Fall is the ideal time to put new trees and shrubs into home landscapes and public spaces.
Carri Abner, former Arborist with Muskogee Parks and Recreation Department said that Muskogee residents should know how lucky they are to be able to plant such a wide variety of trees and shrubs.
Without information, we tend to plant fast growing trees such as poplar, silver maple and Bradford pear. Nothing wrong with them in terms of their beauty. It's just that they are short-lived, split in storms and their branches tend to break on a regular basis.
Durable trees - a term I learned from the USDA, U S Arboretum site, are a better, long-term investment.
Here are some trees that are good choices for our area.
Oak (Burr, Shumard, Swamp White, Water, Sawtooth) – Medium growth rate to 40-75-feet tall.
Birch (Heritage River, Dura-heat) 40 feet tall – good for wet locations. Heritage grows fast.
Cypress (Arizona Blue Ice, Leyalnd, Bald) – Tough trees for most soil, 50 to 80 feet tall – Bald is good for wet locations
Elm (Princeton, Lacebark) Durable street or shade tree - 40 to 60-feet tall.
Green Giant arborvitae - Pest free, tolerates deer grazing, grows a foot a year to 60-feet tall
Greenspire Linden – Shade and street tree that prefers moist soil. Grows to 60-feet.
Bloodgood London Planetree – Durable, ornamental bark, 70-feet tall.
Autumn Blaze Red Maple - Rapid growth to 40- feet tall. Any soil, fall color, seedless.
Atlas Cedar – Silver blue needles, 30 to 40 feet tall in moist soil.
Chinese Pistache – Withstands drought and heat. Grows to 25-feet tall and wide in full sun to part shade.
Tulip Poplar - Fast growing to 70-feet tall. Leaves are tulip shaped.
Eastern Redbud – Flowers in spring, 20-feet tall in light shade.
Canada Red Chokecherry – Large shrub that suckers or train to tree form. Grows to 20-feet tall in well drained soil
Red Rocket Crapemyrtle – Fast growing, durable, mildew resistant, grows to 20-feet tall.
Fall is the ideal time to put trees and shrubs in their permanent location. Abner said their roots would have plenty of time to settle in before freezing temperatures arrive and they will benefit from early spring rain.
Dig a hole the same depth as the distance from the top of the soil in the can to the bottom of the can. Widen the hole to 3 to 5 times the diameter of the container. Crumble the dirt removed.
Remove the plant from the container and loosen the roots. Place the plant in the center of the hole and fill with the original soil. Do not amend the soil. Water it in, let the soil settle and fill the hole no higher than the top of the root ball. The root ball can be 1-inch above the surrounding soil.
To stake the tree, put one stake on each side and make an “8” shape out of soft material. Top the planting area with 2-inches of mulch spread out to the edge of the planting area. Leave 5-inches around the trunk free of mulch.
Resist pruning. The lower branches protect the trunk from sunscald in the summer. Maintain a 3 to 5-foot weed free zone around the trunk. Water weekly if there is no rain and only when the temperatures are above freezing.
Wrap the trunk in harsh winters. Some insects make homes inside trunk wrapping, so check periodically to keep the tree trunk healthy.
Fertilize newly planted trees and their second year. Fertilizing at planting time can push new growth of branches and leaves that the trees are not able to support.