Master Gardener: Chaste Tree good garden choice
BY Anna Codutti
Saturday, February 16, 2013
2/16/13 at 4:43 AM
Q: I recently lost a lilac bush, any recommendations for a replacement that might be more suitable to this area? C.C., Tulsa
A: There are probably many choices available to replace your lilac, but one you should definitely consider is the Chaste Tree, commonly called "Texas Lilac," one of the 2013 Oklahoma Proven shrub selection. A large, multi-stem shrub, the Chaste Tree has dark green leaves with fragrant blue, lavender, pink or white spikes that flower heavily in early summer and sporadically through fall, which makes it a magnet for butterflies and hummingbirds.
Every year a statewide group of nursery experts and OSU horticulturists selects a group of plants to be "Oklahoma Proven." They are selected on the basis of appeal to gardeners, weather tolerance and disease resistance. The yearly picks are a shrub, tree, perennial, annual and another category called "collectors choice." The program has been recommending four or more plants per year since 1999 and now has a list of more than 50 plants from which Oklahoma gardeners can confidently choose.
If you are looking for a good patio or specimen tree, you might try Winter Euonymus. Considered a large shrub or small tree, it grows 15-24 feet, has light green foliage, attractive bark, yellowish-green flowers and interesting pinkish fruit that, when mature, splits to reveal an orange, fleshy seed. Fairly resistant to scale, it is quite drought-tolerant.
Catmint, this year's perennial selection, is another easy, pest-free choice. It has aromatic gray-green foliage and lavender blooms in spring, which, with proper pruning, can continue through summer. At 1-2 feet, it is very versatile in the garden. Use as edging, a border in the herb garden or as a spiller over a wall. Catmint is drought tolerant, and though it's great for attracting butterflies, it has the quality of also deterring deer.
Another very versatile selection for the landscape is the 2013 annual plant choice Helenium "Dakota Gold." Also known as sneezeweed or bitterweed, this Helenium is a native Texas wildflower, so it is well-adapted to heat and drought. At 6-8 inches, covered in yellow flowers, it is great in annual beds, used as a border and in containers.
For more information on these plants, the 2013 Collectors Choice Specialty Fruit Trees and past Oklahoma Proven selections, go to tulsaworld.com/OKproven.
If you have a garden-related question for the Master Gardeners to answer in a column, call 918-746-3701.
For best weed control in all Oklahoma lawns, consider using a pre-emergent herbicide in spring - to prevent summer weeds such as crabgrass - and again in fall to prevent winter weeds like henbit. OSU recommends homeowners apply pre-emergents mid-February through mid-March for crabgrass control. Some of the pre-emergents will suggest a second spring application in 60 days; always follow the labeled directions.
There are several pre-emergents available to homeowners. OSU suggests one of the brands containing either dithiopyr, prodiamine or pendimethalin as a good choice. These chemicals are found in many marketed brands.
Commercial applicators may have other pre-emergent herbicides available that may be applied at times different from the homeowner products.
Original Print Headline: Chaste Tree good garden choice
The chaste tree is a suitable choice for lilac lovers who want a shrub better suited to Oklahoma. BILL SEVIER/Courtesy