Oklahoma is home to diverse ecological regions, including deciduous forests, tallgrass prairie, and high plains. As such, you'll find a plethora of tree species there, ranging from small flowering trees to towering oak trees. If you're wondering how to identify trees in Oklahoma and how to know what type of tree to plant, you've come to the right place. Keep reading for a guide to the most common Oklahoma trees.
Most Common Oklahoma Trees
Although this list is by no means complete, here are a few of the most popular types of Oklahoma trees along with a few of their key characteristics:
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- Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum): Can reach up to 150 feet; native to wetlands; pale-green, needlelike leaves.
- Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis): Dark-green foliage; female trees have red fruit; oval, rounded canopy.
- Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida): Four bracts that may be white, red, or pink; grows 20 to 30 feet tall; spreads 25 to 30 feet.
- Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana): Evergreen; grows 40 to 50 feet tall; dense growth.
- American elm (Ulmus americana): Grows 80 to 100 feet high; deciduous leaves are dark green throughout the year and fade to yellow in fall; small green flowers appear in spring.
- Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa): Giant trunk; can reach a height of 70 to 90 feet; bark is generally light brown or gray.
- Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda): Fast-growing; typically 50 to 80 feet in height but capable of reaching more than 150 feet; evergreen needles.
- Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis): Purple-pink flowers; reaches a height of 20 to 30 feet; found on moist sites.
Best Trees to Plant in Oklahoma
Are you wondering what type of tree to plant in your yard? Planting native trees (and growing native plants) is a wonderful way to help Oklahoma's natural ecosystems thrive and prevent the spread of harmful invasive species. Rather than planting an ornamental tree that doesn't support the natural landscape, consider planting a tree that's adapted to its local climate and soil conditions. Not only do native trees provide shelter and food for pollinators and wildlife, but they also require less maintenance, allowing you to use less pesticide, fertilizer, and water.
Here are just a few of the best native Oklahoma trees to plant in your yard:
- Oklahoma redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Oklahoma'): Oklahoma's state tree is also one of the best ones to plant. Redbuds are known for their beautiful blooms in spring and their shiny, heart-shaped leaves, as well as their adaptability and durability.
- River birch (Betula nigra): This native birch has lovely, colorful, peeling brown bark and good fall color.
- Roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii): A small deciduous tree, the roughleaf dogwood has clusters of pretty off-white flowers and white fruit. It's also a relatively low-maintenance tree but requires pruning for structure.