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How to Grow Pine Trees in Oklahoma

pine cone on a pine tree image by MAXFX from

Oklahoma has a range of climate conditions throughout the state that can make it either very easy or very difficult to grow pine trees. Soil in Oklahoma ranges from very loamy in the Panhandle, to sandy in parts of Harper County, to very clay-like around Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma’s temperate ranges fall between USDA hardiness zones 6a and 7b, so temperature extremes in Oklahoma may range from -10 degrees F in the winter, to 110 degrees F in late summer. The key to growing pine trees in Oklahoma is to give them the right conditions to thrive.

Select a location for your pine trees that is sheltered from wind. Oklahoma is mostly flat, so winds in the state can be quite strong and can deform, dry or break trees. If you do not have a sheltered place to plant trees, you can construct a windbreak around your property by mounding up soil or constructing fences or walls.

Test your soil before planting pine trees to determine the soil structure, nutrient content and pH. Oklahoma State University maintains a lab for testing soil through their community and continuing education program. Find out how to collect and submit soil samples by contacting your local county extension agent.

Purchase soil amendments based on the results of the test in step 2. Common soil amendments for your property will include organic amendments such as compost, well-rotted manure, sawdust and straw. Drainage in clay soil can be improved with gypsum. Most pine trees will do well in slightly-acidic soil. To change the pH of your soil you can add powdered limestone to raise the pH or lower the pH with sulfur.

Break up your soil in a small area with a rototiller. Large areas of land for planting stands of pine trees can be broken up with a disk plow. Spread your amendments in a small plot of land with a rake and shovel. Spread amendments over large portions of land with a broadcast spreader. Spread your amendments to a depth of 3 inches. Then work them into the soil by plowing over it again.

Purchase seedlings or small trees that are healthy and strong. The tap root should not be broken or bound up so that it will not grow straight downward.

Dig a hole for the rootball of a tree that is slightly larger than the roots, but no deeper than the rootball. Unwrap the root ball and place it in the hole. Then cover with soil. Seedlings can be planted by opening a wedge shaped hole with a spade, placing the seedling into the hole so that taproot points straight down, and then closing the wedge by inserting the spade into the ground next to the wedge and shoving the soil closed over the roots.

Mulch around the base of your pine trees with pine straw or pine bark to help hold in moisture. Water your tree thoroughly with an inch of water every 10 days. The ground should remain as wet as a wrung out sponge.

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