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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - March 25, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Which is best-Oklahoma Redbud or Texas Redbud in Austin?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Northwest Austin and would like to plant a small redbud tree in my front yard. My yard gets full sun. Which is better - the Texas redbud or the Oklahoma redbud?

ANSWER:

Cercis reniformis 'Oklahoma' (Oklahoma Redbud) is not in our Native Plant Database, but we can find no evidence that it is a hybrid, so that would count as a native tree. This USDA Forest Service site Cercis reniformis 'Oklahoma' gives the tree high marks, but is of the opinion that it not being grown very widely in the nursery trade, so you might have difficulty obtaining a tree to plant. Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) is, of course, the one generally available in the Austin area. Since we have not seen the 'Oklahoma' nor have any personal experience with it, about all we can do is share with you what we found, including the USDA Forest Service site above. This Backyard Gardener site says the plant is more commonly known as Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) 'Oklahoma," which would infer that some nursery retailers are just adding the 'Oklahoma' to enhance the sales appeal. In a case like that, it's a judgment call; if you can find a nursery (or nurseries) carrying each plant, you can personally inspect them for perceived differences. This is not a good time to plant the trees, anyway, as we will soon be in the very hot part of our year, and transplant shock is a major killer of new young trees. If you have the opportunity to visit the so-named trees over a period of time, that would give you a chance to compare not only the blooms (just now out in Austin) but the leaves and bark, and make your purchase in mid to late Fall for planting. 

Pictures of 'Oklahoma' from Google

Pictures of Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) from our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

 

 

 

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