Happy Spring everyone! (Finally!!)

I’m Lisa K Hair. I am a new addition to the Garden section of the paper, so let me tell you a little about myself.

I am Groundskeeper II/Gardener for Oklahoma Baptist University since 2001, a Multi-County Master Gardener, and an artist. I also own my own landscape design company, “Landscapes by Lisa”. I have Associates degrees in Business and in Horticulture from OSU/OKC. My biggest gardening passion is trees. Oklahoma Baptist University has the only accredited Arboretum in the state of Oklahoma, with over 150 types of trees and shrubs.

If you take a tour of OBU, you will sometimes notice a small metal tag hanging from a tree. Take a look at it if you want. It tells you the Latin name of the tree, the common name of the tree, and then a number. The first 2 digits of the number is the year it was planted, and the second 2 is which tree it is. So, tree # 0142 would have been planted in 2001, and it was the 42nd tree to be planted that year.

We have some trees dating back to the 50’s! Walk around more and you may find all 17 different species of Oak, 15 different species of Maples, and 8 different species of Redbuds, including a Giant-leafed Redbud! We even have a Weeping Bald Cypress and a Weeping Redbud.

Trees are a highly desired extra when you are buying a home. Oklahoma’s broad range of weather is a big factor in choosing the right tree for your home. We have humidity, high heat at times, biting cold, and of course, high winds. We need trees to help as windbreaks as well as shade and beauty.

Trees lower your cooling costs by shading the walls, they are great for relaxing in a hammock or lawn chairs, and they are home to a number of birds and squirrels. For a step-by-step demonstration of how to plant a tree, come out to OBU on Tuesday, April 2, at 2 pm for our annual Arbor Day celebration. We are planting a Cedar of Lebanon on the Oval between Shawnee Hall and WMU Dorm. Just go to the Fountain and look to the northwest. You’ll see a group of people there.

When planting a tree, be sure to check its description tag to see how tall and wide it becomes at maturity. If it will be over 18’ tall, do not plant it anywhere near overhead power lines, and if it gets 40’ wide, plant it at least 30 feet from a home or building. That way the electric company doesn’t butcher it later, and you won’t have roof and wall damage from branches rubbing against them.

Good trees for Oklahoma homeowners are Chinese Pistache, Shumard Oak, Swamp White Oak, Burr Oak, and most Red Maples. These are taller trees, not good for anywhere near power lines. Good choices for there and other small areas are Redbuds, Tupelo Gum, Tokyo Tower Chinese Fringe Trees, and Flowering Crabapples.

PLEASE, under no circumstance, plant any type of ornamental pear! These include Bradford, Capital, Chanticleer, Aristocrat, etc. These have become extremely invasive in the wild, and some states have even passed legislation prohibiting the growing and selling of these now. They are weak-wooded, and have a bad tendency to fall apart in high wind conditions, so if you must buy a Bradford, plan on buying a chain saw at the same time. You’ll need it later.

Trees give long-lasting beauty to any home, and are fun when they get more mature. I have fond memories of climbing trees in our woods, and of all the treehouses my brothers and I built growing up. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to get dirty!

Just remember, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is today!