Fall is Here . . . Finally!

 October 2019 / Volume 151
October Horticultural Tips
Learn about what you should be doing in the month of OCTOBER.  A selection of garden tips (Landscape, Vegetables, and Lawn) can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
Tulsa Master Gardeners
Video Podcasts
The core mission of the Tulsa Master Gardeners is to provide OSU Extension research-based horticultural information to the local home gardeners and the community.  To that end, we try to reach as many folks as possible through multiple media platforms such as TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, and this e-newsletter. And, as a part of our social media push, we can also be found on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. To supplement all of these wonderful ways to communicate, we have now added a new feature - video podcasts.  It is called Garden Talk and we invite  you to check it out.

In each episode we talk about a current pest problem, highlight a plant of interest, discuss what we should be doing right now in our lawns and gardens, and answer your questions.

So far we've talked about crape myrtle bark scale, moles and gophers, twig girdlers, re-seeding fescue, bark disease on trees, pansies, spring bulbs, and a lot more.

You can click the link below to subscribe to the youtube channel and watch the videos. Or, you can find them on our website by clicking
Master Gardener Podcast 003 - 9/27/19
Master Gardener Podcast 003 - 9/27/19

Oklahoma's Venomous Snakes

{Water Moccasin}
As many of us learned in school, snakes are reptiles - assigned to the same group of animals such as
lizards, turtles and crocodiles. Reptiles are commonly distinguished as having scales/bony plates,
laying terrestrial eggs and being ectothermic ("cold-blooded" - their body temperature changes with
their environment). They are carnivorous and will eat insects, fish and amphibians, and depending on
the size of the snake, small mammals, birds - and even other snakes!

Whether religiously or mythically revered or despised, snakes have been the subject of human
fascination for thousands of years. It is through perpetuating ignorance, fear and false information that
humans brand snakes as aggressive and threatening. When provoked or disturbed will snakes bite to
protect themselves from harm. And even then, statistically, bites are rarely fatal if immediate medical
attention is sought. Knowledge is key - learning to identify venomous snakes, studying their behaviors
and habitats, and appreciating the beneficial predatory role all snakes play controlling insect and rodent
populations in our environments and gardens.

For much more information on the venomous snakes of Oklahoma, click on SNAKES.
Preparing Warm Weather Grass For Winter

Summer draws to a close and we can now begin to feel just a bit of Fall in the air. With the generally milder temperatures and the rainfall we received this summer, our lawns should be green and healthy. Now, it is time to think what we should do for our lawns over winter.

While it seems logical to mulch grass and leaves back into the grass during the summer, an argument could be made to take a different approach in early fall by bagging and composting.   

For pros on this approach plus more information on ways to prep your warm weather grass for winter, including links to informative OSU fact sheets, click on WINTERIZING WARM SEASON GRASSES.
October Short Story
Pansies, Violas, and Panolas - Time To Plant Now

Pansies are quite the hardy fall and winter plant.  Violas are the smaller version of pansies with quite striking color. And, Panolas are simply a cross between the two - hardy and very colorful.

WHEN/HOW TO PLANT: Now is the time to buy for outstanding fall, winter, and spring color. Since these plants can be finicky to start from seed; it is recommended to buy established plants. They grow best when soil temperatures are 45 - 65 degrees but, once established, they will tolerate frost, freezes and snow. It is best to plant them in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil. They like full or partial sun, but need cooler temperatures to thrive. The ideal planting site will get morning sun; avoid the heat of the late afternoon. Space the plants about 7 - 12 inches apart as they will spread about 9 - 12 inches and grow to be about 6 - 9 inches tall.

WATERING: Remember to water your plants regularly. One of the most common reasons these plants fail is because they are not watered enough.  So, if they are not doing well, try watering them a bit more.

FERTILIZER: Use a general, all-purpose fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Avoid using a nitrogen-heavy fertilizer as this can result in more foliage and less flowers.


OTHER: Remove faded and dead flowers to encourage the plants to produce more blooms and to prolong the blooming season.

Hugelkultur - A German Method For Sustainable Gardening
This permaculture construction utilizes decaying wood and logs, garden debris, plant material, compost and soil to form a long, narrow, raised, layered garden bed. Like composting, hügelkultur simulates the normally slow, natural process of vegetative decomposition. Fungi, bacteria, insects and worms join forces with air and water to use these materials and produce a rich, organic matter as a result. Constructing a traditional raised bed, or a hügelkultur mound, may offer a solution for those with poor or compacted soil. Problem areas where erosion is a concern (hillsides or slopes), could benefit from carefully placed mounds to catch and retain water runoff.

For more information on this very interesting way to garden in a sustainable way, click on HUGELKULTUR.
Twig Girdlers:   Meet The Beetles!

Twig Girdlers  - maybe a great band name, but they don't sing a happy song.
This fall, before you see the leaves come down, you may see small twigs covering the ground. From August to November those twigs indicate the presence of beetle pests referred to as twig girdlers. 

If you have twig girdler beetles, you'll know it. Their damage is very conspicuous in late summer. You'll see leaves wither and die prematurely. You'll also notice twigs and branches dropping from your trees and piling up beneath them on the ground. And, upon close inspection, you will notice the twigs are gnawed off cleanly and precisely, almost as if someone had pruned them. Look even closer and you'll see a faint rounding of the chewed end, the work of the adult female twig girdler. That's when you have to start thinking about twig girdler control.

For more information on their life cycle, what trees they attack, what the symptoms look like, and control techniques, click on 
Fall Army Worms - They May Be Marching To Your Yard

This is the time of the year to be on the lookout for Fall Army Worms in lawns. The Army Worm larvae is 1-1/2 to 2" long and can be dark green, brown or black. On each side is a long, pale white strip. Some stripes may be orange or black.

The name Army Worm is commonly used because of the very large amount of larvae that can be found infesting in yards and trees. If your lawn is being invaded by these worms, you may notice brown patches around the yard, similar to the above image. Look at the edge of the brown spot and the green grass to determine if you can see the grass has been chewed on. 

For more information on an easy way to properly identify this pest and how best to counter attack it, click on FALL ARMY WORMS.
A Few Other Pests & Diseases To Watch For This Time Of Year

  • Acorns 
  • Webworms - 2nd generation
  • Pine Needle Drop
  • Pine Wilt Disease
  • Squirrels
What's All The Buzz About Bees?
Part 1

Butterflies get all the glory in the insect world. With their colorful wings and fluttering flight they captivate children and adults alike. Whole gardens are planted just to attract them with flowers producing sweet nectar. Certainly no garden should be without the joy of butterflies or the joy of flowers. 

Butterflies are beautiful, but are incidental pollinators. They're only after nectar, the sweet sugar that provides energy for flight. They have no need for pollen. They may pollinate a few plants unintentionally while sipping, but they have no use for the pollen they accidentally pick up from the flowers.
Bees, though, need both nectar and pollen. Nectar for energy, pollen for protein. They purposely collect pollen, for themselves and to feed their young. As they collect pollen, they perform the exchange that flowers need to produce seed. Flowers need bees; bees need flowers. From pre-dawn hours to dusky twilight, bees are at work pollinating not only our garden flowers, but also wildflowers, native fruits and the flowers of important vegetable and fruit crops.
In Part 1 of this 2-part series, click on BEES to learn about their importance in our world, the role they play in our ecosystem, some of the various types of bees, and more. Next month, Part 2 will focus on why we are losing these angels of our landscape architecture and what can be done to help the loss. So, be sure to "tune" back in then. 
Christmas Cactus in October?

So, why in the world are we talking about Christmas cactus in October?  Whether you are in the market to buy one or you already have one and are wondering how to make it bloom every year around Christmas, this story is for you as you need to be taking action very soon.

Did you know that there are actually two kinds of "Christmas Cactus" on the market today? The most common one is the Thanksgiving or Crab Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata), It flowers over an extended period from late October through December.

However, the true Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) is an old-fashioned plant which many a grandmother has been growing on the front porch for years. It has rounded leaf segments and nearly regularly flowers each season and they are mostly red or pink. It does bloom around Christmas, but it is not nearly as reliable a bloomer as the Thanksgiving Cactus. Most growers prefer the latter one for that reason.

For more information on this holiday beauty PLUS detailed instructions on how to make it bloom year after year, click on CHRISTMAS CACTUS.
Preparing Outdoor Plants For The Winter Indoors

Well, it's that time of year again, when some of us find ourselves engaged in an annual ritual of preparing our houseplants for the haul back indoors. For most houseplants, this means ending their summer vacation when night temperatures fall below 45-48° F. Waiting beyond this time, is flirting with disaster and you may find many tender tropical leaves dropping or getting a clear, murky surface, thus requiring your immediate attention.

As simple as this task may sound, it turns out that this is a project that needs some organizing. Click on PLANTS BACK INDOORS and follow the provided steps to ensure a successful transition from outside to inside.

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
Did you know that we have been around for over three decades, since 1983?  And, we plan to be around for many more decades.  Did you know that  we are one of the top five Master Gardener county programs in the entire nation?  We are, indeed, because of the size of our Foundation membership, the diversity and activity level of our 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 you for having been such faithful contributors both in the past and in advance for your future consideration and participation!  The Tulsa area is such a giving community!  

Got a Question? Or Maybe a Soil or Plant Sample?
MG logo
Our Master Gardeners are on hand to assist you with even the toughest gardening questions. Visit us in person, by phone, via email or online! Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.

Address: 4116 East 15th Street (Gate 6 at the Fairgrounds)
Phone: (918) 746-3701

Need More Information?
law n fertilizer
complex leaves
All about butterfly gardening in Tulsa County.

How to Take a Soil Test
How to collect a good sample of soil from your lawn or garden and get it tested at the OSU lab.

Once you have collected your soil test and gotten the results back, now what? Find out here. 

Show and tell.
Cool Season Lawn Care (Fescue)
12-month maintenance calendar.
State horticulturists, nurseries and growers pick favorite plants, shrubs and trees for use in the Oklahoma landscape. See the winners for this year and years past.

A list of recommended trees with descriptions. 

A list of over 60, by size and color.

Visit our demonstration garden on  15th Street, open 7 days a week. 

Current and historical source of rainfall, air temperatures, soil temps and much more. Click on Bixby station.  

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