AUGUST 2021 / VOLUME 173
The Tulsa Master Gardener program has been in place since 1983. Of the thousands of such programs in existence, the Tulsa County MG program ranks #5 in the entire nation.

New Tulsa Master Gardener classes start each fall, running from early September to early December on every Wednesday. If you have an interest in becoming a Tulsa Master Gardener and would like some up-front information on the program, click on TULSA MASTER GARDENER and WHY I LIKE BEING A TULSA MASTER GARDENER.

If this looks like something that would interest you, come to one of our August orientation classes to learn even more about becoming a TMGer.
August Horticultural
& Garden Tips

Learn about what you should be doing in the month of AUGUST. A selection of Garden Tips (Vegetable Garden, Lawn, Trees & Shrubs, Fruits, Flowers, and General Landscape)can be found by clicking on GARDEN TIPS.
From Green Country Master Composters

Your Master Gardeners are running a 3-part series on Fungi, Bacteria, and Invertebrates . . . aptly called F-B-I. Click on Fungi to view what was discussed in June. Click on Bacteria to view what was discussed in July.
The month of August contains the third and final installment of the Compost Connection's F-B-I trilogy series which will duly address Invertebrates and their role in the compost decomposition process. The June article covered Fungi, the July article addressed Bacteria, and Invertebrates will complete our Trilogy for components in the basic decomposition process.
There are hundreds of Invertebrates, but some common ones are: sowbugs (or pillbugs, roly polys), spiders, earthworms, snails, slugs, millipedes, and whiteworms, among others. These are the ones you can see with the naked eye, and are called Primary Consumers. When these are present in your compost pile, it indicates good bacterial activity and the temperature isn’t too high to kill the healthy bacteria. These work together with fungi to create energy to decompose. Ants and flies add to the excitement and production of the early composition process.
These primary consumers are part of the "food chain" and are themselves devoured by others in the healthy compost pile such as: springtails, some types of mites, feather-winged beetles, nematodes, protozoa, rotifera, among others, and are called Secondary Consumers. As each decomposer dies, or excretes, more food is added to this complex web for other decomposers. 

The next level of Invertebrates include: centipedes, predatory mites, rove beetles, formicidae ants, carabid beetles, among others, and are called Tertiary Consumers because they eat secondary consumers. Invertebrates tunneling through compost pile help with aeration which is essential for successful decomposition.

These Invertebrates work with Fungi and Bacteria along with "browns" (e.g. leaves, small branches, twigs, cardboard) and "greens" (e.g. food scraps, peelings, and grass clippings) as well as water and oxygen. These work together to create soil magic called COMPOST.
See the following Cornell University site for more compost information.


Want to learn more about composting? Here are a few suggestions:


Water longer and less often
  • The deeper the water can penetrate into the soil, the deeper the roots will tend to grow, thus helping turf withstand spells of hot, dry conditions better.

Water in the morning
  • The earlier you can water, the better. The relative humidity is highest during early morning hours thus allowing more water to reach and soak into the soil vs evaporating in the air. Plus there will be plenty of time to dry out before nightfall when wet plants/turf are more susceptible to fungal problems.

Bonus Tip: Mulch
  • Mulching greatly helps to control weeds, retain soil moisture, and moderate soil temperature plus it's a great soil amendment by adding organic matter as it degrades. Finally, it just looks better!.
Starting with this month's edition, we are going to start including a "tool of the month". These are some of the Tulsa Master Gardeners' favorite tools that they use in their gardens. They are of high quality and proven to get the job done.

The Cape Cod Weeder (obviously originating in the Northeast) works well on loose soil, works on both the push and pull, and the point can also be driven straight into the soil to dig out deeper weeds. It has a 6" long reach with a 3" blade.

While we don't intentionally promote any particular retailer/seller, to help you locate this tool the Cape Cod Weeder can be found on Amazon or Gardeners Supply Company for roughly $30-$45.
Buxus Microphylla
Boxwoods are one of the most popular shrubs you see around our area. They produce a nice, uniform green display in the summer and hold their green throughout the winter (unless we have an unusual brutal cold spell). They perform well as either a specimen plant or trained as a hedge. However, some people report that their boxwood has a bad odor, something like cat urine. Why is that?

Well, it has to do with the type of boxwood. Some species, especially the English boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) feature leaves that exude a strong scent, especially when the sun shines on them. Individual senses of smell differ, but many people think English boxwood smells similar to cat urine.

Other boxwood species (Buxus microphylla) has little or none of the foxy or feral cat fragrance of the English boxwood. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall, with an equal spread and has a compact, rounded habit. 

So, know there is a difference in types of boxwoods and be careful when choosing your boxwood variety.
There is no debate . . . we all (well, most of us) love our tomatoes. It is so much fun and rewarding to grow them from seedlings into fruit-bearing machines. And, a great way to get the kids involved in nature. Home-grown tomatoes are less expensive and just taste better than store bought.

But growing tomatoes in our climate can be a challenge. Why is that?

And, growing fall tomatoes can actually be better than growing spring tomatoes. Why is that?

For answers to both of these questions, click on FALL TOMATOES.
There have been many reports recently about bagworms covering landscapes in several counties in northern and eastern Oklahoma. Like last year, the summer of 2021 is producing a “bumper crop” of this caterpillar pest.

Thanks to OSU Extension entomologists of the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology of Oklahoma State University, they have produced a very nice white paper on the subject. Click on BAGWORMS to read about a description of them, their life cycle, their hosts, and (most importantly) management practices. They can be controlled with some effort. 
FALL WEBWORMS (in the summer)
While we're on bad news (i.e. bagworms), we may as well continue. The webworm appearance this year is earlier than usual and suggests we will likely see heavy loads of worms from now into the fall, especially in pecan trees. Their number each year depends on the presence of many natural predators and the health of trees. Our spring and early summer rains contributed to an abundance of juicy leaves, and this is probably the major factor in our current outbreak.

While most of the time they will not kill a healthy tree, they definitely do present an unsightly sight. To learn more about these pests and what you can do to control them (if you wish), click on WEBWORMS.
So, you've picked out a very nice plant. But, will it survive in our climate? Where would you go to find out? Fortunately, there is a tool available to all homeowners to help with that decision - the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

This particular map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a particular location around the U.S. The map is produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and is available on their website. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree Fahrenheit zones.

For more information on how to use this map to your gardening advantage, click on USDA MAP.
(a rerun from last case you missed it)

We all love our tomatoes. We love to grow them because of the reward of effort, not to mention the cost savings and they just plain taste better than store bought. But, with our weather, we all will struggle with problems from time to time. We may suffer from blossom end rot, splitting/cracking, or an attack from a tomato hornworm or two. That's life in the big city!

We generally run tomato articles for our readers in the summer. So, to better understand what causes these problems and issues and what to do about it, click on TOMATOES1 and TOMATOES2 to find out as well as have access to some great additional resources.
Very likely not our most favorite landscaping task - pruning. But, for many shrubs and trees that we have and love, it is inevitable. Pruning is one well-intended intervention that can turn a healthy plant into either a beautiful specimen or a disfigured, wounded mess. Learning to wield pruning tools like a pro takes a bit of learning and practice. Consider knowledge as the first and best tool to gather before indiscriminately lopping your ornamentals.

So, click on PRUNING for information on why, when and how to prune. Then, consult the resources at the end of the article for more detailed information on this key maintenance discipline.

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 Tulsa Master Gardener program, click on  
If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation to help fund the Tulsa Master Gardener program's annual expenses, click on
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 so generously over the past month:

Judy Feuquay

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