Alternatively, you can cover the dormant turf grass with several sheets of newspaper, then cover that with a couple of inches of sand or compost or a mixture of the two. Mow any dead vegetation as short as possible
Seeds: Seeds, purchased from a local source, usually will be better adapted to our area. They should come with instructions on how to treat the seeds or they may be already treated since some seeds require special treatments. They may require a different planting scheme from that given above because some seeds require light exposure for germination. There are specific guidelines that need to be followed for collecting seeds in the wild.
Care: Water as needed to keep the area moist until seedlings have a couple of true leaves. There is no need for fertilizer. Of course, avoid foot traffic.
Preparation of area: Although use of herbicides is usually not recommended, grassy areas are best treated with a glyphosate-containing herbicide. These must be applied to green vegetation well before seeding. Allow at least 2 weeks before seeding the area after application of the herbicide. Use the herbicide sparingly and be controlled in the application.
Using native plants and trees on your landscape helps Oklahoma’s native plants and wildlife flourish and avoids the spread of invasive species and the problems they can cause. Below you will find helpful tips, tricks and resources on planting wildflowers, where to buy native species, avoiding problems with City ordinances, and references for landscaping with and identifying wildflowers.
Where to plant: Most of the wildflowers in our area require several hours of sunlight. They will usually do well in most soils as long as drainage is adequate. Those wildflowers that prefer shade will probably require alteration of the soil not discussed here.
When to plant: Almost all perennial and many annual plants are best planted in the fall months of September, October, and November, seed is best planted in September and October. Plants can also be planted in the spring near the frost-free date.
- Lightly rake the area. Raking deeper than ½ inch will encourage weed seeds to germinate.
- Hand broadcast the seeds over the area. If you are using a mixture be sure they are properly mixed. Commercial wildflower mixtures contain flowers not native to the area so mix your own.
- Lightly rake the area again to assure good seed-soil contact.
- Spray the area with water.
Oklahoma Regions Different plants do better in different regions due to the range in weather and ecosystems. © Larissa Balzer/TNC
Using native plants and trees on your landscape helps Oklahoma’s native plants and wildlife flourish and avoids the spread of invasive species and the problems they can cause.
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum pictum) This fern was chosen as the Perennial Plant of the Year in 2004. It has incredible metallic silver-gray foliage colored with hints of red and blue. It provides charming contrast to more subtle shade plants. Japanese painted fern grow 12-18 inches tall and is extremely low-maintenance. It combines well with hosta, foamflower, sedge, and astilbe. The pretty fronds are lovely in flower arrangements. The fern prefers part to full shade and moist, humus-rich soil. Zones 4-8 Learn more about Japanese painted fern.
Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) It’s so exciting to have plants that bloom in the winter. It’s like getting a bonus! Winter jasmine blooms with bright yellow flowers in late winter before the leaves unfurl. It can be grown as a climber on a trellis, where it will reach 12-15 feet tall. Or it can be left to become a groundcover that will reach about 4 feet tall. Winter jasmine also looks pretty falling over a wall. Plant it on the south side of the house, where it will get good winter light and produce the most flowers. It’s best grown in well-drained, sandy loams with regular moisture. Zones 6-10 See more about winter jasmine.
Bosnian pine (Pinus heldreichii ) As the name suggests, this hardy pine is native to southeastern Europe. It is a slow-growing evergreen with an upright, pyramid-shape form. The branching is somewhat open, so it looks nice planted with more tightly branched yews and spruces, adding diversity to an evergreen planting. The tree grows 20-30 feet tall — not a giant in the world of pines — making it a great choice for suburban gardens. It prefers full sun and average garden soil. This pine is quite drought-tolerant once established. It’s sometimes called Pinus leucotomies. Zones 5-6
Giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima) Native to Oklahoma, giant coneflower is a powerhouse of summer color. The stems can reach 5-6 feet tall, so give this perennial a place in the back of a border or plant it in a meadow for a strong vertical accent. The lovely flowers — with bright golden ray petals that surround a dark brown cone — draw butterflies, which you’ll see at eye level thanks to the tall stems. Finches clamor to get to the seeds in the cones in late summer. The powdery blue stems and foliage don’t need staking. Giant coneflower blooms in summer and looks best planted in drifts. It prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun but tolerates light shade. Zones 4-8
Each spring, the Oklahoma Proven Selections program announces four additions to its plant selections: one tree, one shrub, one perennial, and one annual. These Proven Selections have been tested across the state for their ability to thrive in Oklahoma gardens and landscapes. To earn the designation, plants must show good pest and disease resistance, provide more than one season of interest, and require a low level of maintenance.
‘Magnus’ purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea “Magnus’) ‘Magnus’ has become a much-loved staple in gardens. It has strong 2.5- to 3-foot-tall stems to hold up deep purple-pink flowers and does not need to be staked. The center cones are orange, turning brown when mature. The flowers are often used in fresh and dried arrangements, and small birds love the seeds inside. Butterflies rush to the blossoms for nectar. Purple coneflower looks lovely combined with Russian sage and blazing star. Grow it in full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 3-8 See more about ‘Magnus’ purple coneflower.
Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) This 6- to 10-foot-tall native shrub has something for everyone. Clusters of white to light pink flowers bloom in spring, providing nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Clusters of glossy red fruit replace the blossoms in autumn. The fruit persists into winter, extending the season of interest because birds don’t like them until they’ve frozen a few times. Bright red fall color makes red chokeberry a terrific alterative to the non-native burning bush. Chokeberry prefers average soil in full sun or part shade. Zones 4-9
Persian ironwood (Parrotia persica) “One of the best small specimen trees that I know,” says Michael Dirr, author, educator, and guru of woody plants. That is high praise, and it’s true that few small trees can rival this Persian beauty, which grows 20-40 feet tall. It flowers very early in spring, before the foliage unfurls, with red-and-white blooms. The flowers aren’t large, but they’re quite pretty upon inspection. The new foliage is reddish purple, changing to glossy green for the summer, and ending the season in a combination of yellow, orange, and scarlet. Interesting bark adds to the winter landscape. Grow the tree in full sun or part shade. Zones 5-8
These plants earn their places in thriving Oklahoma gardens and landscapes. They’ve been tested and approved by local horticultural experts.
These plants earn their places in thriving Oklahoma gardens and landscapes. They've been tested and approved by local horticultural experts.