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August, 2010                                                                   Number 41 
"Don't wear perfume in the garden, unless you want to be pollinated by bees." -Anne Raver

Soil temperature on August 1: 81 degrees                               Rainfall past 14 days: 0.18 inches
Ask a Master Gardener

Question: What is the "shorter" phlox that is supposedly mildew resistant?
Answer: Phlox paniculata Flame series is the shorter cultivar you are referring to. It comes in coral, light pink, lilac, purple, pink, violet, white and white eye (which has a yellow center). The Flames range from twelve to twenty inches tall and eighteen inches wide. Bloom time is July and August and the plant is hardy to zone and -30F. As with all phlox, morning watering is best;  and even though it is mildew resistant, try not to get the leaves wet. Consistent watering and moist soil in full sun is best.  Deadhead to promote more blooms and fertilize twice a month.

Question: Is this a baby dragonfly?
baby dragonfly
Answer: The dragonfly, Anisoptera, is an arthropod and has an incomplete metamorphosis; egg - usually laid underwater; larva - free moving water-dwelling nymph, and adult. There are several nymph stages with some having gills and eating a variety of underwater insect larvae, including bloodworms (which are often found in koi pond filters and turn into midge flies) and mosquitoes. The nymphs spend a good deal of time in the water and then crawl out onto a rock or plant stem to  shed their larval skin to emerge as an adult dragonfly. The adults feed on insects including mosquitoes, consuming several times their body weight daily. Depending on the variety, dragonflies live from egg to adult from six months to six or seven years, and not just one day as many people have heard. Yes, this is a baby dragonfly! 

Question: Do I need to buy new tomato plants for a fall harvest?
Answer: Some crops that were planted in the spring garden that may continue  production into fall are tomato, okra, pepper, sweet potato, cowpea, and New Zealand spinach. These plants may produce excellent yields in the later fall season if given proper care. If tomato, okra, or New Zealand spinach plants are too large for the space, prune them to reduce their size and stimulate growth. They should also be fertilized, watered, and mulched.   

Question: I am starting a few of my fall crops from seeds.  Have any suggestions?
Answer: Seeds may be started indoors or placed directly in the garden. Most seeds should be soaked overnight, except for beans and peas, to hasten germination. Seeds left over from planting the spring garden may be used if they were stored in a cool, dry location or in a refrigerator or freezer. Use a starting or germinating mix and plant seeds to the proper depth as noted on the seed package in a plastic seed tray or similar. Cover with soil and water with a misting bottle to prevent the floating of seeds.  Use seed tray cover or plastic bag to keep moisture in and place in a cool dark location, except for lettuce and celery seeds which require light. Thin seedlings after first set of true leaves emerge.  Remember to 'harden off' or place the new seedlings in the sun for a couple of hours a day for a week and then increase exposure to sun and wind. If planting directly in the garden, dig the row trench a little deeper than normal and place seed on bottom of tunnel and cover with appropriate amount of soil. Irrigate with drip hoses on row mounds and then cover rows with a screen mesh for protection from sun and heat.  For more information click here for Fact Sheet 6009.

4 Ways to
Contact Us

us at:
See our website at:
Call: 746-3701 from 9-4,
Visit us at 4116 E. 15th Street, Gate 6 at the Fairgrounds
Whether you call or bring samples of plants to the office, trained Master Gardeners will answer your gardening questions with science-based information.

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Oklahoma State University, in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices or procedures. This includes but is not limited to admissions, employment, financial aid, and educational services.
August Lawn and Garden Tips
  • August should be the last month to fertilize Bermuda and zoysia turfgrass. Do not fertilize fescue lawns until it cools in September.
  • Apply preemergent herbicide to prevent winter weeds such as Poa annua and henbit in late August and early September. Consider products containing either prodiamine, pendimethilin or dithiopyr.
  • Our hot dry weather is stressing lawns. Gradually raise the mowing heights on Bermuda lawns to 1.5 to  2". For cool season grasses raise to 3". Be sure to sharpen or replace mower blades.
  • Continue planting a fall vegetable crop, contact Master Gardeners for recommendations.
  • Divide and replant spring blooming perennials such as iris and daylilies in late August if needed.
  • Most plants need 1-2 inches of water per week in one or two applications, applied in early morning.
  • Discontinue pruning and dead heading roses in mid-August to help initiate winter hardiness.
  • Water your compost during extremely dry weather to keep it active.  Turn the pile to generate heat for proper sterilization.
  • Water turf grass less frequently but for longer periods to stimulate deeper root growth.
  • Your younger trees and shrubs will grow faster and stay healthier if you keep them mulched and if you control the Bermuda grass around them with a Glyphosate herbicide such as Round-up. Read the label carefully to avoid harming desirable plants.
  • Spider mites flourish in hot, dry weather.  Often you can use a spray of water to knock mites off plants.
  • A fungus disease called "brown patch" may infect and severely damage cool season grasses such as tall fescue. Homeowner available fungicides are poorly effective.
  • Contact OSU Master Gardeners for additional information about any of these tips. You can call us at 743-3701 or email to [email protected].
Shrubs for Fall and Winter Color

red chokecherry
Many folks don't realize how the proper selection of shrubbery can improve their
home's landscape. Selecting shrubs by height, width and shape as well as well by foliage color and flowers, can make a great improvement in your landscape. The ornamental and floral characteristics may vary from shrub to shrub, but remember that for each variety of shrub, their blooms or colorful foliage will occur at the same time each year. This consistency will help in making the right selections for your landscape and should make it easier to implement an attractive landscape plan.

Now would be an excellent time to choose and plant shrubs that will provide color throughout the fall and winter months. The Oklahoma State University's "Selecting Shrubs for the Landscape" is an excellent source of information on shrubs of all kinds. Click here for Fact Sheet 6439. Pages 4 & 7 describe winter and fall colors. This Fact Sheet is also available at the Master Gardener offices in the OSU Extension Center.

Interested in Becoming a
Master Gardener?

If you enjoy gardening, learning new gardening information and sharing what you have learned with others-the OSU Tulsa County Master Gardener program may be for you.
The training program for new Master Gardeners is offered once yearly beginning in September. For those interested in the program, orientation sessions will be held at 1:00 pm on August 11 and repeated at 10:00 am on August 18 at the Tulsa County OSU Extension Center at 4116 E. 15th street.
These orientation sessions will review the Master Gardener program and the requirements to enter this year's class. This includes costs for the classes and agreement for volunteer hour participation after training is completed.
Following orientation, an interview may be scheduled and if you are accepted into the program, the first class begins September 8th and each subsequent Wednesday through December the 8th.
There are over 45 hours of instruction offered by OSU faculty and extension horticulturists. A wide range of basic information is covered on topics such as lawns; ornamental trees and shrubs; insect and disease management; soils and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening, organic gardening and much more. These classes will give you a good background in horticulture and prepare you to confidently deal with most gardening problems.
After completion of the training you will join over 300 active Master Gardeners who volunteer in the many educational and beautification programs for the Tulsa community.
Some of these activities include participating on the telephone helpline, demonstration garden, elementary school programs, senior living activities, speaker's bureau, landscaping Habitat for Humanity houses and community event exhibits.
No previous horticultural training or education is required to enter the training program-only a love for gardening and desire help others. Come to the orientation and learn about the program, it may be the perfect fit for your interests andvolunteer activity.

Need more information?
Click on any of the links below
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.
Trade names and where to find them   
How to Plant a Tree in Oklahoma Soil
Show and tell.
Landscaping and Gardening for Butterflies
How to attract butterflies to your garden 
Fescue Lawn Care
12-month maintenance calendar.
Bermuda Lawn Care
Ditto above.
Trees for Tulsa
A list of 50 recommended trees with descriptions.
Crape Myrtles
A list of over 100, by size and color.
Oklahoma Proven Plants
The new list for 2010.  State horticulturists, nurseries and growers pick their favorite plants, shrubs and trees.
Current and historical source of rainfall, air temperatures, soil temps and much more.  Click on Bixby station.
Fertilizing Vegetables
Handy chart telling you when and how much to fertilize various vegetables.