The Norman Transcript


May 10, 2013

More of the top 10 worst trees to grow in Oklahoma



However, Loblolly, like Pin Oak, suffers from iron chlorosis in our high pH soils. In addition, pines are chronic with fungal diseases that require yearly, foliar fungicide treatments. Better evergreen choices include Arborvitae, Nellie R. Stevens Holly or American Holly.

2.) Colorado Blue Spruce: “Out in three to five” sounds more like a prison sentence. Of spruce planted in our area, 90 percent never live to see age 3 and 95 percent are dead in five years. The operative word here is “Colorado,” meaning they like cool weather and rocky, well-drained soils uncommon in Oklahoma. Avoid all spruce and plant an Arizona Cypress, a drought-tolerant option with blue-green foliage.

1.) Bradford Pear: This selection is a no-brainer, unless you like the half-tree look. Bradford Pears are fast-growing and weak wooded. They have narrow branch angles, which cannot hold any weight or survive high wind.

These pears lose branches like crazy, break in half at the main trunk or split down the middle. The blooms of this pear can be trashy and smell like urine or dead fish to some. Bradford Pears also are spreading and naturalizing in vacant lots and native areas. This is a huge issue that could be compared to Eastern Red Cedar, if left uncontrolled.

These trees are susceptible to fire blight and cedar apple rust diseases, both of which require yearly spraying for control. Cheap, weak, stinky and invasive doesn’t describe a tree you want. Beware of the Bradford Pear.

Tracey Payton Miller is Cleveland County’s horticulture extension educator for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension.

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