The Norman Transcript


May 10, 2013

More of the top 10 worst trees to grow in Oklahoma

NORMAN — Listed are the top five of the 10 worst trees to plant. If you have trouble finding the trees I recommend, don’t hesitate to ask your local greenhouse or nursery to order them for you. For a complete list of good trees for Oklahoma, visit

Although considered a native invasive, I don’t address Eastern Red Cedar in my top 10. In the right conditions, the tree can provide privacy and may grow in areas where nothing else will. If left unattended or mismanaged, Eastern Red Cedar will go nuts. Avoid it altogether and opt for one of the evergreens listed below.

5.) Green Ash: Ash trees come in white or green varieties and are readily available in the metro area.

These trees fail to grow after planting, evident by the lack of mature specimens around. Ash is very susceptible to borers like the exotic, invasive Emerald Ash Borer. Once borers are present, its days are numbered. “Urbanite” Ash is a better-performing cultivar but has an atypical form for an ash. Another alternative for fall color would be Gingko.

4.) Silver Maple: Like Pin Oak, many residential areas in central Oklahoma have old Silver Maples. They are easily recognized when the wind blows, as their leaves are silver underneath.

Silver Maples are pretty trees but are fast-growing and very weak. It’s not a matter of if one will break in severe weather but where. Silver Maple can also form unsightly abov-ground roots. Good alternatives with fall color are Chinese Pistache, Caddo Maple and Trident Maple.

3.) Austrian Pine: If you desire year-round foliage, forgo anything with needles. In our area, pines scorch, struggle with heavy clay soils and are riddled with disease. All true pines are susceptible to Pine Wilt Nematode, but non-native pines like Japanese Black, Austrian and Scotch Pines are most susceptible. Pine Wilt causes trees to brown, wilt and die in a matter of weeks. Native pines, like the commonly planted Loblolly Pine, may be able to live with disease longer.

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