trees

Don’t Forget the Trees when Caring for Bees

Trees are often overlooked as important pollen and nectar sources. Since most trees flower well above the eye level of the average person, it is easy to forget about them as being important for bees. Read More...

Fruit Selections for Payne County

Ready to plant fruit trees? I share some cultivars that have proven to do well, or at least better than average, in our area. Read More...

Planting Fruit Trees and Shrubs

Interest in planting fruit trees seems to be on the rise in our area. With this in mind, lets consider how to give your trees the greatest opportunity for success. Read More...

Drought Stressed Tree Update

Despite the timely rains we received throughout much of last year’s growing season, our landscapes are still reeling from the effects of the drought of 2011-2012. Many stressed trees are becoming a significant safety hazard as the decaying limbs continue to break and fall. Before the leaves come out this spring take time now to examine your trees for decay. Read More...

Tree Management in Drought

Things are tough right now. If you follow the drought status updates from the National Weather Service, you know that we are already much drier than we were at this time of year in the summer of 2011. With the prospects of drought continuing in mind, please consider the following when caring for your trees. Read More...

Ash Tree Decline

Ash trees in the eastern United States are being devastated (i.e. virtually wiped out) by the Emerald Ash borer (EAB). The EAB was introduced to this country in the Detroit area in the 1990’s and has spread rapidly over the last 20 years. Read More...

An Odd Oak Issue

We had a very unusual sample from an oak tree brought into the Extension office this week. On first glance, the problem could have easily been misdiagnosed as broadleaf herbicide damage as the leaves were curled and misshapen. However, close inspection revealed disfigured veins several times their normal size on the back side of the leaves leading to the diagnosis of vein pocket gall. Read More...

Giving Your Trees a Chance at Success

Even though we have had a very mild summer by Oklahoma standards, the fact remains that we are still in a drought and our trees continue to pay a very high price. We may not be able to do much about the weather mother nature throws at us, but we can minimize other factors that can also cause our trees and other landscape plants to become susceptible to disease and insects.
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Protecting Your Young Tree Investment

As we enter into the heart of tree planting season, it might be a good time to review some basic care tips to insure your new trees get off to the best start possible. Read More...

Tree Pruning Tips

We will soon be approaching the ideal time of year to do corrective pruning on most ornamental shade trees. Please keep the following tips in mind if you do your own tree care. Read More...

Accidental Landscaping

Seedling elms, maples, cottonwoods, mulberries, and of course eastern red cedars are especially troublesome in our area. However, don’t be too quick to judge every tree that comes up unplanned as a weed problem. And while we are on the subject, it’s worth noting that a weed is simply a plant out of place, regardless of species or size. Read More...

Tent Caterpillar Season

If you remember last fall, many of our landscape trees (especially pecans) were hit hard with very high numbers of webworms. It looks like we may have a very similar situation unfolding this spring. Read More...

Leaf Blister Issues on Trees

Weather conditions this year appear to be just right for a large number of “leaf blistering” diseases to show up. While it is probably too late to treat for the symptoms you are seeing now, review this article for instructions on preventing an outbreak next season. Read More...

Oak and Sycamore Trees…Don’t Panic

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
The Extension office is being overrun right now with inquiries about problems with oak and sycamore trees. The two issues are completely unrelated so we will discuss them separately.

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that is very common to sycamores. I suspect part of the reason why we are getting a number of calls on it has to do with the drought; it’s been so dry the last few years that the disease has not been as serious as usual.

The good news is the disease is not fatal to sycamores. The bad news is it makes them look bad for much of the season as it often causes premature leaf drop. Since the disease is not fatal to the tree, control measures are not ordinarily suggested. However, if you have a high value tree and want to do everything you possibly can for it, some treatment can help. IF the tree does drop its leaves and puts on a second set, a fungicide labeled for anthracnose can help protect the tree. It will not help to spray now if you are already seeing leaves curl and drop, wait patiently for the new leaves to come out.

We are also receiving many calls on malformed oak tree leaves. In every case so far, this has been related to damage from galls of one form or another. Oak leaf vein gall seems to be especially bad. It is characterized by an odd growth along the vein of the leaf that eventually leads to severe malformation. Galls can also take on many other forms, ranging from resembling fruit to looking like something from a science fiction cartoon. See
OSU Fact Sheet #EPP-7168, Galls Formed by Insects and Mites for detailed information and what galls can look like.

Galls are another case where treatment is not warranted. While they can do significant cosmetic damage, they do not hurt the tree long term. That is good, because control of the insects or mites that cause the galls are very difficult.

For more information of this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies

Leaf Drop on Trees

Payne County Extension office has been receiving an unusually high number of reports of trees suddenly dropping their leaves. This happens from time to time; but for trees to do so in May when the leaves are full and green is very unusual. Read More...

Keeping New Trees Healthy

Getting new trees off to a strong start is a critical key to a long lived, healthy plant. Since fall is generally the best time to plant, followed closely by spring, this is a good time to talk about a few common issues that are often neglected or overlooked. Read More...

Fall Webworm Watch

We are getting reports in the Extension office of fall webworm activity. While these are common pests, this is a bit more than we normally see. It’s hard to be too bold in predicting the future for insect activity but this is one to keep an eye on right now. Read More...

Tree Pruning Begins with Safety

We will soon be approaching the ideal time of year to do corrective pruning on most ornamental shade trees. Please keep the following tips in mind if you do your own tree care.
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Storm Damaged Tree Report

Storm damage is inevitable in Oklahoma. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when”. Consider the following as it applies to any storm-damaged landscape. Read More...

Tree Care Starts on the Ground

Home Grown  by Keith Reed
The importance of protecting the root system of a mature tree cannot be overstated if the long term health of a tree is important. But what exactly do we mean by “protecting the root system?” We will get to that later into the column but first try to visualize this word picture as it is important in understanding how much root protection is enough.

Many of us are under the impression that if you pulled a tree out of the ground with its root system intact, the roots would be a mirror image of the top growth. This is untrue. A better model would be to turn a dinner plate upside down and place a wine glass on it. The goblet bowl would represent the leaf canopy, the stem would be the trunk, the base would be the critical root flare, and the dinner plate would represent the feeder roots.

With this image in mind, you can see that feeder roots extend out well beyond the dripline of the tree, often times 3 to 5 times the distance of the tree itself. It is these roots that the tree depends on for nutrient and moisture intact and air exchange. When they are damaged or covered, the tree will suffer to some extent. Just how much of this damage a tree can take is highly variable and is dependent on several factors including species, soil conditions, environmental conditions and sudden changes to the microclimate.

The root flare, the area above ground where the tree begins to widen as well as the large structural roots immediately below ground, is even more important to the long term health of the tree. This area should be protected completely if at all possible.

What exactly is meant by protection? Basically, it is anything that might dramatically alter the soil where these roots live and work to sustain the tree. This could be as non-invasive as soil compaction. A classic example of this is when areas under trees suddenly become regular parking areas, or in the case of housing construction, material staging or storage areas.

Adding soil to an existing area is also discouraged. While the problem may appear to be different from compaction, the net result is the same. Air and water movement is suddenly limited by the change.

Moving on to a more extreme example would be destroying the roots by deep rototilling or soil removal. During the drought of the last few years, I saw several examples where trees finally gave up and died when unknowing homeowners rototilled under their trees attempting to re-establish their lawn. The loss of the root mass was simply too much for the stressed tree to overcome.

Does this mean that if you’ve done some of this to your trees that they are going to die soon? Not necessarily. As an Extension Educator, clients often dislike hearing the words “it depends,” but that is exactly the case here. As already stated, a trees ability to withstand damage is dependent on many factors. All I can say with certainty is your trees will be much better off if the root zone is not damaged in the first place since once it occurs, there is not much that can be done to compensate for it.

For more information on this or any other horticultural topic, you can contact Keith Reed, the Horticulturist in the Payne County Extension office. Keith can be reached via email at
keith.reed@okstate.edu, phone at 405-747-8320, or in person at the Payne County Extension office, located at 315 W. 6th in Stillwater.

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies

Sycamore Tree Damage

From a landscape pest perspective, 2016 has turned out to be the year of the caterpillar. We’ve had problems with webworms since June and armyworms on turfgrass (and a few ornamentals) are also showing up in significant numbers throughout our area. We’ve also had a report or two of pumpkins being wiped out with melonworms. Read More...

Protecting Your Young Tree Investment

We need to continue to plant young trees with the assumption that some of our older trees will be failing soon as a result of the drought of 2011-2015. While a October would have been better, there is still time to plant trees this in November, if you do it soon.
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The Story on Mistletoe

I’m not sure why mistletoe has fallen out of favor a bit as a holiday plant but it still has an interesting story that is worth telling. The fact that this Oklahoma native is present (and seemingly on the increase) in our area gives even more reason to talk about it. Read More...

Webworms!

It’s not exactly a secret at this point but it is abundantly clear that this is going to be another bad year for webworms. Don’t panic. If you do wish to control webworms with a chemical treatment, here are some helpful hints. Read More...

Pecan Weevil Management for Homeowners

If you currently have a healthy looking pecan crop but you typically suffer from insect damage in the form of an empty nut with a small round hole in it, now is the time to consider taking action against the pecan weevil. Read More...

New Tree Care

Once the investment of a new tree is made, it is critical to follow a few steps to help insure its long term success. These are not difficult tasks, but based on years of observations, they are steps that appear to be often neglected. Read More...

Protecting Newly Planted Trees

Even though the drought of 2011-2015 is on its way to being a rarely mentioned historical event, our trees are still suffering the consequences and we will likely continue to lose more than normal over the next several years. We need to continue to plant young trees with the assumption that some of our older trees will be failing soon. Read More...

Growing Fruit and Nut Trees from Seed

As pecan harvest begins, people are asking if they can plant pecans from a favorite tree that will produce the same nuts as the tree grows? We occasionally get the same question about fruit trees. The short answer is probably not. Hopefully this will help explain why: Read More...

Tree Pruning Basics

We are approaching the ideal time of year to prune deciduous shade trees. If you decide to do your own work, please keep the following tips in mind. Read More...

Reclaiming Wooded Areas from Redcedar Trees

The Payne County Extension Office typically gets several calls a year from clients wishing to renovate acreage overwhelmed with redcedar trees. We are happy to help... Read More...

Pecan Grafting Season

Pecans are an important Oklahoma crop. “Improved” pecan trees are produced by grafting a desirable variety on to the rootstock of a native pecan. Our pecan grafting class is Tuesday, April the 28th at 6:30PM at the Payne County Expo Center. Read More...

Trees and Insects

Regardless of how the webworm population does or does not develop this year, if you’re a regular follower of this column, you may remember that we seldom advise attempting to control these pests. While it’s no question that they are a visual nuisance, it is rare for them to cause long term problems for a tree. Read More...
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