Land Stewardship > Vegetation Management

Vegetation can serve a variety of purposes depending upon your land objectives.

Vegetation can provide food and shelter for wildlife.  Vegetation can stabilize soils and increase water infiltration.  Vegetation can provide resources for landowners and a greater society by their ability to provide forage and sustenance.   Vegetation can be described in many ways.  However, based on management in Central Texas, we will group them as trees, grasses, crops, and weeds.

Vegetation growth, diversity, and management begin with the soils underneath.  Learn the soils on your land by visiting Web Soil Survey.  This site will identify the soils on your property and provide information regarding range productivity, erosion potential, pond-site potential, and many other factors to help you manage the land.  After studying this information, contact a professional for help in using this information for conservation and stewardship planning on your property.

Plant ID and Plant Selector Websites


Selecting Trees to Promote or Plant

Proper trees often fit within a cover type or ecological type on your land.  Your land and the trees suitable to it can be grouped in categories such as Riparian, Bottomland, Slopes, and Upland.  The area nearest to a stream is called Riparian.  Trees in a Riparian zone have the added responsibility of stabilizing the stream bank.  A Bottomland forest is typically made of deciduous trees such as Pecan, American Elm, and Bur Oak.  These often provide food and cover for wildlife and birds.  Trees on Slopes are especially important in draws or gullies to help slow water flow.  Upland areas of your land often benefit from trees when cover is needed for wildlife.  These "trees" can be tall like live oak, or they may take shrub forms like shinnery oak or sumac. 

Tree Planting

Tree Care


Grass Management (see also Livestock Management)

A critical measure of rangeland health is the amount of residual forage left after grazing.  When land is overgrazed, the number of desirable plants decreases while the number of undesirable plants increases. When land is grazed properly, there is a reserve of leaf and stem left so that the plants recover.  This residual forage protects the plant crown from cold, heat and insect damage.  Documents found at show how leaving residual increases future range productivity and cattle production.  Good rules of thumb to follow include:


Crop Management

Growing crops for food or livestock forage has occurred thoughout Central Texas.  However, the economics of farming dry, erodible lands in the past has led to a shrinking of current land being used for farming.  Still, proper farming of crops should consider not only economics but also erosion control practices. 


Weed Management

Often described as any plant found where it is disruptive or not-useful, weeds can spark emotion and a determined response.  When applying weed control techniques, careful consideration of the economics and consequences of control will help make a lasting-positive impact on your land.  Based on Central Texas management, we will group weeds as brush and herbaceous.

Brush Management (see also Brush Management)

The first step in managing brush is to be clear of your land objectives.  Depending upon your goals and knowledge of plant uses, brush may quickly become a "visual screen" or "wildlife cover".  After gaining knowledge about your land objectives, it may be time to assess each woody species and determine where and how it should be decreased or managed.  Remember that you don't have to clear it all to be successful.  Any brush management is best done in phases.  You will learn something nearly every time you thin or clear an area, and mistakes are hard to take back.


Herbaceous is any plant which does not form wood.  Some such as star thistle grow low to the ground and harm livestock.  Others such as Johnson grass can invade fields taking water and nutrients from crops.