The Edmond Sun

Features

December 20, 2013

Virginia Pine now common in Oklahoma

STILLWATER — Oklahoma Christmas tree growers can pick any of the native adapted species of tree to grow and sell.

Unfortunately, that list is very short. To combat the fact that the poor choice of the eastern redcedar, which dries out quickly and becomes a fire hazard, is the only Oklahoma native conifer that has seen use as a Christmas tree, Chuck Tauer, retired forestry genetics professor at Oklahoma State University, began looking for an alternative in the early 1980s.

“This thing started for me as a research project. I was interested in (Virginia pine) as a potential for Christmas trees in Oklahoma. Because Oklahoma, other than slow-growing Scots pine, doesn’t really have much it can grow as a Christmas tree,” Tauer said. “The whole idea was to develop a locally adaptive land Virginia pine for use in Oklahoma.”

Because Virginia pine was being used elsewhere in the south as a Christmas tree, Tauer believed it would be the best fit for Oklahomans.

The first step of this research was to collect Virginia pine seed from across its native range, which consists of much of the eastern part of the U.S. In total, seed from 123 trees, representing 38 different natural stands of Virginia pine was collected and grown in an OSU nursery in 1984.

“We knew Virginia pine would work, we just didn’t know where to start,” Tauer said. “They were doing so-so, but we knew they could do better.”

He was right. After the trees were field planted in 1985 and cooperating Christmas tree growers planted some trees, data was taken over the next seven years. The data taken from the field plantings, combined with input from the growers, were used to identify the best individual trees from the best families in the original collection.

In 1990, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Forestry Services Division, began grafting these top-notch trees into a seed orchard to produce seed to grow improved seedlings for sale to Christmas tree growers.

“The market that we cater to in growing our own is the choose-and-cut market,” Tauer said. “You can go to Lowe’s and buy a fir, shipped in from who knows where and cut who knows when, and in who knows what condition. What we have to offer is a fresh cut, locally grown tree.”

Other than being able to simply produce a live Christmas tree in Oklahoma, the Virginia pine has many other advantages.

“Growers only sell a certain percentage of what they grow, as only a certain percentage becomes sellable. We have improved the percentage of sellable trees that you can grow,” said Tauer. “We improved the quality of the tree they sell and the growth rate so that they can sell them a little sooner.”

A Scots pine takes 8-10 years to produce a sellable tree, while Virginia pine takes 4-5. Due to Tauer’s research, Virginia pine is now the most commonly grown Christmas tree in Oklahoma.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • 11.6.12 Mother and Cub (2).jpg UCO forensic researcher answers key question

    After working a few human recovery cases on a volunteer basis with a variety of police departments, a question kept bugging Kama King.
    “You spend the whole day,” the UCO W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute student said, “sometimes days, searching for someone and only find a skull or a few bones and it just ate at me. Are we not finding this or is it not there to be found?”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Karan & Rwanda.jpg Peace through Business empowering women entrepreneurs

    Peace Through Business is part of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) based in Oklahoma City. It is a program that connects small business entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda with business owners in Oklahoma. One such entrepreneur found out about the program from a friend, applied, and was accepted to take part in this year’s session.
    Upon earning a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Universite de Sciences et Technique de Lille in Belgium, Lyliose Nduhungirehe began her career working for a construction company in Brussels, but she quickly switched paths to Information Technology.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How to care for your pet without breaking the bank

    It’s a shame furry friends can’t pay for themselves. Though wagging tails after a long day at work may make pet ownership seem worthwhile, a happy pup won’t stop those bills from rolling in at the end of the month. Thankfully, quick and easy ways exist for dog owners to cut down on costs.

    July 28, 2014

  • MS_new pastor_Page_1.tiff Local church welcomes new pastor

    For one of Edmond’s newest pastors, faith and family intersect on a personal level.
    Sam Powers, pastor at Edmond 1st United Methodist Church, 305 E. Hurd St., and his family arrived in mid-May and his first Sunday in the pulpit was the second one in June. He and his wife Sheryl Heaton Powers, have two children — Kyla will be an eighth-grader at Cheyenne Middle School and David will be a fifth-grader at John Ross Elementary.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • pm_Ramona Paul.jpg Keith, 5 others to receive service awards

    The 2014 Door-Opener Awards Gala dinner and silent auction Sept. 4, benefitting ASTEC Charter Schools, will recognize five outstanding Oklahomans and one Kansan for lifetime contributions made toward helping others in society maximize potential and achieve dreams.
    Those selected to receive a Door-Opener Award at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel event include Dr. Harvey Dean, Pittsburg, Kan.; Toby Keith and Tricia Covel, Norman; Former Gov. George P. Nigh, Edmond; the late Dr. Ramona Paul, Edmond; and Natalie Shirley, Oklahoma City.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • MS_Andy Billups.jpg Local man relies on experience in July 4 emergency

    Andy Billups just happened to have gained experience as a combat zone firefighter/medic while he was serving as a civilian contractor in Iraq.
    The Edmond businessman just happened to have a friend with a place on Grand Lake where he has been viewing Independence Day fireworks for a number of years, and he just happened to be there July 4.
    And he just happened to be relaxing on a hammock when he heard a some kids making a commotion.
    Located two blocks east of Disney on State Highway 28 in the foothills of the Ozark Mountain Range in northeast Oklahoma, the 59,000-plus surface acre Grand Lake is known for its state parks, marinas, restaurants, motels and fishing.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • -1.jpg 5-year-old learns valuable lessons

    It is never too soon to learn about giving and receiving. An Edmond 5-year-old recently learned about both.
    Kendall Kingry will be entering kindergarten at Will Rogers Elementary this fall and she is already looking forward to November.
    “I get to go to Disneyland in November,” Kendall said.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • peach formatted.jpg Hard year for peaches doesn’t dampen summer tradition  

    A rusting, silver-colored water tower tells visitors to this rural town between Muskogee and Tulsa that they’ve come to the “Peach Capitol of Oklahoma.”
    Residents of Stratford, the state’s other self-proclaimed peach capital, might beg to differ. Even so, Porter is known for its peaches, and every year thousands of people flood this town of about 600 residents to taste and celebrate the local crop during the three-day Peach Festival.
    Like the aging water tower, Porter’s peach industry isn’t as vibrant as it once was.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Final step to train toddler with baby on way

    Q: Using your advice, I successfully toilet-trained my daughter by age 16 months. It is now three months later and we are still using diapers at naps and nighttime. At her nap, which lasts several hours, she fully soaks her diaper. At night, she is taking off her diaper prior to falling asleep, wetting the bed after she goes to sleep and then crying for us when she wakes up in a pool of pee. Is this a sign that I should begin night training? I'm hesitant to do this because I am 8 months pregnant and don't relish the idea of waking up several times a night to take her to the bathroom and tending to a newborn as well. I would prefer to continue using diapers until she is old enough to get out of bed and take herself to the potty (even a potty in her room). Is this unrealistic? Or should I just deal with the extra night wakings and start taking her to the potty a few times a night now? If not, how do I keep her diaper on at night?

    July 25, 2014

  • Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

    Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural.
    Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants and trees trimmed. Place thorny but attractive bougainvillea or barberry bushes under windows, sending would-be thieves a sharp message to go elsewhere.

    July 25, 2014