The Best Websites for North Texas Gardeners

Shades of Green is committed to helping you succeed at gardening and landscaping in North Texas. We have a great staff of certified professionals ready and able to answer your plant-related questions. But we know we can’t always be there. Sometimes you have questions after-hours, or maybe you just want to do some research. As way of helping during those times, we’ve compiled this list of great resources that should be able to answer any question you might have. If not, please contact us.

Before you start digging holes…

Texas811When you need to know where underground utilities are located before you dig, contact Texas811. Utility companies, in partnership with the North Texas Damage Prevention Council, will mark your lines at no cost to you.

Soil Testing

Soil Testing – If you need a soil test, this is where you go to do it. Just download the forms, follow the steps, and mail in your samples.


Aggie Turf – Designed to be a comprehensive site for Texas turfgrasses, selection & management considerations, pest control, and other useful information. Especially helpful are the information pages on turfgrasses, weeds, insects, and diseases.


Know your rights as a homeowner per S.B. 198. This article from The Dallas Morning News explains what HOAs can and can’t do with regard to saving water, composting, and more.

Growing Vegetables, Fruits & Nuts

How to Grow Vegetables – Growing vegetables in North Texas is not for the faint of heart. We have every known pest plus heat, drought, wind, and excessive rain – sometimes all the same month! This great resource from the experts at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will provide the information you need to succeed.

Fall Vegetable Gardening Guide for Texas – Vegetables aren’t just a Spring & Summer thing in North Texas. You can also plant a fall crop. This resource from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension will tell you how.

Fruit & Nut Rescources from Texas A&M Agrilife Extension – Has downloadable PDFs for over two dozen fruit & nut producing plants.

Frisco, McKinney, & Collin County

City of Frisco Water Resources – Weekly watering recommendations, what to water, when to water, how to water, and more. A great resource for Collin County residents whether you live in Frisco or not.

The Frisco Garden Club – The Frisco Garden Club is a volunteer organization tasked with the beautification of our great city. They provide educational programs to members on various aspects of gardening.

Green McKinney – Environmental education and community outreach from the City of McKinney. They offer a variety of courses and events throughout the year.

Collin County Master Gardeners – If you’re new to gardening, to Collin County, or both, this is a great resource. They offer classes and workshops and have a lot of highly useful content on their website.

Collin County AgriLife Extension – A statewide network of professional educators and trained volunteers, AgriLife Extension offers an array of educational programs, activities and resources in support of their mission to help Texans better their lives.

Native Plant Society of Texas – A non-profit organization, run by volunteers, sponsoring educational programs, workshops, demonstration gardens and many other types of projects to protect our state’s native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations. They have a Collin County Chapter.

Plants for Dallas – Plant library with a short list of the best trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses, vines, groundcovers, and perennials for the DFW area.

Plants Toxic to Dogs & Cats

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has an extensive database of plants that lists the toxicity to dogs, cats & horses.

Plant Databases – Flowers, Trees, & More

We’re often asked, “What plants are native?” That’s a hard question to answer because Texas is a huge state, with a LOT of native plants. Even if we narrow it down a bit, to just our little part of the Lone Star State, it’s still a long list. Collin County is part of the Blackland Prairie ecoregion, known for it’s heavy clay soils and open grassland (though not so open anymore). If you’d like to know what’s native to here, click here to see all 2,376 plants!

Best of Texas Landscape Plant Database – A great, easy to use, searchable database of plants that are proven to perform in Texas. Search by color, type, sun exposure, and more.

Native Plants of Texas Search Engine – While there are thousands of plants in Dave’s Garden, this search engine narrows your search to Native Texas Plants, including naturalized and cultivars.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – The University of Texas at Austin Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the State Botanic Garden and Arboretum of Texas. The Center promotes its mission to inspire the conservation of native plants through its internationally recognized sustainable gardens, education and outreach programs, research projects, and consulting work. Their searchable database contains over 10,050 species.

Crape Myrtle Varieties – This extensive list provides the name of the cultivar, flower color, height, and more to help you select the Crape Myrtle that’s right for you.

Texas Tree Guide – This useful site by the Texas A&M Forest Service makes it easy to search for the best tree for your landscape.

Native Trees of Texas – An extensive list of all the trees native to Texas with very detailed information on each.

Texas Tree ID – Got a tree but don’t know what it is? You could ask use here at Shades of Green or use this site from the Texas A&M Forest Service. Or you can just browse their extensive list of Texas Trees.

Texas SmartScape™ – Based on water-efficient landscape principles, the Texas SmartScape™ program promotes the use of plants suited to our region’s soil, climate, and precipitation that don’t require much — if any — additional irrigation, pesticides, fertilizer, or herbicides to thrive. The site has a good plant database.

Dave’s Garden – Search over 160,000 plants and connect with gardeners across the USA. This site has been around for years and is a favorite resource for many plant lovers.

Texas Urban Landscape Guide – Offers information on environment-friendly plants and practices for the challenging Texas landscape. Use their “plant selector” for helpful ideas.

All America Selections – The oldest, independent testing organization of flower and vegetable varieties in North America. AAS WINNERS have been “Tested Nationally & Proven Locally™” for garden superiority by horticulture professionals across North America.

Dallas Plant Trials – The main focus of the Trial Gardens at the Dallas Arboretum is to grow and evaluate many different plants in the drastic climate of the Metroplex and North Central Texas, and develop new plant selections. Of special note is the Plant Library and FlameProof Plants.

Texas Superstar – Texas Superstar® Plants are tested and selected for superstar performance in the Texas EARTH–KIND® landscape. You’ll find a solid selection of annuals, perennials, trees, and shrubs.

Earth-Kind Landscape – A program of Aggie Horticulture® that encourages landscape water conservation, reduction of fertilizer and pesticide use, landscaping for energy conservation, and reduction of landscape wastes entering landfills.

Water University – Their plant database has information on hundreds of native and adapted plants.

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