Fall Is Truly In The Air

     October 2018 / Volume 139
October Horticultural Tips
All kinds of garden tips (Turfgrass, Ornamentals, Fruits & Vegetables, Water Gardens) and other information) for the month of September can be found by clicking TIPS.

Best Perennials For Fall Planting

                  {Helenium}                                           {Coral Bells}

                   {Coreopsis}                                              {Astilbe}

                 {Butterfly Bush}                                       { Aster}
It's true that, traditionally, spring is when most gardeners prefer to get outside after a prolonged winter to enjoy the crisp, but warming, spring air and start planting (after the last frost, of course!).  But, fall is also a great time to do so.  In fact, if you skip fall planting and wait for spring, you might be missing some of the best jewels of the garden that can deliver some fall color before old man winter sets in.  Not only does the fresh, cool air feel good on us this time of year but your perennials plants will also appreciate the six-month head start that you are giving them by planting now versus springtime. 

Click on FALL PERENNIALS to see some of the fall highlights that can be planted right now for some amazing fall color in your flower beds.
Soil Sampling & Testing

Clearly, fall is the very best time to do soil sampling and testing.  By having your soil analyzed now will give you the adequate time to correct for any pH or key nutrient deficiencies before springtime planting.  If you have not had your lawn or garden soil tested within the last 3 years, now would be a great time to do so.  Proper soil nutrients are absolutely key to successful landscaping and garden results.  And, for a mere $10 per soil test, it's a real bargain!  Turnaround time for test results from OSU labs complete with recommendations from our County Extension Agent is generally 2-3 weeks. 

To find out more about proper soil sampling and testing, click on  SOIL TEST    
Fall Preparation Of Flower Beds
The fall show in the garden feels like an encore performance for many.  After much of the excitement of summer blooming has faded, we ask our players for another chorus or two before we can close down the theater until next year's opening.   The above-ground performance is so engaging that it's easy to forget the importance of the unsung hero: the soil bed itself. It's the stage, the theater . . . the platform, if you will. Yes, of course, plants require air, light, water and soil to survive and thrive. But, without the foundation of good soil and bed preparation, the show is doomed to bad reviews.

For some suggestions for preparing your beds after the last encore, click on FALL BED PREP.
Peonies: Pros and Cons . . . And Care
Is it pennies, pineys, pea-o'nees, or pea'-o-nees? Depending on what part of the U.S. you are from, the pronunciation may vary.  But, one thing everyone can agree on is that peonies are beautiful, hardy, durable perennial plants with large fragrant flowers.  Peony history goes back over 2,500 years to their cultivation in China.  Peony breeding continues today with over 30 species and hundreds of cultivars and hybrids available.  Peonies are long-lived plants surviving a hundred years or more and can be a welcome addition to flowerbeds even when not in bloom.

If this has peaked your interest in this beautiful, yet hardy, perennial, click on PEONY to learn a lot more about them.
Harvesting Milkweed Seeds

As with comedy, harvesting milkweed seed is all about timing.  Too soon and the seed will be immature and won't germinate; too late and it will have either blown away or involve a flossy mess you'll need to deal with before sowing. Y ou are likely aware of the fact that milkweed has been disappearing from the landscape over the past decade, with monarch butterfly populations declining as a result.  While  there are many factors  contributing to the decline, loss of milkweed (the plant a monarch uses for breeding) is a leading factor, and luckily one that we can all work to reverse by planting milkweed in our home gardens, farm fields, or even unexpected places such as parking medians.
While you can certainly buy milkweed seed  from a variety of suppliers , harvesting milkweed seed from local ecotypes is a great way to ensure that you are working with plants that are well adapted to your climate and soil conditions.  For more information of proper harvesting of milkweed  seeds, click on MILKWEED SEEDS for more information.
Winterizing Houseplants: Transitioning From Outside to Inside

Did you give your indoor plants and yourself a rest over the past summer and put them outside?   With the gorgeous covered patios, swimming pools, and pergolas that are in vogue right now, it is exciting to decorate with tropical plants, ferns, and other indoor/outdoor plants.  But, these lovely plants do require a transition plan between outdoor life and indoor life.  Moving too quickly and/or not taking the proper precautions may make your plan less than a spectacular success.    

For more information on this process and some key tips on how to do this successfully, click on HOUSEPLANTS to learn about optimizing this transition period.  If you have not yet started this process, NOW is THE time to do so.  

QUESTION:   Why do I see a bunch of twigs/small branches on the ground around trees this time of year that look like they've been carefully pruned off the tree?
ANSWER:   It is a result of a pest called a Twig Girdler.   As the names suggests, these insect pests chew the bark all the way around small branches, girdling and killing them. These beetles don't sting you, nor do they carry infection to your plants.  However, twig girdler damage can be significant, especially in pecan, hickory and oak trees.
  • Spotting Damage:  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.  If you inspect the twigs, you'll see the twig girdler damage.  The twigs are gnawed off cleanly and precisely, almost as if someone had pruned them.  However, look closer and you'll see a faint rounding of the chewed end, the work of the adult female twig girdler.
  • Pest Development:  The adult female twig girdler lays her eggs inside a tree's twigs and smaller branches.  She selects a branch about as thick as a pencil.  She gnaws a circular incision all the way around the twig, taking out not just the bark but also digging deep into the wood.  In this girdled area, the female beetle digs out a slightly deeper hole and places an egg inside.  In a few days, the twig falls to the ground. The egg hatches out in the wood of the twig regardless of whether or not it has fallen to the ground. The larva grows and overwinters in the twig.  By the middle of the next summer, the larva has pupated and soon emerges as an adult.
  • Treatment:  First, don't start by buying pesticides for treating for twig girdlers. Your first step should be a thorough clean-up of the backyard.  If you pick up and dispose of all of the twigs on the ground beneath trees that have been attacked, you are affecting twig girdler control.  Many of the twigs you destroy will contain eggs or larva.  Treating for twig girdlers by removing the fallen twigs goes a long way toward ridding the area of this pest.

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 as well as the diversity and activity level of our community outreach programs!  
So, we are pleased to announce, in partnership with the Tulsa Community Foundation, the Master Gardener Foundation recently 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!

Got a Question? Or Maybe a Soil or Plant Sample?
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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 E. 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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