13 May Proven Plants for Oklahoma Landscapes: Smoke Tree
Time for another installation of Jerry’s favorite plants for Oklahoma landscapes! Today’s special variety is the Smoke Tree or Cotinus coggygri. The Smoke Tree so called for its small pink “tufts” exhibited in the Spring. These tuft blossoms “puff” in the warmth of early Summer, giving the tree a soft fuzzy silhouette that lasts until mid Summer. For more Oklahoma Proven click here.
Not to be outdone by its Summer “plumage” the Smoke Tree puts on quite a show with its fall foliage as well, turning to colors that range from a bright yellow to a deep purple!
The Smoke Tree is a fairly small, shrub-like tree, with a typical spread of 10 to 12 feet and an overall height averaging around 15 feet. It can be planted solo as a focal point to add interest and color to your landscape in Spring and Fall or can be grouped to create a hedgerow, which can be quite dramatic. The Smoke tree tolerates other species but is best used with other plants for Oklahoma landscapes that do not require much water, since overwatering can be
The Smoke Tree is native to the Southeastern United States. Oklahoma is about as far West as it ranges. The Smoke Tree is not particular about its planting location, preferring Sunny spots, and able to tolerate full sun. The main concern for this tree will be overwatering, as it prefers its soil well drained to almost completely dry. The Smoke tree tolerates other species but is best used with other plants for Oklahoma landscapes that do not require much water, since overwatering can be a concern.
The thin bark of the Smoke Tree should be avoided with tools such as string trimmers and lawn mowers. Damage to the bark may cause the tree to become sick and die. Water young Smoke Trees lightly, until established, then watering should not be necessary except in exceptionally hot Summer weather, when light watering is good. This trait makes it one of the best plants for Oklahoma landscapes since it thrives in hot Summers.
The Smoke Tree does not require much in the way of pruning, simply remove dead or dried out branches about once a year. You can also thin it out by removing one in every three stems, or even cut the tree down to the ground each year so that it comes back as a low lying shrub.