November 2016 / Volume 116
November Garden, Lawn, and Landscaping Tips


Leftover garden seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until next planting season.  Discard seeds over 3 years old.

Gather and shred leaves.  Add to compost, use as mulch or till into garden plots.

Clean and store garden and landscape tools.  Coat with a light application of oil to prevent rusting.  Drain fuel tanks, irrigation lines, and hoses.  Bring hoses indoors.
Fruits & Nuts

Delay pruning fruit trees until next February or March before bud break.

Harvest pecans and walnuts immediately to eliminate deterioration of the kernel.


Fertilize cool-season grasses like fescue with 1 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet

Continue to mow fescue as needed at 2 inches and water during dry conditions.

Control broadleaf winter weeds like dandelions (HLA-6601).

Keep falling leaves off fescue to avoid damage to the foliage.


Tree & Shrub

Prune deciduous trees in early part of winter.  Prune only for structural and safety purposes.


Wrap young, thin-barked trees with a commercial protective material to prevent winter sunscald.

Apply dormant oil for scale infested trees and shrubs before temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Follow all label directions.


Continue to plant balled and burlapped and containerized trees.  This IS clearly the best time of year to plant trees.


Watch for arborvitae aphids which tolerate cooler temperatures in evergreen shrubs.


Tulips can still be successfully planted through the middle of November.


Leave foliage on asparagus, mums, and other perennials to help insulate crowns from harsh winter conditions.


Bulbs like hyacinth, narcissus and tulip can be potted in containers for indoor forcing.


Master Gardener Program of the Month:
Community Events

The primary goal of the Community Events Program is to inform the public about what the Tulsa Master Gardeners have to offer and to encourage them to visit the OSU Extension office or call our hot-line (918-746-3701) with any gardening questions they may have.  Our general mission is to educate the public on proper plant selection as well as care and better husbandry of their personal landscape.
This committee has a lot of fun talking with people and encouraging the public to seek information through our OSU fact sheets and our web-site.  In order to reach as much of the public as possible, every year we actively partner with many of the local landscape nurseries, have booths at the HBA Home & Garden Show, the Cox Home & Garden Show, the Tulsa State Fair and the Tulsa Garden Center.  In 2016, the Master Gardeners added the Sand Springs Herb Festival to go along with the Jenks Herb Fair, not to mention many other events throughout the year.  This provides an excellent opportunity to promote the Master Gardener organization and all it has to offer to our community and the public.   

2016 - 2017 Winter Weather Outlook

The calendar says it's November but, so far, it hasn't felt much like fall this year, let alone winter!  But, like it or not, winter will arrive in some form in a few weeks (cold or not, the official winter season begins December 1).  So, without further ado, let's look ahead and see what we might expect in the next few months.

Oklahoma will always be variable, no matter what the outlook might suggest. We are still close to the Gulf of Mexico, which unloaded upon us in a nasty way right after Christmas last year. Also, keep in mind that, despite our southern latitude, the only real barrier between us and the North Pole are several strands of barbed wire.  And, when you think about it, we are not all that far removed from some really dry country to our southwest, so a favorable wind can cause the temperatures to soar and the humidity to plummet. Which of these conditions we see most often will depend on how the jet stream behaves during the winter.

Last winter, we were under the influence of a strong El Niño which favors wetter than normal weather from December through February.  Last year was indeed above normal for winter precipitation, mainly due to the above-mentioned post-Christmas washout. January and February were actually drier than normal in Tulsa, but because December had so much rainfall, our seasonal total was well above average.

This year, conditions in the Pacific Ocean are more favorable for the development of a weak La Niña which, in contrast to El Niño, favors drier winter weather in this area. This is not welcome news considering drought is creeping up on us once again thanks to the warm and dry weather of late.  But, r emember, when it comes to our weather outside of summer, variability is the rule of the day.

So, keep in mind that, while the official outlook from the Climate Prediction Center calls for increased odds of above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for December through February, there can always be some nasty surprises in store for us.

Vegetable Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is a very valuable horticultural tool to use in your vegetable garden.  It has many benefits, including:
  • Being a very effective way to help prevent diseases
  • Aiding in increasing nutrients
  • Helping to decreases insect damage
Because many diseases are found in the soil, continued planting of the same plant family in the same place, year after year, will increase the disease damage to your vegetable crop. Since different plants use varying amounts of nutrients, crop rotation will also aide in helping to keep the soil from being depleted of many of these nutrients.  Rotation helps to decrease destructive insect and nematode populations.  Therefore, you should not plant vegetable crops belonging to the same family in the same locations.  For example, tomato, pepper, eggplant and potato are of the same family, so you should not plant one after the other in the same bed.  
Rotation can be difficult for the small vegetable gardener, but it should be done as best as you can.  In  putting together a rotation plan it is very helpful to have a map of your garden that shows where the current plantings are located.  When laying out a rotation plan, it is suggested that you include the dimensions of each planted area and you should record, for each planted area, the number of years that you have been growing the same vegetable in the same place.  When this is done, you can then lay out a rotation plan for each year of planting.  Make certain that you check for sun light, shade and soil type requirements of each of your plants.  Then, rotate each vegetable to a planned bed, never leaving a plant family for more than two years in the same bed.  This procedure will help you to produce a better, healthier crop, with fewer disease problems, as well as boosting the nutrient levels.

The following chart is one example of how a vegetable gardener can properly rotate crops each year on a four-year cycle.

Searching the internet for a more complete list of vegetable families can help you start a plan for crop rotation in your garden. However, for guaranteed research-based information,  contact the Master Gardeners at 918-746-3701 or come by our office at 4116 East 15th Street. (Gate #6 Tulsa Fair Grounds) from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00.p.m. Monday through Friday.

Pollinator Protection (Part 1 of 3)


Populations of honey bees and native pollinators have declined rapidly and dramatically worldwide in recent years.  According to current research, a wide range of factors have contributed to their decline including:
  • Parasites
  • Disease
  • Low genetic diversity
  • Poor nutrition
  • Loss of habitat
  • Management stress
  • Pesticides applied to crops
Honeybees are essential for pollination of a wide range of ornamentals and crops, such as fruit and vegetables.  However, native  pollinators such as many other types of bees, butterflies, flies, and hummingbirds are also significant for pollination of crops, landscape plants, native plants and backyard vegetable and fruit gardens.  

Will this decline in native pollinators result in a food supply weakening for us and for our families in the future?  Well, that's a good question that likely only time will tell. Remember that many field crops used as animal food must also be pollinated, so let's don't lose a valuable link in our food chain.  So, g ardeners should give special consideration to safeguarding insect pollinators, such as the honey bee, from insecticide poisoning.  

One of the fastest growing types of poisoning is coming from neonicotinoid-based insecticides.  What are neonicotinoid insecticides?  They are insect neurotoxins (that is, they affect the nervous system of the insect) with a chemical structure similar to nicotine that are very toxic to bees.  They are persistent and, even as they degrade, they endure to be very toxic to bees.  Nicotinoids are usually systemic, meaning they can be absorbed through the roots and move through the plant to pollen nectar.  A big concern is when neonicotinoids are applied to open flowers of insect pollinated plants, which results in greater risk to pollinators. There is still a lot that scientists that do not know about the effects of pesticides on pollinators and other beneficial insects and insecticide movement into pollen nectar and plant parts.  However, all gardeners should plan with care and use all pesticides with care to protect bees and other pollinating relatives on fruit, vegetable, lawns, landscape flower and structural settings.
Tips to Protect Bees
  • Don't treat plants in bloom
  • Use the least toxic pesticide that is needed
  • Adjust application to weather conditions when the insecticide will dry easily and also to avoid drift onto other surfaces.  Low temperatures following application can allow the pesticide to last twenty times longer than usual.
  • Apply pesticides when bees are not actively foraging, especially from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Sin ce trade names frequently change, it is best to read what the active ingredient is and become familiar with its safe use.  Also, the EPA recently introduced a new "bee icon" to be included in labeling to signal a potential hazard to bees.

Some pesticides containing neonicotinoids include:

Imidacloprid:          Bayer Advanced Formula
Clothianidin:          Green Light Grub Control
Thiamethoxocam:  Andro Rose and Flower Care,
Acetamiprid:          Ortho Bug-B-GGon Systemic Insect Killer
Dinotefuran:          Green Light Tree and Shrub Insect Control with Safari
Maxide Dual Action Insect Killer


OSU Extension Fact Sheets:
            #E-1034 - Master Gardeners Manual

Kansas State Extension

Virginia Tech Extension
        Native and Solitary Bees in Virginia

University of Nebraska Extension (Lincoln)

University of Massachusetts Extension
      Protecting Bees and Pollinators from Pesticides in Home Gardens & Landscapes
      Pollinators, Neonicotinoids and Greenhouse Production

The Bee Conservancy

North Carolina State University
     How to raise and manage orchard mason bees for the home garden



Look for Part 2 on Proper Planting for Pollinators in the January or February edition of the newsletter

Look for Part 3 on Mason Bees & Leafcutter Bees in the March or April edition of the newsletter.

Moving Outdoor Plants Indoors for the Winter


It's that time of year again when some of us find ourselves engaged in an annual ritual of getting our houseplants ready for the haul back indoors.  For most houseplants, this means ending their summer vacation when night temperatures fall below 45-48° F.  If you wait beyond this time, you're flirting with disaster and may find many tender tropical leaves dropping or getting a clear, murky surface; requiring your immediate action.

As simple as this task may sound, it turns out that this is a project that needs some forethought and organizing. Follow these steps to ensure a successful transition from outside to inside.

Have a Plan

Have an idea of what plants you plan to bring indoors and consider the vitality of the plant.  If you haven't had success with the growth of the plant outdoors, transporting it indoors where the humidity is low and the heat levels are dry will be a maintenance challenge.  It may be a tough decision for you to make, but best to put your struggling plants in the compost pile.

If your plant has grown to the point that it requires re-potting, have potting resources ready well in advance.  Always use a high quality potting soil and make certain there are drainage holes on the planter.  One word of caution - avoid placing pots on carpeted and tiled area without some saucers underneath them in order to capture the water.

Prep the Plants for the Move

Check the outside of the pots to ensure that you are not transporting any moss, mold or unwanted bugs such as spider mites, mealy bugs or white flies.

When cleaning the outside of your pots, use an effective solution that includes 1-part bleach to 3-parts water and scrub them with a soft brush.  If you discover any bugs, consider re-potting the plant to avoid bringing them inside, having their eggs hatch, and populations multiply.
Remove any dead foliage or yellowing leaves and prune any plants that need it.  Use a water hose to gently spray the plants, then let them air dry for about two hours before spraying the foliage with an insecticidal soap.

Prepare the Area Indoors

Determine where you want to locate each of the plants you will be bringing inside.  Find the right place for the right plant.  Meaning, if they require full sun, consider placing them in a southern location.  Otherwise, place them in an eastern or western location for low to partial shade-requiring plants.  If you don't have the option of placing them in any of these locations, consider purchasing lighting specifically designed for plants.  Avoid placing your plants near heating vents or areas that are drafty from doors.  Install plant ceiling hooks for ferns.   It's also a good idea to consider grouping your plants together and sit them on non-porous gravel trays that help increase humidity.  Keep the water to a level just below the gravel top.  After you've brought your plants indoors, keep your eyes open for any signs of the "hitchhikers" that may have found their way inside.

Avoid Transplant Shock

Because lighting in most homes is less than many plants receive outdoors, try to gradually move them to lower light levels in stages.  This will help to minimize transplant shock. Transplant shock usually shows up as yellowing and dropping of leaves.  Once the plant adjusts to the indoor light, it will generally replace the leaves that it has lost.

Don't Over Water

Your potted plants won't dry out nearly as fast indoors as they did in the summer heat and plants will grow more slowly indoors than they did under strong light conditions.  Therefore, they don't need as much water in the house as they did outside.  Make sure the soil is dry to the touch before watering. Using a chopstick or pencil, stick it in the soil.  If it comes out dry, moisten the soil.


You may not need to fertilize but, if you decide to, follow the instructions on the package. Try fertilizing with worm castings.  You can pick them up at your local nursery.  Water the castings into the potting mix before bringing the plants inside in order to avoid a mess. 

In just a few months, you can consider moving your plants back outside after any danger of frost has passed and when the spring and evening temperatures hover in the 60's.

The Tulsa Master Gardener Foundation receives no city, state or federal funding for its programs. In fact, the majority of Tulsa's Master Gardener programs are self-funded.

Tulsa Master Gardener's own fundraisers make up most of the income to cover expenses. A significant portion comes from the Tulsa Master Gardener Annual Plant Sale that is held each April. Other fundraisers include the Garden Tour (June) and "Garage Sales" that occur from time to time. Finally, one other income source that sometimes gets overlooked are personal and corporate donations.  These are so important in helping to meet our financial obligations and are very much appreciated. 

Donations for this month include:

General Fund

Lee Kutner

Koi Pond

J eanney M. Kutner

Janet S Dundee Trustee
Jeff R Darby Trustee
For the Janet Dundee & Jeff Darby Living Trust

Please consider making an online contribution HERE. For other information on how you can help support all that the Tulsa Master Gardeners do for their community, contact the Tulsa Master Gardeners Office by calling (918) 746-3701.  Thank you! 

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.  

                                    Like what you've seen
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