Tips for successful tree planting this spring in Central Oklahoma
When planting trees this spring, dig the planting hole two to three times the diameter of the tree’s rootball and no deeper than the rootball itself.
In clay soils, plant trees 1 to 3 inches above grade. Plant trees at original grade in sandy soil.
You also should be sure to keep the rootball moist and handle the tree by the container, not by the trunk.
When planting, remove the bag, container and all strings and wires from the trunk. The burlap of “balled and burlapped” trees may be left on to decay, but be sure to lay the burlap back away from the trunk and cover with soil.
If roots are excessive and circling, score the outer edge of the rootball by slightly severing or scratching the root system, but do not cut deeply into the rootball.
Fill in the planting hole (backfill) with native soil and tamp lightly. Soil amendments are not necessary and may result in complications such as root rot.
A newly planted tree has a limited capacity for utilizing fertilizer until it becomes established, so only use a starter fertilizer at the time of planting.
Newly planted trees should be watered well at the time of planting and during establishment and may need to be watered two or three times a week in extremely hot, dry, windy weather. Apply water slowly at the base of newly planted trees. Be cautious not to overwater by making certain the timing and patterns of lawn watering systems are not overlapping into plant beds and too much water is being applied.
Mulch newly planted trees using an organic mulch 1 to 3 inches deep and 5 to 6 inches in diameter, but keep the mulch at least 2 to 4 inches away from the base of the trunk of the tree. In other words, do not mound mulch up against trunk of the tree. Stake young trees sparingly and briefly when possible. In fact, prolonged staking can have detrimental effects on the development of the tree. Too often, staking materials end up injuring or girdling the tree.
If you are looking for ideas for good tree selections, visit the Oklahoma Proven website (www.oklahomaproven.org). These plants are well-adapted to Oklahoma growing conditions, readily available, resistant to pests, and non-invasive and includes shrubs, annual and perennials, as well.
To recognize the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma Proven program, a new publication has been produced with all of the plants from the past 20 years: "Oklahoma Proven Plant Selections for Oklahoma" (E-1052). This publication can be downloaded for free from www.oklahomaproven.org.
Also, Oklahoma State University has partnered with several nurseries in the Oklahoma City area and the Oklahoma City Utilities Department to hold an Oklahoma Proven plant sale on April 27 and May 4. Participating nurseries will offer a 10 percent discount on the sale of Oklahoma Proven plants during this event. The plant sale will be at Lowe’s Garden Center in Yukon, Marcum’s Nursery in Norman and Oklahoma City, Plant Wisdom Garden Center in Oklahoma City, Prairie Wind Nursery in Norman, Precure Nursery and Garden Center in Oklahoma City and Ross Seed Co. in El Reno. Look for plants with an Oklahoma Proven sticker on the pot.