Winter Information For Gardeners

    February 2019 / Volume 143
February Horticultural Tips
Know what you should be doing in the month of February.  A selection of garden tips (trees & shrubs, fruits & nuts, flowers, turf, vegetables and much more) can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
Tulsa Master Gardeners: Did You Know?
Tulsa Master Gardeners Horticultural Therapy for Seniors
Tulsa Master Gardeners: Horticultural Therapy for Seniors

For several months this year a short video will be highlighted in the newsletter to illustrate what your Tulsa Master Gardeners are doing around your community. Last month, the video highlighted your Master Gardeners in the classroom (K - 5). This month focuses on "senior students" in our community. Several times each month a group of Tulsa Master Gardeners visits a nursing home / senior living center to help brighten the day of some of our local seniors by providing horticultural therapy. We love doing it.......and they love having us.  What a win-win!  

"The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes.  And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig."
-  Texas Bix Bender, Don't Throw in the Trowel  
Keeping Deer Out Of Your Gardens

Spotting deer on your property could be a pastoral and welcome site . . . until they eat what you are growing for yourself!  Then, these once precious animals become a nuisance. Landowners plant a variety of vegetables, bushes, and fruit trees. Then, deer see this as easy fodder and welcome food . .  and, here they come!

Before you get the gun out, click on KEEPING DEER OUT to learn why they have become a such a nuisance in Oklahoma along with some mechanical, biological and chemical preventatives that can be used to keep them out of your yards, plants, and gardens.

Ice Melt Products Demystified

Although we don't regularly experience heavy snow throughout the winter months in Oklahoma, there are times when we get hit with a nor'easter. The affects can have us outside - shoveling snow and sprinkling various types of ice melt products to ease the assault of the storm. But, it is wise to know the effects that various ice melt products can have on our flower beds and landscape.
Click on ICE MELT to learn about the various products on the market, the effects they can have on our yard and beds, and how to minimize the adverse effects. 
Winter Rose Care & Pruning

While it is not recommended to prune rose bushes in early fall due potential new growth that could be damaged by unforeseen early freezing temperatures, in the dead of winter roses are dormant and their shape can be easily seen.  Therefore, i n order to enjoy a spectacular bloom of roses in May, it is important to prune your rose bushes in the winter months. 

For Oklahoma, February (around President's Day) is the best time to prune and shape dormant rose bushes before spring growth begins to show in late March. For more information on how to properly prune as well as other tips, c lick on WINTER ROSE CARE. 
February Short Story #1: 
Indoor Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small insects (1/8 - 1/10" long) that are common in high-organic-matter houseplant soils that are kept moist.  Though adults are mosquito-like in appearance, they do not bother humans or pets. It is actually the larvae or maggots that can injure plants by feeding on the roots. Symptoms include sudden wilting, loss of vigor, poor growth and yellowing leaves. Use of sterile media and avoiding over-watering can help prevent infestations. Existing infestations can be controlled with Bacillus thuringiensis v. israelensis (a type of Bt) which is sold under the names of Gnatrol and Knock-Out Gnats.
Amaryllis: Winter's Beauty

The Amaryllis is prized for its huge showy flowers from a big beefy bulb. It provides a dramatic show during our drab months of February and March. Therefore, many gardeners are tempted to try for encore blooming the following year.  This is entirely possible if you follow certain guidelines.   Click on AMARYLLIS to learn how to make this plant re-bloom year after year.
Integrated  Pest Management (IPM): What Is It All About?

 {Praying Mantis}                                                   {Hornworm}
IPM, or  Integrated Pest Management , is a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to prevention and control of garden pests with special regard to the environmental and human health. A successful IPM strategy relies on a continuous flow of knowledge, implementation, and evaluation of techniques used to produce positive results. While starting an IPM program may sound difficult, it is not. It is actually a fairly straightforward process. Begin with knowing your plants and their pests, then learn the four methods of control: cultural, physical / mechanical, biological and chemical. 
Click on IPM to learn more about each of these four practices, which are all good alternatives to broadly applying various chemicals to control pests and diseases.  
Ornamental Grass Pruning

Ornamental grasses are a great addition to any landscape and provide texture, height and interest in ALL seasons. In addition, these grasses are easy to care for and maintain, and include many hardy varieties suitable for any climate. Enjoying ornamental grasses comes with little maintenance to give the plant its best chance to thrive and produce a healthy, beautiful plant for the landscape.

Pruning ornamental grasses can seem like a huge task, but there are ways to simplify the process.  Click on  ORNAMENTAL GRASS PRUNINGto find out how.
February Short Story #2: 
Using Old Garden Seed

Seeds store best if they are kept in a cold, dark, dry location. Normally, seed will remain viable for about 3 years under these conditions though there are exceptions. For example, members of the carrot family (carrots, parsnips and parsley) are short-lived and are usually good for only 1 to 2 years. If you are unsure of viability and have plenty of seed, there is an easy method of determining how good your seed is.

Place 10 seeds on a paper towel moistened with warm water and cover with a second moistened towel. Roll up the towels and place inside a plastic bag with enough holes for air exchange, but not so many that the towels dry quickly. Place the bag in a warm place such as the top of a refrigerator. Re-moisten towels with warm water as needed. After the first week, check for germination. Remove sprouted seed and check again after another week. Add these numbers together to determine the percent germination.

Planting For Pollinators: A Double Hitter!

Winter is in full force and inevitably turns our thoughts to early spring.   Gardeners naturally start thinking of the creative possibilities for their gardens. For most gardeners, the joy of the entertaining dance of our favorite pollinators, from the ballet performance of butterflies, moths and skippers to the business of honey, bumble, carpenter, and sweat bees, to the magic of hummingbirds is motivation enough to plan our gardens to attract these delights of nature. 

Encouraging pollinators to visit our gardens goes beyond entertainment. Planting flowers and plants to encourage visits from our pollinators is also good stewardship over our earth . . . a win-win double hitter.  For a comprehensive story on this, click on  PLANTING FOR POLLINATORS.
Get An Early Jump On Spring Gardening
By Starting Seedlings Indoors
January and February are often cold and dreary months for many gardeners.  However, planning for and starting vegetables and flower transplants from seed can make this a much more interesting time of year. Start by o btaining your seeds from reputable sources such as garden centers and seed catalogs. Also, talk to your neighbors, friends and garden centers about what has worked well for them.  

While we can have a great flower or vegetable garden by buying plants, there is generally a broader range of possibilities if plants are started from planting indoor seeds. But, it takes the correct growing conditions to have true success.  Click on SPRING SEEDLINGS for broad information on how to successfully germinate and grow seeds indoors.
Mystery Of Needle Browning On Pine Trees
Part 1: Pine Wilt Disease
(Part 2 Next Month)

{Early symptom of Pine Wilt}                       {Mature pine killed by Pine Wilt}
What's not to love about pine trees? Many are drought resistant, cold hardy, and adaptable to poor soils. And, especially now in the midst of winter, pines present bold statements. Defiantly green, they shrug off bitter cold temperatures, icy rains, and thick snows.  But, u nfortunately, non-native pines are susceptible to one of the most devastating pine tree diseases - Pine Wilt.  Once infected, a tree will die within a few weeks to a few months and there is no cure.

For more on pine trees, this disease, and what can / should be done about it, click on PINE WILT DISEASE.

February Short Story  #3 
Veggies To Plant In February

February 15th - March 10th
Chard, Swiss
Lettuce (Head and Leaf)
Onion (Sets and Plants)
Peas, Green
Potatoes, Irish

March (Looking Ahead)
Know Your (Poisonous) Plants!

While it is good to learn about proven horticultural practices and those pretty flowers and shrubs that beautify our landscape, it is also important to have some knowledge about poisonous plants around us.  A few of the most common that are typically found in wooded areas are shown above, but some of our common lawn plants as well as indoor plants are also poisonous.  A few of these may truly s urprise you. 

Click on  POISONOUS PLANTS to learn about which plants among us, indoors and out, are poisonous for adults, children and our pets.

Do You Have Storm-Damaged Trees?
Proper Tree Pruning Techniques

At this time of the year there is the possibility that you might have encountered some winter storm damage on your trees.   If this has happened, make sure that the damaged areas are pruned away. Pruning removes broken limbs as well as dead and/or diseased wood and bark. And proper pruning helps to control the shape of the tree; it is essential to the overall health as well as the beauty of your trees. 

Click on  PRUNING STORM-DAMAGED TREES to learn about what TO DO and NOT TO DO when it comes to pruning trees.
"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows."
-  Doug Larson

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!

For this month, the following folks are being recognized for their much appreciated donations: 

Tulsa Master Gardener General Fund
Tulsa Nursing Center (Senior Living Program)
Jenks Garden Club (Speaker's Bureau Program)
Marilyn Baldwin
Judy Feuquay
Jeanne Hillman
John Mowry
Bob Plank
Jackie Rago
Ann Tarbel
Mike White
Kristen Wirth

Tulsa Master Gardener Endowment Fund
Lee Kutner
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 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.  

                                    Like what you've seen
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