Early Spring really is one of the best times to get started on your landscapes.  Trees and shrubs get a huge benefit from being planted this time of year because of their dormancy cycle.  For the same reason bare root roses typically do better than their potted counterparts, trees and shrubs usually do not have the stress and shock symptoms when planted in the colder months.  Therefor, for the next few weeks, we will cover some of the better trees and shrubs for central Oklahoma.  At the end of this series, we will have a post on the best ways to plant these plants to ensure the best success.

Oklahoma Redbud I
To start this series on Oklahoma-able trees and shrubs, we will cover the state tree, the Oklahoma Redbud (Cercis canadensis texensis 'Oklahoma'). Most of us have seen them, some of us like them, so I will be brief with the description. They are fast growing to 25-ish feet, and have a open rounded shape with mostly horizontal branching.

Photo courtesy Monrovia

Below:  Easter Redbud (Top)
             Oklahoma Redbud (Bottom)

This is where is is so important to read tags. Most Redbuds sold are not truly Oklahoma Redbuds. An Eastern Redbud has light green leaves and pale pink flowers, while the Texas Redbuds, of which the Oklahoma is a variety, have thicker darker and glossy leaves and the Oklahoma alone has dark and rich pink flowers. The Texas Redbuds are also more adapted to the heavy alkaline soils here in the plains. Other Eastern Redbuds will need extensive soil amending and close watch on the water. Especially when freshly planted. No matter what species or variety is chosen, better than average drainage and watering will be needed. They are not a low maintenance tree; stay tuned for our message on how to make just about any tree low maintenance. Besides site requirements, the only thing to look out for is too many trunks. Too many splits stunts growth, weakens the tree and invites water and insect infiltration that can split the tree.
Aside from our state tree there are plenty of good varieties:
Texas White
Cercis c. t. 'Texas White' – Same as the Oklahoma but with white flowers.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina State University

Leaf of Silver Cloud Redbud
Cercis c. 'Silver Cloud' – An Eastern Redbud with slight marbeling in white. Does well with some afternoon shade here in Oklahoma.

Photo courtesy of Monrovia

Forest Pansy Redbud
Cercis c. 'Forest Pansy' – A better altenitive to the Purple Plum, great burgandy/purple foilage and the pink flowers typical of the species.

Cercis c. 'Covey' – Contorted and bent branches lend this variety to a dwarf and weeping habit.

Photo courtesy of Sooner Plant Farm

Cercis chinensis 'Avondale' – Not an Eastern Redbud but like a dwarf Oklahoma Redbud. One of the best flower show among all Rebuds. Nearly solid blooms from trunk to the tips of the branches.

Photo courtesy of Sooner Plant Farm



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