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 (Community Events, School Program, Senior Living, Garden Tour, etc.) are postponed until further notice. However, a couple of programs (Urban Gardener and Downtown Lunch & Learns) are being held virtually (see below for details).
  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.
***NOTE: Thursday's Garden Talks have been cancelled for now.***
September Horticultural / Garden Tips

Learn about what you should be doing in the month of September. A selection of garden tips (Landscape, Vegetables and Lawn) can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
Tulsa sits in a transitional zone, which means it's really too hot in the summer for fescue (which is a cool season grass). Therefore, we use fescue as a shade grass. 

While fescue will grow in full sun in climates farther north of us, our growing season really doesn't start until September.  In the fall when it's cooling down, the leaves are falling off the trees and fescue really thrives. It continues to thrive most of the winter and all through springtime when the trees are not fully leafed out. When it gets hot, the fescue is again back in the shade. In short, mid-September to mid-October is the optimum time to start a fescue lawn or over-seed one. 

To find out more about the establishment and maintenance of fescue lawns, click on FESCUE LAWNS. This link will also take you to additional resources for more information.
Fall must not be far off because the outbreak of our fall webworms (Hyphantria cune) has certainly started. The fall webworm has been recorded on at least 88 species of shade, fruit, and ornamental trees in the United States. The preferred hosts vary from one area to another. But, in Oklahoma, Persimmon and Pecan trees are most commonly infested. Black Walnut and Hickory are also common hosts.

The fall webworm is a moth in the family Erebidae known principally for its larval stage which creates the characteristic webbed nests on the tree limbs of a wide variety of hardwoods in the late summer and fall. While it is considered a pest, it generally does not harm otherwise healthy trees.

For more information on their life cycle and what methods are best to counteract them, click on FALL WEBWORMS. You might be surprised.
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.
In 1999, the faculty of Oklahoma State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture began the Oklahoma Proven Program - a program designed to evaluate, recommend and market plants best suited for our challenging Oklahoma climate and soil conditions.

Every year since, winning selections are released in the four categories - tree, shrub, perennial and annual. Considering that fall is THE best time for tree planting, which of these selections in the tree category are best suited for fall color and winter interest?

Choices do not end with just colorful foliage. Also, consider the many ways that an evergreen may enhance your landscape by the addition of berries/fruits or seed pods, by interesting bark texture, or by the overall shape of a bare tree. You may find that some of these may appeal to you . . . or the wildlife in your garden.

Click on FALL TREE COLOR for a few of the many selections available.
Across Oklahoma, opportunities abound to plant flowering trees, fruit trees and some trees that will one day reach heights well beyond thirty feet. THE proper time to plant a tree in our zone is from October to March, essentially from fall to early spring. During that time, a newly planted tree has an opportunity to attach itself to the soil and benefit from many organisms in the organic matter that, working together, support its life.

Plant-ready trees come in either a container or what is referred to as ball and burlap (B&B). There are many ways to incorrectly plant a tree. If done incorrectly, the tree could actually die within 2-3 years, and all of your work could be wasted. So, for more information on the proper technique, click on PROPER TREE PLANTING to provide you the needed information for a strong chance for success.
People have collected rainwater since ancient times. It is an old skill that is still relevant today. An average residential roof will produce a large amount of runoff even with very little rainfall. For instance, during a 1-inch rainfall over 1/2 gallon of water can be collected for each square foot of roof area, or about 60 gallons for every 100 square feet. That’s a lot of water!
Rainwater harvesting systems can be as simple as a large container with a spigot at the bottom placed under a downspout, or they can be more elaborate as you choose. For information on exactly how to construct and maintain one of these handy items, click on RAIN BARREL
Tree Killed By Pine Wilt Disease
How have your pines fared over the summer? Do they look healthy or are you seeing brown needles, dead branches and/or oozing sap. There are several diseases of pines that surface during the late summer, so this is a good time to observe any changes that may be taking place.

Sadly, sometimes pine trees can be too sick, stressed or damaged to save. For instance, if hit with the Southern pine beetle (a highly destructive pest), sometimes the only cure is to remove the infested tree(s).

But, there are easier, less radical solutions to other problems. Click on PINE TREE DAMAGE to see if you have any of these symptoms and what to do about it.
One fall activity is transplanting perennials. Although not all perennials need to be transplanted every year, many do. Some signals plants may give include: a “balding near the middle,” smaller blooms than in the previous year, and/or weaker stems that may have to be staked in order to hold up new growth and blooms.

But why even go to the trouble of dividing and transplanting perennials? Well, it helps the plant perform better; it provides more space for roots to grow and absorb nutrients and water; it helps manage the size of the plant; AND you will have more plants to add to your garden (or give to others!).

For additional detailed information on the recommended way to divide and transplant these beauties, click on TRANSPLANTING PERENNIALS. An additional resource on how and when to divide perennials (from the University of Minnesota) is found by clicking DIVIDING PERENNIALS.