With the heat of summer melting us away, we can’t help but observe how it affects the various types of trees around town. All too often, we see trees planted that can’t withstand the gauntlet that Oklahoma summers throw at them. In considering this, it’s great to find a tree that is willing and able to tolerate Edmond’s hot and dry conditions. Sometimes you need a native tree that originated in these conditions, and that’s where ‘White Shield’ Osage orange comes in.
People often shy away from Osage orange, Maclura pomifera, due to the sharp thorns and large fruits, but those concerns are alleviated through the cultivar known as ‘White Shield’. Naturally occurring in Oklahoma, the parent tree for ‘White Shield’ Osage orange was discovered near the White Shield Creek in the western part of the state. The fruitless and thornless qualities of this cultivar make it a perfect specimen tree for any yard with space for a shade tree. Once established, its characteristic upright branches grow very quickly and produce glossy dark green leaves. ‘White Shield’, like other Osage orange trees, is heat and drought tolerant, as well as resistant to breakage in high winds and even ice. ‘White Shield’ is also very tolerant of many different soil types and typically grows to heights of 20 to 40 feet with a similar spread. With all of these characteristics going for it, it is easy to see why ‘White Shield’ Osage orange is a great tree for Oklahoma.