Oklahoma is subject to some crazy weather, with spring and summer severe storms pelting us with rain, hail, high winds, and a few tornadoes spinning from time to time. This was the case on Thursday, July 14th, when blue skies in the morning gave way to dark scary looking clouds by noon. You know it’s going to be bad when the sky has that dark, greenish hue to it, with clouds swirling all around. Tornado sirens blasted, and the storm blew through for about an hour or so, with heavy rain and high winds.
As I drove through Tulsa, many neighborhoods had leaves, tree branches, even entire trees blown down by the high winds. One tree in particular which we really despise is the Bradford Pear tree. It was a popular tree planted in many home lawns back in the 80’s and 90’s especially, before folks discovered how weak they are in standing up to high winds. Bradford pears grow very quickly, and do form a nice oval canopy, with nice white flowers blooming in the early spring. However, they are really more like a shrub than a tree, need frequent pruning to keep from becoming too large, and eventually will just be blown down by Oklahoma winds. Their wood and branch structure is very weak, so as the tree in this picture, will not stand up to high winds or ice storms. So the remaining part of this tree will not look good or survive, so it will need to be taken out.
Another old tree variety that was planted years ago that has a weak branch structure is the Silver Maple. It too will loose entire branches with wind damage, which causes the tree to look really bad and eventually will need to be removed from the landscape. There are newer varieties of Maples, such as Red and Yellow Maples, which have much better shapes and structure, stronger wood, and are less prone to wind damage. They also exhibit great fall colors, so they are much better choices for a home landscape in Tulsa or OKC.