An Important Update On Your Tulsa Master Gardeners

During these unprecedented and challenging times, your Tulsa Master Gardeners have joined others around our community in taking appropriate actions to protect both ourselves and the public from this pandemic. To keep you abreast of our status, the following is a summary of our current actions:

  • The OSU Tulsa County Extension Office building remains locked but you can ring the doorbell and someone will let you in. If you don't have a mask, you will be given one and social distancing rules apply. 

  • Most Master Gardener events are postponed until further notice.

  • Soil samples can be left at the Southwest door of the OSU Extension Office in a black lock box. There is a form and a soil bag in a tub on top of the lock box. $10/sample.

  • While walk-ins to our Diagnostic Center are not available at this time, hotline voice messages are picked up daily and will be responded to as quickly as possible.

  • The MG phone lines are active again, so call us with all your questions.

  • MG e-mail traffic is being monitored remotely and will be responded to as quickly as possible.

  • The Tulsa Master Gardener Facebook page is still live and active.

December Horticultural
& Garden Tips

Learn about what you should be doing in the month of DECEMBER. A selection of Garden Tips (Lawn & Turf, Tree & Shrub, Flowers, Fruits & Nuts, and more) can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
Dirt VS Soil

What do you mean that dirt isn’t soil?  If it isn’t, then what is dirt?

The place to start is probably with a definition of what is "Dirt" and what is "Soil".

Dirt is a mixture of basic "STUFF" such as rocks, sand, clay, and may include organic matter. The composition of dirt depends on "YOUR" geographic location, climate, and the specific organic matter in your area. 

The definition of soil is a bit more detailed. Soil includes the same materials considered to be part of dirt, as well as minerals, nutrients, water, and air (which is an essential component). In addition, the exact composition of any soil is dependent on typography (which is the shape of the land), climate, animals in the soil (such as moles and earthworms), and the passage of time.  
One way to think of the difference is: "Dirt" is what you get on your clothes, and "Soil" is what you want to plant your flowers in. Soil can sustain life, but dirt cannot support life.

Did you know that soil is so important that it has its own special day? It does. December 5th each year is designated as World soil day, which makes December the perfect time to learn more about soil and its importance in everyone’s life.

You can learn more about soil by watching this Mental Floss video on YouTube https://youtu.be/aKiYHdtff2c ; and learn more about your own soil, by going to the Tulsa Master Gardeners website to find out how to take a soil sample https://www.tulsamastergardeners.org/lawn--garden-help-1/soil-1/index.html

NOTE: The amaryllis above is 7 years old, grown by one of our own Master Gardeners.
Amaryllis is as popular a holiday gift plant as poinsettia and Christmas cactus. And, few bulbs are easier to grow than amaryllis and few bloom with greater exuberance and beauty. After starting, most varieties will begin blooming 6-8 weeks but some can take as long as ten weeks.

Originating in South America, the amaryllis provides stunning and attractive choices, and they come in a variety of colors. In order to ensure successful and quality blooms, click on AMARYLLIS for a few planting and growing tips.
Sustainability gardening is a very popular catch-all phrase right now. In a nutshell “sustainable” literally means enduring, long-lasting, viable and consistent. In gardening it simply means the capacity of our environment and us as humans. to be able to co-exist for a long time. 

Now that we have had our first hard freeze, you may be thinking that the gardening season is done for this year. But, it may be appropriate to think and ask about what to do (and not to do) with the gardens around our home given that the warmer months are clearly behind us. For instance, did you know that beneficial insects like lady bugs, praying mantis, soldier bugs and beetles that are so necessary in our gardens to control insect pests find their winter homes in decaying leaves and undersides of fallen plant material?

For a look at some sustainable ways to care for our little part of the planet, click on SUSTAINABILITY GARDENING.

This is a popular subject that we report on each year. None of the science has changed since our article last year but new readers may not be as well versed on the subject as our seasoned readers. The answer on what to do with fireplace ashes is not necessarily straightforward but a short lesson in basic chemistry should convince you of what to and not to do with them.

Click on FIREPLACE ASHES for a little chemistry lesson which will hopefully help you avoid problems in your gardens later.
With the help of recent gusty winds, our Oklahoma trees are now sporting their stately, leaf-bare, late autumn profiles. Not every tree is stark and vacant - some limbs are adorned by a shrub-like perennial we recognize as our State of Oklahoma floral emblem: mistletoe.  

Mistletoe actually has both beneficial and detrimental properties. Click on MISTLETOE FACTS to get the low-down on this interesting (what? yep!) parasite.
From forcing bulbs to growing houseplants to cultivating urban veggie gardens, container gardening has earned some well-deserved attention in recent years. And understandably so as container gardening offers:

  • Flexibility and variety in plant material selections
  • Beautiful and creative container choices
  • Space-saving benefits

The needs of container plants are basically the same as those in the garden: optimal air, water, light and soil. But, there are some key differences in approach that should be followed in order to be a successful container gardener. Click on CONTAINER GARDENING SOIL to learn about some key techniques.

Since 1983, the Tulsa Master Gardeners have been serving the public by offering research-based horticultural information to residents of Tulsa and the surrounding area. The Tulsa Master Gardener Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization. As such, it receives no city, state or federal funding for its Tulsa community outreach programs. In fact, the Tulsa's Master Gardener programs are self-funded by its own fundraisers, from member donations, and from public donations.

The main Tulsa Master Gardener fundraiser is its Annual Spring Plant Sale that is held each April. Other fundraisers include the Garden Tour and Garage Sale in June. And, one of the most important income sources that sometimes gets overlooked are the personal and corporate donations. These are so important in helping us to meet our financial obligations and we want you to know they are very much appreciated. 

MG Endowment Fund
The Tulsa Master Gardeners have been around for over three decades and we plan to be around for many more decades. Furthermore, we are considered one of the top five Master Gardener county programs in the entire nation. We are because of the size of our Foundation membership, the number, diversity and activity level of our various community outreach programs, and our overall financial strength! 
So, we are pleased to announce, in partnership with the Tulsa Community Foundation, the Master Gardener Foundation has established an Endowment Fund to ensure our long-term financial strength. Our plans are to build this fund for many years before making any withdrawals from it. Please consider us as you make your annual gift giving as well as longer-term estate planning decisions. Remember, all donations are fully tax deductible! 
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund the long-term success of the program, click on  TULSA MASTER GARDENER ENDOWMENT FUND.
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund our annual expenses, click on TULSA MASTER GARDENER AGENCY FUND.
We thank all of you for having been such faithful contributors both in the past and in advance for your future consideration and participation! Proud to be a part of the Tulsa area - such a giving community! 

Recognizing those folks that have donated over the past month:

Ann & Jim McKellar
Helen Huntington
Pamela Sue Hower
Richard Toon
Vija Sevier
Dave & Carol Sartin
Judy Feuquay
Susan Cravens

Diane Hambric
Jill Tenzythoff
Barbara Banfield
Steven Zenthoefer
Kristin Wirth

Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.