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 actions taken to date:

  • The OSU Tulsa County Extension Office building remains closed to all walk-in visitors at this time. Although mostly telecommuting, Extension Office staff are slowly returning to work as per Governor Stitt's Phase Three Guidelines.
  • People can make appointments by calling the main Extension Office phone number.
  • Social distancing is required and masks will be provided for those who do not have them. 
  • All Master Gardener events (Community Events, Speakers Bureau, School Program, Senior Living, Garden Tour, etc.) 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. 
  • While walk-ins to our Diagnostic Center are not available at this time, hotline voice messages are picked up periodically 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 MG Facebook site is still live and active.

Spring Gardening Tips

 June 2020 / Volume 159
June Horticultural / Garden Tips
Learn about what you should be doing in the month of June.  A selection of garden tips (Turfgrass, Fruit & Nut, Trees & Shrubs, Flowers, and General Landscape) can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
For Fruit Tree owners, a couple of handy OSU Fact Sheets on fertilization and maintenance are:

HLA-6259 (Small Fruit Fertilization and Maintenance Schedule)
EPP-7641 (Common Diseases of Stone Fruit Trees & Their Control)
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.  Given that, 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 effective 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 this particular episode, a general Q&A format is being used, so click below to get answers to various gardening questions that we are receiving at this time: 

MG Podcast 015
MG Podcast 015

The Psychological  Benefits of Gardening

In the last few months, much of America has spent more time at home due to stay-at-home orders and the closure of schools. Social isolation and worry can have a negative impact on mental health leading to symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as disrupted sleep patterns. Across the country, we have seen many people turn to gardening as a way of spending time, alone or together with family, during the pandemic. 


There are many psychological benefits to gardening and spending time among plants. Gardening teaches of patience and compassion as things are always changing. It allows us to slow down and "smell the roses". To learn more about the various psychological benefits of gardening, click on BENEFITS.

June Pest e-Alert: Lace Bugs

With spring in full force and summer on our doorstep, plants have emerged and exploded with
new growth . . .and so has the insect population.  At this time of year, among other insects, Lace Bugs are becoming a real nuisance.

There are approximately 140 North American species of lace bugs. Most have a specific host preference, which aids in identification. Some of the important species of lace bugs are for the azalea, hawthorn, and hackberry. Lace bugs also feed on oak, elm, basswood, fringetree, and pyracantha.

The different species of adults vary from 1/8 to 3/8 inch in length but all have wings and thorax beautifully sculptured with an intricate pattern of veins that resembles lace. Whether immature or adult, they are most often found on the underside of leaves.

For more information on this pest and how best to manage it, click on LACE BUGS.

Another Pesky Pest: Mosquitoes

Don't let the bugs of summer keep you from enjoying your outdoor spaces this year. Mosquitoes are not only pesky, but spread disease in humans, animals, and birds. Mosquitoes may be plentiful this year since we have had such a wet spring. 

The Tulsa World reports that the Tulsa Health Department has already trapped a mosquito that tested positive for the West Nile virus this year. While there have been no actual cases of the disease in Tulsa as of this writing, the potential exists as July through October are typically the highest risk months for exposure to the West Nile virus in Oklahoma. West Nile typically is transmitted between birds and mosquitoes, but it can be transmitted to humans. According to the World Health Organization, there has been no scientific evidence that COVID-19 virus can be transmitted similarly.  

For more information on this pest and how best to control, mitigate, or eliminate it, cl

The Case For Crop Rotation

Crop Rotation  is defined as the practice of growing a series of different types of crops  in the same area across a sequential set of growing seasons. It helps to maintain proper soil structure, reduces reliance on one set of nutrients, and helps  to eliminate various types of insects and pests.  In essence, w hen a single  crop  is planted in the same place every year, the soil structure slowly deteriorates as the same nutrients are being used time and time again.

For more information on proper practices,  click on CROP ROTATION.

"Leaves of Three, Leave It Be"

Poison ivy is a small woodland plant found throughout Oklahoma. It has three leaflets on a stem that are typically greenish-red in early spring, dark green through summer and turn red, orange, or yellow in the fall. It has small waxy, cream-colored fruits that later turn white. Every fruit contains a seed, which is eaten and spread by birds and other wildlife.  Virginia Creeper is a five-leaved plant that often grows side by side with poison ivy and is commonly mistaken for it.

Urushoil is the toxic ingredient found on the leaf and stem that produces the skin rash. It is generally said that if you can wash the oil off the skin with soap and water and moderate friction within a short time frame, you may be able to avoid becoming infected. 
For additional information on its growth pattern and control measures, click on POISON IVY.

No Sun For You: Planting In The Shade

       {Liriope}                                       {Lamium / Dead Nettle}
Do you ever get downright frustrated that, no matter what you do, grass will not grow under a shade tree?  And, you've tried other plants to no avail. Well, before you give up and just dump rock or mulch under those branches, try a little tree pruning and give some of these plants a try.  

For pruning tips and examples of plants that thrive in the shade, click on SHADE.

Monarchs & Milkweed: Fall Migration
This article is a follow-up to last month's related article on the Monarch's Spring Migration and the milkweed they prefer. If you did not get a chance to read that article, you still can. Click on SPRING MIGRATION.

And now, on to fall migration. June now and our summer solstice approaches, an important day for gardeners. By the summer solstice, the generation of Monarch butterflies that hatched from eggs on our spring milkweed have migrated further north. Within three to four generations, the Monarch population will have expanded to the northern limit of native milkweed growth and the northern limit of migration. In the Upper Great Plains and Upper Midwest (the Cornbelt as it's often called) the success of summer feeding and breeding will contribute much to the size of the population that migrates to Mexico.

Plant well for these seasons and you'll not only enjoy the fluttering beauty of the Monarchs, but you'll be helping to feed these migrants as they pass through and helping their population rebound after years of dwindling numbers.To better understand this timing issue, as well as the flowers we can plant which they will need for energy to make this long journey back south, click on FALL MIGRATION.

Ticks & Chiggers - Aarrgghh!

Throughout spring, summer and well into late fall, unwanted pesky insects find their way into our landscapes, campgrounds, sporting venues and even inside our homes. These uninvited, winged guests are single-minded when it comes to their human prey. From the low flying ticks and chiggers to the high-flying mosquitoes; all are relentless and can be bothersome with their bites. 

For example, ticks can permeate tight, protected spots that lie between our skin and clothing. Once they bite, their enzyme-filled saliva becomes irritating and itchy. Mosquitoes, on the other hand, can quickly land or light on our exposed skin multiple times before we're even aware of their presence. Chiggers can be the worst bites of all three of these pests.

For detailed information on how to protect yourself from these pests of nature, click on PESTS.
June Short Story (Repeat from May)
Hydrangea Tidbits

  • Planting Time: spring or fall - blooms all season long - easy to grow
  • Blooms:
    • On old wood: (Bigleaf/Macrophylia, Oakleaf, Mountain)
    • On new wood (Panicle, Smooth)
    • On both old wood and new wood (Endless Summer, Blushing Bride)
  • Soil: well-watered but well-drained soil, rich/high in nutrients and organic matter, porous - add compost to enrich poor soil
  • Fertilize: Spring
  • Sun: generally prefers morning sunlight and afternoon shade (4-6 hours of sun per day)
    • Full sun: Panicle (most sun tolerant)
    • Sun: Oakleaf, Smooth
    • Sun to partial shade: Endless Summer
    • Part to Full Shade: Bigleaf
  • Prune: avoid heavy pruning - prune only in spring just as new growth appears (don't prune in fall as you may be cutting off next year's blooms)
  • Some Popular Varieties:
    • Big leaf / Macrophylia: Endless Summer, Blushing Bride (Mophead), Pistachio
    • Panicle: Limelight, Little Lime, Quickfire, Bobo, Pinky Winky, Grandiflora
    • Smooth: Annabelle, Incrediball
    • Oakleaf: Pee Wee; Ruby Slippers, Snowflake
  • Color Change (takes a bit of time: 3-6 months)
    • Lower pH (<6.0) = blue blooms - add sulfur @ 2# / 100 sf
    • Higher pH (>7.0) =pink blooms - add lime @ 8-10# / 100 sf
    • Exception: Panicle will not change color (white to pink to red in winter depending on temps)
  • Pests:
    • Adult Rose Chafers and Japanese beetles (prefer Oakleaf)
    • Scale: Oystershell - identified by their clusters of white eggs on stems
    • Slugs: Prefer attacking young hydrangeas
    • Aphids: Small black or green bugs on leaves
    • Deer: prefer other plants more but, when hungry, deer will eat hydrangeas


Most Popular Question: Why won't my hydrangea(s) bloom?
  • Over fertilized: too much nitrogen = more foliage and less blooms
  • Too much shade: need 4-6 hours of sun (but protect from hot afternoon sun)
  • Over pruning: May have removed buds on old wood (don't prune in fall or too early in spring)
  • Temperature: cold winter and/or late freeze will freeze new buds on old wood and will not bloom until following year
  • Time: can take 2-5 years to bloom; pick plants with blooms or bigger specimen
  • Animals: deer may eat the blooms

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, since 1983.  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!  

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.  

                                    Like what you've seen
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