Houseplants Now & New Trees Later!

This is a great time of year to be adding houseplants to your home to enjoy while we are inside for more hours each day. House plants can improve our attitudes as they lift our spirits, help clean the indoor air and provide us more oxygen.  Besides foliage plants like spathiphyllum, dracaena, ficus, dieffenbachia and so many other great foliage choices enjoy flower plants like kalanchoe, African violets and anthurium.  Try forcing some bulb crops like Amaryllis, paper whites, tulips, crocus & hyacinth for extra fun and indoor excitement.

With all the ice and wind damage to our trees it is time to start thinking about adding some new trees to your landscape to replace those that have been heavily damaged by weather or age so that you are preparing for your next generation of shade, cooling, air purification and beauty. Today we will offer my top 25 list of deciduous large trees for Oklahoma that will ultimately grow to 40 feet or more in height.  My favorites include Bald Cypress, which is well adapted from swamps of southeast Oklahoma to the dry highlands of the Oklahoma panhandle and has distinctive fine fir like leaves.  Common Hackberry is still a tough durable large tree selection.  Ginkgo trees go back to prehistoric times but still produce bright yellow fall color with a distinctive leaf pattern.  Sweet gum trees produce an elegant and stately shade tree.  Live oaks, Water oaks, Burr oaks & Chinkapin oaks, White oaks, Sawtooth oaks and Shumard oaks all provide great storm tolerant shade if you are willing to be patient for the harder wood of a slow growing tree.  Thornless honeylocust, Londen plantree, Kentucky coffee tree, Osage orange are other large tree options.

Chinese Pastache and Lacebork elm are great trees that have seen more use in Oklahoma landscapes in recent years. Japanese Zelkova, Chinese chestnut, Japanese Pagoda tree, Western Soapberry and Greenspire Linden are other worthy large tree choices.  Red Maple hybrids like Red Sunset, Autumn Blaze and Autumn Flame, or one of my favorites, Oklahoma’s own Caddo Maple, discovered in the canyons of Caddo county all provide beautiful fall colors of red and oranges while producing great shade.

Visit with your local nurseryman to help narrow the tree choices for your site. Be observant of whether it is a dry open site or an area that sometimes stands in water.  How close will the tree be to your home or other buildings, electric or water lines and other trees?  Do you want fall color, or do you want faster growing shade even if that softer wood means you are more vulnerable to future storm damage or do you want slower growing hardwoods which will be longer living trees that are generally more resistant to storm challenges.

Dig your planting hole about twice as big as the soil ball of your container grown or balled and burlapped tree. Amend your soil from the hole with sphagnum peat or compost and plant the tree so it is at original grade or a little higher.  Stake the new plantings if necessary and be prepared to water after planting and throughout the winter when dry so that tree gets at least an inch of water each week from rain or your water hose when conditions are above freezing.  Enjoy selecting the trees for your yard and home and the satisfaction of knowing you are planting for now and more importantly for future generations.


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