Oklahoma Spring Backyard chores, ideas for landscaping
Everyone loves spring, especially gardeners, and there are plenty of chores to do at this time of year. Now is a good time to check out or download the Oklahoma State University Expansion Leaflets for specific research-based information on “Oklahoma” to help you thrive in your lawn, yard, and landscape.
Fact sheets are available from your Oklahoma County Extension Service Office or at http://osufacts.okstate.edu.
One of the most popular and useful fact sheets available is # 6408, “Landscaping Plan”. Here you will find tips and the exact time for year-round gardening and landscaping.
Most bedding plants, summer bulbs and annual flower seeds can be planted when there is a risk of frost. This usually happens in mid-April in Oklahoma. We must now watch out for the weather and avoid planting when temperatures drop and cause frost or frost. Saw it freeze in Oklahoma City in early May!
Mid-April is generally considered the best time to transplant tomatoes. But also take a look at the long-term forecast here and wait until we are safe from low temperatures. From mid to late April, beans, cucumbers, eggplants, okra, peppers and summer squash are planted. The Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide (# 6004) is an excellent information sheet to help market gardeners with the correct planting time, spacing requirements, and even harvest information.
In the warm season, lawns can be created from twigs, stakes or sward from the end of April. Read Fact Sheet # 6419, “Establishing a Lawn in Oklahoma” to assist in this process.
Mowing and fertilizing lawns in the warm season can now begin. Warm season grasses can be fertilized three to five times per season from April. A soil test can help you determine exactly how much fertilizer your lawn needs. You can also refer to Fact Sheet No. 6420, “Oklahoma Lawn Management”.
You may still be removing winter-damaged branches or plants. Hold back if you still have green wood, then cut back where new growth is starting. Some plants, like crepe myrtle, can still come back from the base. So continue to be patient.
It’s also a perfect time to plant trees and shrubs. When replacing trees and shrubs that you lost last winter, keep in mind that Oklahoma City is located in Zone 7a on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Plants that are often injured by low winter temperatures are planted in areas north of their respective hardiness zone. As we saw this year, marginally hardy plants like zone 8 species can suffer from winter injuries.
Deciding which plants to use in your garden and landscape is not always easy, and nurseries can be a bit overwhelming with so many choices. The series of Factsheets # 6439, “Choosing Shrubs for the Landscape,” # 6456, “Choosing Deciduous Trees for Oklahoma,” and # 6463, “Choosing Evergreen Trees,” can help you choose suitable plants and even includes color images.
Oklahoma State University’s “Oklahoma Proven” program is also designed to help you select high-performing plants for your landscape. Oklahoma Proven is a plant evaluation and marketing program designed to help consumers select the best plants for Oklahoma gardens. Each year they name a tree, shrub, year, and perennial that stand out in Oklahoma.
Visit http://www.oklahomaproven.org/ for all of the plants recommended by this program over the past 22 years. You can even search for plant categories based on your specific needs.
Email Julia Laughlin, Oklahoma County Extension horticulture educator at [email protected]