The Sooner State sits along the northern border of Texas in the transition between the south and the west. Oklahoma is home to the Eastern Redbud, a small tree it has designated as its state tree. The Eastern Redbud is deciduous and reaches only 20 to 30 feet tall. The twisted trunk spreads outward, reaching widths greater than its height. The Eastern Redbud is called such due to its magenta flowers, which appear in spring and summer before leafing. Although the Eastern Redbud’s ornamental qualities make it a prized choice for Oklahoman planters, there are many hundreds of tree varieties Oklahoman residents can grow.
Due to its climatic location, severe weather, and varied temperatures, the smart Oklahoman grower will need to consider the following:
- Soil Type
- Average Precipitation
- Growing Zones
- Weather Damage
Best Trees for Oklahoma
Read about the specifics for your state in the following sections. If you’re looking for some quick ideas on what to plant, consider the following trees as expert-tested and The Tree Center approved:
- Autumn Purple Ash
Ideal for providing unique fall colors, shade, climate tolerance.
- October Glory Maple
Ideal for continuous color, adaptable growing conditions, and landscaping designs.
- Rabbiteye Blueberry
Ideal for bearing fruit, disease and drought resistance, and temperature adaptability.
- Red Rocket Crape Myrtle
Ideal for providing year-round beauty, fast-growing growth, and drought resistance.
Fast Growing Privacy Trees in Oklahoma
The state of Oklahoma is renowned throughout the United States as a comfortable, healthy, and safe state in which to abide. It is no wonder that Oklahoman residents may notice new homes being built nearby, new developments and shopping centers popping up, and highways carrying loud cars laid in bulk near their home. Planting trees along yard perimeters will add both privacy and beauty to the Oklahoman yard.
Although there are many options from which to choose, in Oklahoma, a planter cannot be mistook by the American Holly. Growing throughout the United States, American Holly is adaptable, fast-growing, and colorful. Reaching at least 15 feet in height, the American Holly forms dense evergreen walls reminiscent of hedge mazes. In addition, Oklahoman residents can also choose from the Leyland Cypress or Nellie Stevens Holly to form the perfect private paradise.
Oklahoma waivers between three climatic zones: temperate regions, continental regions, and humid subtropical regions. The reason for these transitions between zones is due to varying temperature and wind clines that intersect over the state. This is also the cause of most of the state’s severe weather and daily temperature variances, including the date in November 11th, 1911 in which both the record daily high (83°F) and record daily low (17°F) were set due to an incoming afternoon squall. It is not surprising, then, that the record high is 120°F and the record low is -31°F over this relatively flat state. Summers are hot and humid, with temperatures often soaring above 100°F. Winters are generally mild, with between 4 and 20 inches of snowfall.
Most trees require well-drained soil rich with minerals to grow. Oklahoma is home to the fertile Port soil series. This deep, well-draining soil is ideal for cotton, sorghum, wheat, and pasture. Regardless of the property’s location in The Sooner State, a soon-to-be tree planter can perform a simple test to determine his/her soil type.
In order to determine the type of soil in your yard, try this test to give you a basis for finding the best matched trees. For this test, you will need a healthy handful of soil from the layer beneath the topmost piece of soil. The soil should be a little damp, but not recently watered or wet. Simply squeeze the soil sample and one of the following events will occur.
1. You have CLAY if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it does not fall apart.
2. You have LOAM if, after opening your hands, the soil maintains its shape, forming a ball. If you touch the sample, it falls apart.
3. You have SAND if, after opening your hands, the soil immediately collapses.
Once you know what soil type you have, you can find trees best suited to the dirt’s properties. Loam is the best soil to have, as its unique qualities make it ideal for holding and transferring water to trees.
Rainfall in Oklahoma is variable and moderate in quantity. Averaging 34.3 inches of precipitation annually, these amounts vary month to month. Late spring and early summer bring the most rain, between 8 and 9 inches, or almost 26% of the precipitation the state sees. The rest of the years, months vary from as little as less than an inch to a little over two inches. Snowfall occurs minimally, averaging at 10 inches of snowfall across the state. In the south of Oklahoma, regions may see less than 4 inches, while areas along the Colorado border may see as much as 20 inches.
With variable precipitation amounts occurring at variable intervals, irrigation is an essential tool for the soon-to-be tree planter. Irrigation is necessary for newly planted trees, which undergo severe stress from transplantation. In order to combat this stress, tree growers can provide a new sprout with consistent and controlled water access. This will ensure successful plant growth while also protecting water conservation efforts in the region.
Oklahoma, though moderately sized, only includes four unique growing zones. A growing zone simply refers to the USDA’s determination of areas where certain plants are most likely to thrive, preferring to focus on minimal temperature ranges in which a plant can survive. The zones occur in horizontal bands, moving diagonally from the southeast to northwest corners. The southeast region of Oklahoma, bordering Texas and Arkansas, is warmest, and low temperatures do not leave the range of 5°F to 10°F. The zones cool by degree ranges of 10° until the far northwest corner, where temperatures may dip below -10°F for extended lengths of time.
Oklahoma’s distinct location in the midst of colliding weather systems makes it ideal for thunderstorms and tornadoes. Summer thunderstorms are strongest, and often these bring flash-flooding. Oklahoma is also mostly within the region known as Tornado Alley, characterized by the weather systems that so frequently affect the state. Oklahoma receives on average 54 tornadoes a year, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Some of the most deadly and numerous tornado systems have affected the state, including the 1912 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, in which approximately one tornado touched down across the state every hour for a 24-hour period.