June 2013 / Volume 76      

In This Issue
June Lawn and Garden Tips
Garden Like a Master Garden Tour
Free Gardening Classes Continue
Attracting Butterflies to Your Landscape
Composting: It Just Makes Sense
Ask A Master Gardener...Oak Galls

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

74 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

4.14 inches


4 Ways to Contact Us
Email us at:

See our website at: www.tulsamastergardeners.org 

Call: 918-746-3701 from 9-4, M-F 
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.
Need More Information?

Click on any of the links below:


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.
Understanding Your Soil Test Results
Once you have collected your soil test and gotten the results back, now what? Find out here. 
How to Plant a Tree in Oklahoma Soil
Show and tell.
Cool Season Lawn Care (Fescue)
12-month maintenance calendar.
Warm-Season Lawn Care (Bermuda)
Ditto above.
Trees for Tulsa
A list of recommended trees with descriptions.
Crape Myrtles
A list of over 60, by size and color.
Demonstration Garden
Visit our demonstration garden on 
15th Street, open 7 days a week.  
Oklahoma Proven Plants
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.
Current and historical source of rainfall, air temperatures, soil temps and much more. Click on Bixby station.  

Back Issues  

Past issues of our eNewsletters can be read and downloaded.

Become a Master Gardener

Classes start in September each year. Register at our office on 15th Street for more information.

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.
June Lawn and Garden Tips 


  • Spider mites on ornamentals and vegetables may appear this month. They love marigolds and tomatoes. The foliage becomes pale and speckled. They are very small-shake a branch over white paper and watch for specks that crawl. Spider mites need early control. Use powerful jets of water to wash them off plants leaves and spray with horticultural soaps and/or horticultural oils such as Neem.
  • Renovate overgrown strawberry beds after the last harvest. Start by setting your lawnmower on its highest setting and mow off the foliage. Next thin crowns 12 to 24 inches apart. Apply recommended fertilizer and apply preemergence herbicide if needed. Keep watered. 


  • Fertilize warm season grasses (Bermuda and zoysia) with 1 lb. of nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft. Do not fertilize fescue in the summer, this promotes disease.


  • It is a great time to plant annuals and perennials. The nurseries have beautiful selections of plants to choose from such as impatiens, geraniums, marigolds, petunias, vinca, salvia and many others.
  • Most annuals benefit from regular applications of nitrogen containing fertilizers during blooming season, apply according to the label.
  • Check all plants, especially newly planted ones, for moisture on a regular basis. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed.  
  • Spruce up summer landscape with beautiful color in containers. Be sure to use potting mix and not garden soil. A water-grabbing polymer may be added to reduce the frequency of watering.

  • Remove wraps from young trees to avoid potential disease and insect buildup.

  • Mulching plants now will prevent weeds, conserve water, moderate soil temperature and, for trees, prevent damage from lawn care equipment.

  • Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage more stems and blossoms. Many annuals and some perennials will benefit from regular dead heading. This allows the plant's energy to go toward new blossoms and growth, rather than seed production.

Garden Like a Master...2013 Garden Tour  

Saturday, June 8 from 9 am to 5 pm
Sunday, June 9 from 11 am to 4 pm 
The 2013 Garden Like a Master Tour includes five unique gardens and the OSU Demo Garden and features ideas that any home gardener can achieve. Highlights include vertical gardening, fruit and nut trees, vegetable gardens, a kids garden, raising chickens in a urban setting and more. Each themed garden showcases solutions to unique landscape challenges. Tulsa Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions about how to achieve similar results in your garden, or discuss your current gardening challenges.
Tickets are available for the pre-tour price of $5 at OSU Extension Office, located at 4116 E. 15th St., Tulsa, OK until Friday, June 7. Tickets during the tour dates of June 8 & 9 are $7.50 and available at the Gardens on Tour. (Please note: the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden will be tourable, but not staffed. The OSU Extension office will not be open during the Tour.)

Free Gardening Classes Continue 

Tulsa Master Gardeners offer gardening related classes on the dates shown in the table below. Each presentation starts at 5:30 pm and generally last 30 minutes with another half hour for discussion. These classes are free and there is no need to register, just show up. They are held in the auditorium at the OSU Extension Office, which is on 15th street at gate #6 into the Tulsa Fairgrounds.


Composting & Vermicomposting


Drip Irrigation the Easy Way


Beekeeping 101


Bird Friendly Landscapes

10/29 Now is Trees and Shrubs Planting Time 

Attracting Butterflies to Your Landscape    
Some of the most beautiful insects are butterflies, moths and skippers and they all belong to the order Lepidoptera. Why is this group important to gardeners? Virtually all members of this group are instrumental in pollinating plants, some specific to a single species. These beautiful fliers add color and life to any size landscape, balcony or container garden. So it's definitely worth the time and effort to create an inviting environment in the garden just for them. They should be encouraged in our gardens as they are an essential component of the animal food chain as well as the reproductive cycle of plants. Confused about whether the creature you're looking at is a butterfly or a moth? There's one important sign: A butterfly's antennae usually have knobs on the ends, while a moth's generally don't.  

The best way to conserve Lepidopterans is to provide suitable habitats. A successful butterfly garden will have:
  • A mixture of perennials and annuals, including native plants
  • Nectar plants (such as marigolds, petunias, and asters)
  • Plants for larvae (such as herbs)
  • A sunny location
  • Shelter from the wind
  • Other features, such as mud puddles or fruit
  • Few insecticides and no bug zappers!
Growing nectar plants is the first essential component. They should be planted in large groups according to color. This makes them more recognizable to the butterflies. Be sure to plant both perennials and annuals. Use native plants wherever possible because the insects are already familiar with these species. Native plants are also beautiful, winter hardy, resistant to disease, low maintenance and an important part of our regional biodiversity.

The second essential component is to provide plants for larvae. One possibility is to maintain a herb garden. Dill, fennel, parsley and chives provide excellent food for larvae and produce enough foliage for your use also. Native plants also come in handy in this area.  

Be sure to locate your plantings in a sunny location. This is of prime importance to both the plants and the butterflies. Most blooming plants need lots of sun exposure to maintain nectar production. Also, the butterflies need a place to bask in the sun to raise their body temperature enough to fly. Providing shelter for butterflies is also significant as cooling winds not only can lower their body temperature, but can also limit the blooming season for the plants they feed on.  

When trying to attract insects of any kind to your yard, use of insecticides is inappropriate. In addition, the use of bug zappers, even though they are intended primarily for mosquitoes, will attract and kill male moths. Therefore, they should not be a part of your landscape plan.

Click here for a partial list of plants that are suitable for you butterfly garden or visit the Master Gardener website for more information.

Composting: It Just Makes Sense!     
Whether you're a weekend outdoors person with barely enough time to mow the grass or an avid gardener, composting should be an integral part of your home lawn and garden care program. The reasons to do so are plenty:
  1. It can save up to 1/3 of the space used in local landfills,
  2. Proper composting turns waste into free soil amendment (adding important nutrients, enzymes, and microorganisms),
  3. It improves soil texture, porosity, permeability, aeration, as well as water and nutrient retention, and
  4. It's fun, cheap and teaches kids and adults alike about Mother Nature's natural decomposition process. Compost, or "Black Gold" as it's called, can cost a lot to buy, but is very inexpensive to make on your own.
The secret to successful composting is found in the following six items:

Moisture: Proper moisture is important to keep microorganisms alive. Keep the pile moist, but avoid overwatering as this excludes oxygen.

Aeration: Microorganisms need oxygen to break down the organic debris. Regular turning of the compost pile insures proper aeration, which speeds up the decomposition process.

Microorganisms: Bacteria found in the soil and compost are the primary microorganisms that break down the organic matter. Bacteria found in compost starter kits can also help.

Volume: A 3' X 3' pile is necessary to create enough volume for the pile to create heat and to hold adequate temperature. Piles larger than 5' X 5' cannot be aerated properly.

Surface Area: Smaller particle size increases the surface area for microorganisms to work on. Chopping or shredding helps, as it reduces the particle size.

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio: It is important to keep this ratio properly balanced. Scientists have determined that a good ratio of carbon to nitrogen in a compost pile is about 25-30 parts carbon to one part nitrogen. A high-carbon content pile will be very slow to decompose, whereas a high-nitrogen content pile will release excess smelly ammonia gas. Leaves and straw are good carbon makers; grass clippings and kitchen scraps are good nitrogen makers. 

Something you should not do: Never add fats, oils, protein scraps, dairy products, human or pet manure, colored newspaper, plastic materials, coal or charcoal ashes, or diseased plants. A good rule of thumb to remember..."when in doubt, throw it out".

Proper layering is important. The first layer should be of larger stalk-like materials (corn stalks, small twigs, etc.) to produce proper aeration at the bottom. The next layer should be 3-6" thick of dried organic matter or leaves (carbon matter). The next layer should be a thinner layer of kitchen vegetable scraps, grass clippings, or garden plant materials (nitrogen matter). The fourth and final layer should be about one inch of soil to add microbes. Once this is in place, give the pile a good sprinkle of water to get the process going.

That's all there is, so get out there and have some fun and save some money by making your own "Black Gold".  It's easy!  Click here for more information.

Question: I have noticed some odd structures forming on the leaves of my oak trees this spring. What is causing them, and what do I need to do?

Answer: Wherever oak trees grow, they are attacked by a group of small insects called gall makers. The majority of gall makers that attack oak are wasps, but in some cases flies are responsible.

These insects cause deformities, known as galls, of various shapes, sizes, and colors on leaves, twigs, bark, flowers, buds, acorns, and even the roots of the tree. Some galls of oak are globular or dish-shaped, whereas others look like thorns or spiny balls. The size may vary from 1 mm to over 50 mm. Galls are so commonly associated with oaks that many people regard them as typical structures of the plant. Galls are specific as to the kind of oak on which they occur. For example, those that are found on a member of the black oak group do not occur on white oaks.

Galls are caused by powerful plant growth-regulating chemicals or other stimuli produced by the insect that react with plant hormones. During the egg-laying process or early larval-feeding period, specialized body glands secrete growth-regulating chemicals that interact with certain plant chemicals to produce these abnormal growths. The inner walls of the gall are rich in protein and thus provide the larvae residing inside the gall with an abundance of concentrated food. After a brief period of cell growth, gall development stops completely. The insect is confined within "its house" and feeds only on gall tissue during the remainder of its development. Once these galls are formed, they do not continue to use nutrients from the host plant. The larvae are somewhat, but by no means completely, protected from parasites and predators by the abnormal plant tissue that surrounds them.

In general, most leaf galls on oak do not affect the health of the host tree. A few can cause leaves to drop prematurely, or distort them so that photosynthesis (the plant's food-making
process) is interrupted. Galls generally are aesthetically objectionable to homeowners who find them unattractive and fear that galls will cause damage to the health of their oak trees.

Chemical control is seldom suggested for management of leaf galls on oak. Cultural methods of control may be effective in reducing the impact of these insects. Some fallen leaves may harbor various life stages of gall-producing pests. Therefore, it may be useful to collect and destroy all infested leaves. Some of these pests overwinter in twigs and branches of oak. Where such woody galls are detected, prune and destroy the infested plant material when the galls are small and have just started to develop. Once a gall begins to develop, it is almost impossible to stop or reverse its development. Unless registered insecticides can be applied when gall wasps are flying, they offer little or no effective measure of control. Lack of serious plant damage from leaf galls and the difficulty in proper timing of insecticide applications pose a strong argument against the use of insecticides to reduce galls on oak.

Click here to send your question to the Tulsa Master Gardeners or see Answers to other Questions on the Web site