Last Saturday, I attended the Myriad Botanical Garden’s Oklahoma Garden School. This is not a photo of of the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Unbelievably, I don’t have any. It is in Will Rogers Park where I attend most of my garden club meetings in a small, oddly-shaped, early 60s style building that I’m sure was all the rage during that quirky architectural time. I only see this view when I escape.
Since you couldn’t come to school with me, I thought I would post this lovely photo I took of the duck pond in June 2007, while sharing a few things I learned. Anytime I bore you, just look back up at the photo and say “aah . . . .”
The first session was on “New Trees for Oklahoma Landscapes” by Jim Ord, of J. Frank Schmidt and Son Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Oregon, which supplies young trees to Oklahoma nurseries. All of the remaining photos in the post are owned by and shown courtesy of these nice folks. Tree sources in Oklahoma are linked at the bottom.
Jim Ord is a tree expert, and he’s on a mission to help us select the best new varieties for our climate, while he teaches us a few things:
- Be realistic about the trees you buy and plant. In Oklahoma, Jim said we garden with “. . . ice, wind, drought, heat and pestilence.” Therefore, you should look for trees which are heat resistant and can handle ice and wind load, but trees are living things. If you’re lucky, they mature, grow old, and die.
Autumn Fantasy® maple (Acer x freemani ‘D TR 102’) is a new variety he recommended for its vigor and red fall color. The photo he showed made me swoon.
- Pick the right tree for the right spot. Expect trees in Oklahoma to reach 70% of the height listed in catalogs. Don’t plant the trees near power lines. He thinks tree topping is just wrong, and I agree with him.
Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) makes a small tree and has peeling, cinnamon-colored bark.
- Planting Depth is a major issue. Don’t plant them too deep or too shallow. Use the soil level in the container as a guide.
- Plant trees that have shiny, waxy leaves like the ‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora). They perspire less and are more heat resistant. Serviceberry trees are native to Oklahoma, and Jim told an interesting story about its name. When pioneers came across the plains, if one of their family members died, the ground was frozen too solid to bury them, so they waited until the spring. Serviceberry trees are among the earliest to flower, and the pioneers knew that once they flowered, they could bury their dead; hence the name. The fruit of the Servicberry is edible and high in antioxidants.
- Tree maintenance is important. With most trees, other than those which grow in a urn shape, you need to allow a central leader. He noted that many of the trees devastated by our ice storm were not correctly pruned and were top heavy. Top heavy trees are also more susceptible to wind damage.
Some of the trees he suggested for our climate are as follows:
Pacific Sunset® maple (Acer trun. x Acer plat. ‘Warrenred’): smaller accent piece; not much ice damage.
American Smoketree (Cotinus abovatus): Good, tough tree.
Urbanite Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica ‘Urbanite’): Great for Oklahoma. Tough hardwood, drought and heat resistant.
Coralburst Crabapple (Malus ‘Coralcole’,) Golden Raindrops® Crabapple (Malus transitoria ‘Schmidtcutleaf’,) and Royal RainDrops® Crabapple (Malus ‘KWS’ Royal Raindrops) were just some of the crabapple varieties he discussed. This photo is a closeup of Royal Raindrops®. He said that, in Oklahoma, we shouldn’t plant cherry trees as they couldn’t take the heat after a couple of seasons. He assured us that the new crabapples have small, persistent fruit. Persistent means that the fruit remains on the tree for most of the season. Birds are very attracted to the fruit and will consume most of it. I made a note on my paper that I wanted Royal Raindrops®. I underlined it three times, so I guess I meant it. Part of what probably swayed me was its bloom color; its leaf color, a dark purple; and that it can be single or multi-stemmed and could be used in place of river birch.
For the trees that grow quickly, Jim suggested a couple, but pointed out that slower growing trees often receive less weather damage.
Emerald Sunshine® Elm (Ulmus propinqua ‘Emerald Sunshine’) is a new elm tree selected by Sunshine Nursery owner Steve Bieberich, out of Clinton, Oklahoma. Emerald Sunshine® is also resistant to Elm Leaf Beetle.
Frontier Elm (Ulmus ‘Frontier’) grows with a central leader and gets red fall color.
Cascade Falls Weeping Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum ‘Cascade Falls’) is a fast grower.
TLC Nursery, has two locations on Memorial Road and Northwest Expressway;
Marcum’s Nursery, in Norman, Oklahoma;
Sooner Plant Farm, is located in the community of Keys, approximately 70 miles east of Tulsa Oklahoma on Hwy. 82 S, but they also have a large mail order business; and
Garden House, in Enid. Garden House does not appear to have a website at this time.