It's finally spring this will be our last post in a series about good tree selections for central Oklahoma. Our next post will be about the site selection and planting of these trees.
Piney Forest
Pines have had a lot of bad press lately. After the hail storms last year many Pines turned yellow and died. This was caused by the Pine Bark Beetle introducing a fungus or blight to the trees through the wounds from being pummeled by the hail. Unfortunately the most popular Pine, Austrian Pine, P. nigra, is also horribly susceptible to blight. But there are good varieties, most are vast improvements over the Austrian Pine.

Large Pines
Lacebark Pine
Lacebark Pine (P. bungeana)
 A gorgeous specimen tree that grows to 60 feet tall and about 30-40 feet wide with a open, sometimes multi trunked, growth habit. The bark peels and flakes off like a sycamore. lower limbs can become brittle and break off in heavy snow or ice. Slow growing.

Picture
Photos courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden
Shortleaf Pine
Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas
Shortleaf Pine (P. echiata)
 These are the trees that make up the bulk of the Ouachita Forrest. Tall and open to about 70 feet tall and 30 feet wide. Resistant to most diseases and insects, strong branches, and makes a good lawn tree but difficult to move once established. Very drought tolerant.

Afghan Pine
Photo courtesy of George DeLange
Afghan Pine (P. eldarica)
 A classic pine that grows fast to a dense 50 by 20 feet. Loves hot dry weather and alkaline soils.

Loblolly Pine
Photo courtesy of Sooner Plant Farm
Loblolly Pine (P. taeda)
 Fast grower to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide. Loose form. They naturally shed lower branches with age. They provide light shade and have a moderate root system, so they are a good tree to garden under. Good for quick screening and shade.

Small and Medium Pines
Mug
Photo courtesy of Iseli Nursery
Mugho Pine (P. mugo)
 Short, usually 3 to 8 feet, symmetrical shrub with a rounded top. Usually tight growth and less than 10 feet wide. Several good dwarf selections exist.

Japanese Black Pine
Photo courtesy of Iseli Nursery
Japanese Black Pine (P. thunbergii)
 Usually under 30 feet tall and 20 feet wide and often with a leaning or bending trunk. Almost a natural Bonsai. Requires more water in summer than most pines.

There is very little to worry about with pines. The first season after planting, water regularly. After that most pines don't like water and will suffer as a result of over watering. Yellow needles are the most common sign. They really don't need trimming, other that removing lower branches. If size is a concern, the new growth in the spring is bright green or white. Partially removing these will make the plant bushier and denser while slowing growth. Removing altogether will stop growth entirely.
I hope this has encouraged some of you to keep pines in you mind when selecting plants.  This list is but a fraction of the Pines available, and a fraction of the pines well suited for Oklahoma.  So do your research and find a good local nursery, you will have to live with you decision for many years.
 


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