Oklahoma has a range of soils and climates that gardeners must deal with when landscaping. Oklahoma soil is primarily clay, but may be loamy in the Ozarks Plateau of the northeast and sand-like in portions of the western part of the state. Knowing your particular soil conditions will help you determine how best to landscape in Oklahoma.
Study the USDA Hardiness Zone Map to determine what zone the property you are landscaping falls under. Oklahoma has 4 distinct temperate zones, which include zones 7 a and 7b, and zones 6a and 6b. Oklahoma has cold winters with temperatures that dip below -10 degrees F, and hot, humid summers. Temperatures in summer may climb over 100 degrees F.
Test your soil to determine the structure, nutrient content and pH. Oklahoma State University maintains a Soil, Water and Forage Analytical Laboratory in conjunction with its community and continuing educational program. Submit soil samples for testing through your local OSU county extension office. Contact your local extension agent for instructions on how to take soil samples and package them for submission.
Amend the soil with compost, manure, peat moss, straw, cotton hulls or other organic amendments to improve aeration, nutrient content and drainage in clay soil. The soil test will determine which amendments are needed for your particular soil. Add lime to raise the soil pH and sulfur to lower the soil pH.
Break up soil with a rototiller to a depth of 6 inches. Rake over loose soil to re-grade it and remove large rocks and debris. Spread amendments over soil to a depth of 4 inches. Mix these amendments into the soil with your rototiller.
Select native plants to your region for landscaping. Native plants are adapted to your region’s temperature and soil. Purchase native plants from local nurseries that specialize in xeriscaping.
Group plants together based on their watering needs. Place these plants along the contours of your lawn to take advantage of runoff. Dig planting holes twice as large as the rootball, but no deeper. Place the rootballs of plants in the holes and cover with soil.
Mulch around plants to hold in water and crowd out weeds that steal nutrients from plants.