Winter Information For Gardeners

     January 2019 / Volume 142
January Horticultural Tips
A selection of garden tips (Lawn & Turf, Trees & Shrubs, Flowers, Fruits & Nuts, and much more) for the month of January can be found by clicking GARDEN TIPS.
Tulsa Master Gardeners: Did You Know?
Every month this year a short video will be highlighted in the newsletter to illustrate what your Tulsa Master Gardeners are doing.  This month focuses on the Tulsa County Master Gardener School Program.  Did you know the Tulsa Master Gardeners visited 87 schools and 754 classrooms in the Tulsa and surrounding area school systems to interact with almost 18,000 kids in 2018?  Check out the video below to see the positive impact they are having on our next generation of gardeners.

Tulsa County Master Gardener School Program
Tulsa County Master Gardener School Program

January Short Story #1:
Poinsettias Are Poisonous - True or False?

At times, an old time rumor is resurrected that poinsettias are poisonous.  This is NOT true because this plant does not contain the irritant diterpenes which is the toxin in other members of the genus Euphorbia to which poinsettia belongs.  Though there may be an allergic reaction to the milky sap, there has never been a recorded case of poisoning.   No one is sure how this myth started, although it's often attributed to the 1919 death of a girl whose parents thought she had eaten poinsettia leaves.  The truth is, a person would have to eat about 500 poinsettia leaves to get sick.   If a child eats enough poinsettia leaves (say five), they may become nauseated or throw up.  But, they are probably not going to eat more than one or two bites in the first place because the leaves are reported to have a most unpleasant taste.  
Christmas Tree Disposal Options
The holidays are over and, for the folks who purchased a live Christmas tree, there are quite a few options for you to manage its disposal.   Some are more environmentally friendly than others.  For instance, l ive Christmas trees are biodegradable and can be easily reused or recycled as mulch and for other purposes.  A reminder that m ost options involve removing all of the ornaments, tinsel and flocking (if possible) before re-use or disposal.
For a listing of ideas and options, click on TREE DISPOSAL
January Short Story #2:
Storing Potatoes In Cold Temperatures

Potatoes stored below 40 degrees F will not sprout and will remain firm for long periods of time.  However, such storage will often lead to starches being converted to sugars, which will give tubers an undesirable sweet taste.  Placing potatoes at room temperature for 2-3 days will allow the sugars to be converted back to starches, thus removing the objectionable taste.
Winter Visitors In The Garden

Gardens seem places of quiet stillness in winter. Bright flowers have now withered into stalks with floppy seed heads. Green decorative grasses are now rusty brown clumps. Flitting movement of bees and butterflies have now evaporated. Even gardeners are tucked warmly inside on these cold days. Look closer in your gardens, though, and you'll see activity that can be captivating. What is this activity?

Click on WINTER VISITORS to learn about a few of winter's little secrets..
January Short Story #3: 

Speaking of trees . . . not really sure we were, but anyway . . . did you know not all tree wood used for firewood is created equal when it comes to producing warmth.  Some species of trees are able to produce much more heat per cord of wood than others (one cord = wood in a well-stacked woodpile measuring 4 feet wide by 8 feet long by 4 feet high).  The f ollowing are approximate heat values (in million BTUs) per cord for various species of trees, along with a couple of cautions.  Of course, the higher the value, the better the wood is for giving off lots of heat:
Ash, Green              22.8
Cottonwood             15.9
Elm, American         19.8     Difficult to split 
Elm, Siberian           20.9     Difficult to split 
Hackberry                21.0 
Honeylocust             25.6    Sparks - do no use in open fireplace 
Locust, Black           28.3     Difficult to split 
Maple, Silver           18.9       
Maple, Sugar           24.0 
Mulberry                  25.3 
Oak, Bur                  24.9 
Oak, Post                 25.6
Oak, Red                 24.0 
Osage Orange         32.6     Sparks - do not use in open fireplace 
Sycamore                19.5      Difficult to split 
Walnut, Black           21.8

Maintaining Your Winter Compost Pile

Another year has clicked over, and January is here again! With average monthly air temperatures running in the mid-to-upper 30's, well-intentioned gardeners regard the internal temperature of their compost pile a bit more seriously. After all, creating a nice batch of finished compost should be on everyone's list of goals this year.  And, in Oklahoma, keeping your compost pile active during the winter is definitely achievable.

Click on WINTER COMPOSTING  for tips on how to get the heat from your heap and how to make your winter compost pile the best it can be.
January Short Story #4: 
Winter Storage Of Pecans & Other Nuts

During the holiday season, pecans and other nuts are commonly given as gifts or purchased for holiday cooking.  Nuts can quickly lose quality if not stored properly. Excessive water loss can lead to shriveled nutmeats and the fats and oils in nuts can quickly spoil, thus developing an off-flavor or rancid taste.  Store both shelled and unshelled nuts in the refrigerator or, preferably, the freezer.  Nuts quickly absorb flavors from other stored products so be sure to store them in a tightly sealed container so they won't lose water or absorb flavors from other fruits or vegetables.  A solid plastic container with a tightly fitting lid is preferred, but you c an use a heavy grade resealable plastic bag as well.  If nutmeats are tightly sealed, they can be stored in a freezer for up to one year, but using them within six months is preferred.
Planning Your Spring Garden . . . Now!

Taking time off from gardening? During the months of January and February on days when it's too cold to work outside are ideal for doing some planning for future success. Looking at garden catalogs and magazines while sipping hot chocolate can be relaxing but, if you are seriously considering making garden plans, now can be a very productive time to do so.

Click on  SPRING GARDEN for a few planning questions and ideas to consider. 

J anuary Short Story #5: 
Monitoring Indoor Plant Temperatures

Now would be a good time to check the location of foliage houseplants to be sure the plants don't get too cold this fall or winter.  Plants next to windows or in entryways near outside doors are at the greatest risk.  Plants sensitive to cold temperatures include Chinese evergreen (Algaonema), flamingo flower (Anthurium), croton (Codiaeum), false aralia (Dizygotheca), ming and balfour aralia (Polyscias).  Monitor and maintain indoor temperatures above 65 degrees F for the false aralia and above 60 degrees F for the rest of the plant list.  Many other indoor plants prefer temperatures above 50 degrees F.  If needed, move plants away from windows or door entrances to reduce cold temperature drafts and exposure.  It may also be necessary to move some plants from windowsills before shades or drapes are pulled, especially in the evening.   

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 Endowment Fund

Robert Zachary (Bob) Price
John Mowry
Kristen Wirth
Marilyn Baldwin
Patricia Boody                                                  
Gary Kuck                                                         
Patricia Heath                                                   
Deanna Lawson                                            
Karen Vargas                                                  
Ruth Gaines                                                      
Julienne Lovelace                                           
Ann Humes                                                      
Phyllis Dewitt                                                      
Mary Pittman                                                   
Barbara Westervelt                                          
Debbie Bezan                                                          

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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