg” because of the smooth pink bark.

About half of the tree above died off during the 2011 drought.  We see this in many of the larger trees.  They apparently have the ability to sacrifice major limbs and allow them to die off while protecting only what the tree can support at the time. Within three to five years, this tree will look perfectly normal.  I wonder how many times this has happened to this tree?