Anyone have experience with

Solorya(7a)February 19, 2013

I'm learning not to rely on Lowe's and HD for plant selection, and was wondering if anyone has had success with When we bought our house last spring the backyard was just grass--so when a Cleveland select flowering pear went on clearance for $2 I popped it in the ground last fall. Now reading so many negatives I'm not so sure I want to keep it! I'd like at least one ornamental or fruit tree and one evergreen to keep some year-round interest. I love the look of blue spruce, but not sure it could tolerate the heat. I'm still a newbie to OK and to gardening (other than container) so advice is appreciated!

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Howdy! I would look up the Oklahoma Proven picks. I would not suggest a pear (due to it being easily damaged in storms)or a spruce (due to our heat). If I was going to plant a tree, I would be purchasing a Chinese Pistache and a Nellie r. Stevens Hollie (for an evergreen). For an ornamental option check out an Oklahoma Redbud or a Texas Whitebud.

I hope this helps!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:02PM
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You got GREAT advice from Christina! Above all, don't grow so called fast growing trees. They are usually weak, and don't hold up to Oklahoma storms.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:12PM
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Hi, and welcome! I really like the blue spruce too, and when I started gardening in Oklahoma I looked for something similar that could survive the heat. The Blue Atlas cedar is somewhat similar, and much better suited to our climate and soil. There is a dwarf variety called Horstmann that is a lot smaller if you are looking for that. Also, I have seen some deodora cedars with very blue needles at TLC and elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Not too good a rating on that "other" website "XXXden Watchdog". About half and half as to negative versus positive responses. I would definitely question this company.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:15AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

im starting to be less and less of a fan of ornamental trees, with one exception. I planted a Yoshino cherry about 8 years ago and it is a beautiful tree. The flowers in spring are so amazing. It has been through 50 60 mph winds without hardly dropping a leaf let alone limbs. For now on if I plant a tree it will provide fruit, nuts, or good fire or smoking wood(which for me typically fruit and nut trees)

Anyone bought from the Arbor Day Foundation? their prices seem reasonable but from what I understand they are small 2-3 feet. Watchdog has some unfavorable reviews also.

Mom and Dad ordered some trees from Starks and they have done good.


This post was edited by mksmth on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 9:44

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Thank you for all the advice! I will definitely have to check out some of those evergreen options--I need something to look at in the winter! Mike--I'm also leaning towards more dual-purpose trees...the Cleveland pear was just $2 and in a blank yard it was at least something! I'm considering digging it up and putting in a plum or peach tree--any suggestions? Also, I live north of Oklahoma city--any reputable nurseries you'd recommend?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:56AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Mike, I joined the Arbor Day Foundation in Texas in the early 1980s when we bought our first home. I never purchased a tree from them, but the 10 "free trees" they sent when you joined were ten sticks about 8-12" tall. We planted all of them and only 2 of those leafed out. Tim then mowed them down one day while mowing because they were so short he forgot they were there.

Personally, after reading the reviews I wouldn't buy anything from them.

Solorya, About the only thing you need to know about fast-growing trees is that they tend to be weak-wooded, which makes them fast-dying trees too. It is always better to plant a higher-quality tree. The growth will be slower, but the tree will be healthier and is more likely to live for decades, not for a few years.

I'm linking an OSU Fact Sheet with recommended fruit varieties for OK. In most of OK, it is easier to get a good crop from stone fruit trees like peach or plum than pome fruit like apples or pears. In our yard we have grown Ranger, Redhaven, July Elberta and one other one peach tree whose name I no longer remember. With plums we have Methley, Santa Rosa and native Mexican plums. You won't get a crop every year because sometimes the fruit trees bloom too early and the flowers or young fruit freeze, but in the years when you get fruit, you get a lot of it.

If you want to landscape your yard with other edible fruit plants, you could put a row of blackberry plants along a fence line, and also could grow figs, grapes or strawberries. You can grow blueberries if you either have soil that is naturally acidic and drains well, or if you are willing to amend alkaline soil to make it more acidic and to improve the drainage if needed, or you even can grow blueberries in containers.


Here is a link that might be useful: Home Fruit Planting Guide

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:23AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I have had good luck with a pie cherry tree that I had for years. I also had pear trees for years. My experience with peach and plum is that you have to spray. Mine got borers. All fruit trees eventually died but I have lived here since 1978. The pear tree was tall and the fruit fell and brought yellow jackets. I am not that fond of lots of pears at once. Think what you really want before you put in a tree. I actually like my ornamental pear but it a columnar form. The other one a Bradford had some fire blight last year but it has lasted longer than any peach or plum I've grown. My sister in CA has wonderful plums so much better than the store. If they succeed where you live, they would be great I just have not had any success with them. I like my crab apple that has small apples for birds. It gets no care but it has grown into a really big tree - you wouldn't want it close to your house. When it blooms it is fragrant and hums with bees. I have trimmed all the lower branches so the bees don't bother anything.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:22PM
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I love - NOW! (Note the NOW)! In the past I think they were too small to handle the demand and the customer service was subpar. I gave them a second chance during one sale last year- Arbor Day or Earth Day- I can't remember which, but it was the one where they gave free Empress trees with each order every year. I have been ordering ever since, and I haven't had a problem. My mom (in TX) did receive a tree recently that was either dead or dying when it arrived, but that could have been due to the temps in the FedEx or UPS truck during extreme TX heat. Either way, they have like a One Year Guarantee on their trees or something, and she got a replacement with no problem.

Someone mentioned Arbor Day- I LOVE them, especially for information. they have a little guide on their site for when and where to plant your trees to lower your energy costs and with 4 kids, my husband and I need all the savings we can get! ONE THING to note though is that the reason they are cheaper than a lot of other sites is because they ONLY send bareroot trees, which have a higher chance of dying during shipment.

I would say give Fast Growing Trees a shot, but during one of the sales (I said I love savings0. It can't hurt - you have a money-back or replacement-tree guarantee (not sure if its still a year though)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:59AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I am sorry that peaches and plums don't do well for you. There's nothing more wonderful than walking out into the yard and picking a peach off the tree and eating it right there in the yard with the sun shining and the juice dripping down your chin.

I have grown peaches and plums for about 25-30 years and never have sprayed them for anything. Before that, when I was still a kid living at home, my dad grew them throughout my childhood and young adulthood and he never sprayed them either.

Will fruit trees sometimes become borer-infested and die? Yes, they will. I am happy if my plum trees last 10 years before borers get them. Three of our plum trees are roughly 11 or 12 years old and still are doing fine and remain highly productive. The peach trees are more prone to get borers than the plums are and mine usually last maybe 8 years. I have replaced two peach trees the last three years. One of them lived 8 years and the other lived for 10 years. Replacing a tree lost to borers occasionally is the price we pay at our house for having many years of organic fruit. I know that not spraying doesn't work for everyone, but it works for me.

One thing I have noticed is that you have healthy trees more often if they have healthy soil, so I work to keep the soil and trees healthy---not by amending the soil but by adding amendments on top of the ground in the form of mulch. The soil-dwelling insects and earthworms as well as the rain help carry the nutrients from the amendments and mulch down into the ground.

I have two neighbors near me who don't even spray their apples, but that does mean they have a lot of pest issues with the apples. I don't think I'd attempt apples without spraying based on all the trouble I've seen them have.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:36AM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

J Rivera

I hope you are sincere and not just here to promote those sites. Making fake reviews is terrible.
You just signed up today and posted here. Makes me think you are affiliated with them.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:11PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

Dawn you make me want to try plums again. I've heard of people getting a tummy ache from eating too much fruit. That is the only thing that slowed me down the time I visited my sister when the plums where ripe. I ate so many and they were good.

I hadn't thought of considering fruit trees a temporary thing. When I plant a tree I expect it to live for years and years. Then I wondered why I don't see plums at the Farmer's Market here if I am the only one who can't grow them. I think fruit trees do take care for success and you can't live in a frost pocket. My house is in a valley and we often warm up in spring and go back to winter again.

I recently planted two pie cherries in the worst hot, dry summer ever. The big one had a bagged root ball. I took the bagging material off even though they said you could plant it. I could not keep it watered. The other was a tiny mail order bare root tree. The small one lived and grew fast. I also ordered three very expensive bush cherries from Canada. They came as tiny twigs so I put them in pots. They also grew very fast. I don't know how they will do in my climate. I would very much like to have a cherry tree again because my other one was attractive and had fruit every year.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:34PM
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HaHa, Mike they don't pay me to endorse them. I have a whole list of sites (and local nurseries) that I love and a whole list that I'm not quite fond of. I have a cute perennial garden and just started my vegetable garden recently. So I signed up to like 5 forums over the last 3 days. I don't get the suspicion though. We are all adults (I assume) and you can take my recommendations at value or ignore them. It doesn't matter either way, the choice is yours. (Besides I think those two sites are probably direct competitors anyways. I do love them both though).

Play nice, Mike. It's just a gardening forum. And if you'd like me to recommend any sites for you I may be able to! Ta Ta For Now!


This post was edited by J_Rivera on Thu, Feb 21, 13 at 15:05

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:04PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Helen, I am in a frost pocket. Most of our county...except maybe for the folks in the northernmost portion of the county ...lies in the Red River Valley. I'm way down south, so definitely in the valley, and then our entire property is a creek hollow, with higher ground on all 4 side of us. It does cause me trouble with fruit tree blossoms or young fruit freezing out, but I still get a decent harvest.

How much of a frost pocket? Our "average last freeze date" is March 27th. We routinely have hard killing freezes in at least the first two weeks of April, and we have had a killing freeze on May 3rd or 4th in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008. Despite that, I had great fruit harvests in 3 or those 4 years I think.

I just plant the fruit trees as high as I can on our property, which slopes downhill from south to north and from west to east, and I chose varieties with the highest chilling hours I can find. although that does not necessarily help.

I have a friend who lives on significantly higher ground less than a mile southeast of us and he can grow apricots and cherries because they don't freeze at his house on higher ground like they would here. One of these days I may throw caution to the wind and plant an apricot and a cherry anyhow.

In your area, I wonder if yall have significantly more humidity and if that is hard on fruit trees there. My area has good high humidity most springs, but in the summers it can stay really low and that might discourage some of the common fungal diseases that plague fruit trees.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 4:02PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

We used to have humidity my relatives from N Central Kansas couldn't take it here. But I have had drought the last two years.

Dawn I think I just expected trees to live longer. The plums and peaches got borers, I didn't have them long enough to worry about rot or fungus diseases.

This is an old apple, strawberry area but on the hills. My hills are steep but mostly covered in oak trees and walnut in the hollow, so I don't have a good slope available. I could clear the honeysuckle and blackberry and make a place just outside my yard on a steep slope that I fenced out because it was too hard to mow.

I see why you carry plants in and out. You get warm early but your freezes are as late as mine. Your energy amazes me.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:21AM
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I've had good luck with the Arbor Day's 10 free trees, sort of. A couple died but most have grown fine over the past two years but I was planning on moving a golden raintree this winter until this fall when I realized it was a rose of sharron. It hadn't been big enough for me to be able to realize this before then. I love the RoS so that's fine with me but there you go.

Something I'm trying this year is grafting sweet cherries onto an indian cherry stock. My Indian Cherry can't be stopped. It only grudgingly gave up its last leaves a month ago just in time to make way for the new buds. Sweet cherries aren't supposed to do well here but I'm hoping that they'll make it if grafted onto a native stock. ??? We'll see, I guess.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:03PM
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