Horticulture does play an important role in the lives of the people of the state and makes up a significant part of the state's agriculture. The potential for horticulture production has begun to be realized. The value of the Oklahoma Horticulture industry exceeds well over one billion dollars annually.
Ornamental horticulture is continuing to increase in the state and many nurseries are being started. Oklahoma is home to some of the largest nurseries in the U.S. Flower crop production is also expanding. The high incidence of winter sun, mild winter conditions, availability of energy sources and increasing population in this part of the "Sun Belt" will probably encourage even greater expansion of these industries.
Vegetable crops are also expanding and the future for new crops as well as those now grown looks very bright. Most vegetable crops grow well in Oklahoma and our climate allows for two plantings each year of many of these crops. The principal crops grown are watermelon, peas, cantaloupe, green beans, okra, radishes, spinach, potatoes, sweet potato and squash. Fruit crops such as peaches, apples and strawberries are well established and acreage is increasing and there is interest in other fruit crops such as grapes and blackberries. The transition to "you pick" operations has resulted in an increase in the acreages of most fruit crops.
The pecan is native to Oklahoma's creek and river bottoms. Many of these native groves have come under management and new plantation pecan orchards are being planted. With the emphasis on proper tree management and the increase of pecan acreage, it appears that the future for the pecan industry is very good.
The Oklahoma turfgrass and landscape industries are growing at an extremely rapid pace. Residential lawn care, athletic turfgrass management, sod production, golf course maintenance, and landscape construction, installation and management industries are providing a for substantial boost to the Oklahoma economy. Income from these businesses has been in excess of $400 million. Variation in climate, topography and ecology of the state is great. Rainfall varies from 1524 mm in the Southeast to 380 mm in the Northwest. Elevations vary from 152-1520 m. Eastern sections of the state are hilly with much timber, creeks and river valleys. The western area is more flat, while the middle portion of the state reflects the transition from the Eastern to the Western regions.
Botanical Gardens and arboretums are an emerging area in Oklahoma. Recent passage of legislation created the statewide Oklahoma Botanical Garden and Arboretum (OBGA) which is coordinated by Oklahoma State University. There are 17 OBGA Affiliate Gardens now dispersed through out the state contributing to the tourism, enjoyment and education of Oklahoma citizens. Only two statewide systems exist in the U.S. Oklahoma State University offers a comprehensive public horticulture program, a weekly television show called Oklahoma Gardening, and a comprehensive research plant evaluation and selection program called Oklahoma Proven (OKP). The OKP plants are recognized by consumers for their outstanding landscape performance and are produced by the commercial ornamental industry.
Irrigation is used with most horticultural crops. A plentiful water supply and appropriate soil types are available to produce horticultural crops. The Oklahoma horticulture industry is forecasted to grow between 5-7% annually for the next 20 years.
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Last updated: Fri Dec 19 20:38:51 NFT 2003