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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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Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Ft. Towson, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native tree for cemetery in Western Oklahoma
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My siblings and I are wanting to plant a tree next to my Mother's grave at the cemetery. It is in Western Oklahoma so hot sun and constant high wind are both considerations to choosing the right tree. We can amend the soil upon planting and there is plenty of water available so those will not be issues. A Bradford Pear has been suggested but one is planted fairly close so we would prefer something different that would be suitable but fairly low maintenance besides the watering.

ANSWER:

Please don't plant a Bradford pear. They are non-native and certainly are not adapted to your described environment. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are committed to the use, care and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. A plant growing where its ancestors have grown for thousands of years will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance.You didn't mention where in Western Oklahoma, but we will take a look at the region and make sure we select only trees that grow in that part of the state. We will go to our Recommended Species list, click on Oklahoma on the map, Narrow Your Search to "tree" (for habit), and look at the possibilities. We found four that, according to the USDA Plant Profile are native to Western Oklahoma, have attractive blooms in the spring, and can get along fine with minimal care. 

Prunus angustifolia (Chickasaw plum) - evergreen, 15 to 30 ft. tall, blooms white February to May, medium water use, sun or part shade

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) - deciduous, 15 to 35 ft., blooms white, pink February to April, low water use, sun or part shade

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree) - deciduous to 36 ft., blooms white, green, brown in April, high water use, sun, part shade or shade

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry) - deciduous, 10 to 50 ft. tall, blooms white May and June, low water use, sun or part shade


Prunus angustifolia

Prunus mexicana

Ptelea trifoliata

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

 

 

 

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