Freeze threat is low; it’s time to plant

Plant Away! Plant Away!

We have just passed our last average frost day for central Oklahoma and it is generally safe, in fact it is the prime season, to plant just about everything green and growing. Our night temperatures will still get a little cool for another couple of weeks so you may want to delay planting the most hot blooded summer plants like periwinkle, caladiums, okra and black eyed peas to the first of May or after.

Most trees, shrubs, annuals and perennials are container grown with the roots well established in soil so we can now transplant year round instead of just early in the spring with the bareroot plants like our grandparents often transplanted.

Now that the risk of frost is pretty much behind us the quicker you plant most plants the better they will get established before confronting our hot, dry punishing summer weather. Early planting allows your plants to grow larger this season and gives you more time to enjoy the color and harvest from your plants.  Your cool season vegetables should already be growing well but now is the time to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the many types of herbs you may want to grow as you produce your own fresh food.

This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs whether container grown, balled and burlapped when dug from a production field or grown in Root Control fabric bags to encourage root pruning. Make sure to dig a hole about twice as wide and half again as deep as needed and mix sphagnum peat moss or a good compost with your soil as you refill the hole around your new trees and shrubs.

Now through May 15th is a great time to plant tall fescue or ryegrass seed if you are seeding a shady lawn area. This is also a good time for sowing Bermuda grass seed for lawns in sunny areas.

We all enjoy the beauty and excitement of pretty flowers in our yards, parks and at businesses during the growing season. Perennials will come back year after year and many species provide bursts of real color and flowering but few flower all season as they have to store up energy to make it through the next winter.

Annuals only last one season but are unparalleled for making lots of color and many species will bloom all spring, summer and fall as they are not stockpiling energy to survive winter. Make sure to select plants for your light exposure. Some of the best annuals for sun are petunias, periwinkle, marigolds, bronze leaf begonias, zinnias, lantana and penta. Just a few of the great annuals for shade or part shade are impatiens, begonias, geraniums, salvia and coleus.

This is absolutely a great time of year and I hope you will get outside and plant, plant, plant away lots of vegetables and flowers to liven up your environment.

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