September 2013 / Volume 79         

In This Issue
September Lawn and Garden Tips
Order Plants Today!
Master Gardeners at the Fair
Time to Plant Trees and Shrubs
Dehydrating to Preserve
Ask A Master Gardener...Cicada Killers

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

80 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

2.62 inches


4 Ways to Contact Us
Email us at:

See our website at: 

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.
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.
September Lawn and Garden Tips 


  • You have until the end of September to plant cool-season vegetables such as spinach, leaf lettuce and radishes and until the middle of September to plant rutabagas, Swiss chard, garlic and turnips. See Fall Gardening Fact Sheet HLA-6009 for more information. 
  • Now and until mid-October is still the best time to over-seed or to establish cool-season grasses like tall fescue. Use a blend of three or more fescues or a mixture of fescue blend and Kentucky bluegrass. Fescue lawns should be fertilized in September after it cools and again in November.   
  • Preemergent herbicide application to prevent winter weeds should be completed by mid-September. Note: Do not treat areas that will be seeded in the fall.   
  • Last nitrogen fertilizer application of the year on warm-season grasses should be applied no
  • later than September 15. Click here for lawn maintenance schedule.
  • Winter broadleaf weeds like dandelion will begin to emerge in late September, which is also the best time to control them with a 2, 4-D type herbicide.
  • Continue bermudagrass spray program with glyphosate products for areas being converted over to tall fescue this fall. See Controlling Weeds in Home Lawns.


  • Spring-flowering bulbs will arrive in garden centers and nurseries during September. Select early for best choices. They can be planted in October and November. Click here for planting guidelines. 
  • Fall is also a good time to plant many ornamentals. Watch for specials at your nurseries. Click here for information on trees and shrubs proven to do well in Oklahoma. 
  • Most trees and shrubs planted in the fall will outperform those planted in the spring. Be sure to mulch. Click here for planting guidelines and see article below for more details. 
  • Before bringing houseplants indoors, reduce the amount of light they receive by placing them in shade. Inspect for pests, then hose off with water, and spray with insecticidal soap or horticulture oil such as Neem before bringing inside. Repot root-bound plants.
  • Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool. Click here for information on annuals proven to do well in Oklahoma.  
  • Now is a good time to prepare and plant a new perennial wildflower garden. After the weather cools, plant or divide peonies, daylilies and other spring blooming perennials.
    Click here for information on perennials proven to do well in Oklahoma.  
  • Twig girdler insects should be controlled if large numbers of small branches of elms, pecans, or persimmons are uniformly girdled from the tree and fall to the ground.

Today is the Final Day to Order!
null Today is the deadline to place your order for pansies, panolas and ornamental kale for your fall planting. View our online shopping cart continuing through today. Delivery date is scheduled for October 11 at the OSU Extension Center.

More information will be posted on our website soon, so keep checking back. In the meantime, enjoy your summer garden knowing that it can be just as beautiful in the fall and winter.

Tulsa Master Gardeners at the State Fair   
Tuesday - Thursday, October 1-3, 11:00am to 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday, October 4-5, 10:00am - 10:00pm
Sunday, October 6, 10:00am - 9:00pm

Look for our big yellow sign and visit our booth on the lower level of the River Spirit Expo Building (formerly Quick Trip Center). Check out our chicken coop and raised bed display. Get tips on caring for those damaged and stressed trees. Pick up a free crapemyrtle sapling to brighten your landscape. We'll be giving out 500 each day.

Love mushrooms? Get information about growing shiitakes from an Oklahoma source. As always we'll have fact sheets for garden related issues, including the fall vegetable planning guide.

treesTime to Plant Trees and Shrubs        
Even though the weather is still very warm, autumn will soon be upon us. Fall is the optimum time to replace any damaged or diseased trees and shrubs. When planted in the cooler weather of fall, trees and shrubs are able to develop a good root system before winter, which will support the surge of growth the following spring. Good roots make good plants.

Site selection is important when deciding where to place larger plants such as trees or large shrubs. Be sure to consider the mature height and width of the plant you select. Also, be careful about planting large plants close to a foundation, as the roots may eventually cause damage. Some other things to consider include: utility easements, buried utility cables or pipes, electrical wiring for landscape lighting, or existing underground sprinkler systems.

Choosing what to plant can be confusing. Visiting several web sites may be helpful to get ideas. When you go to the nursery, have a plan in mind and stick to it. Stay within your plan and your budget. Read the tag or label on any plant you are considering. Consider our climate and what survives and thrives in our heat zone. Water and sun requirements are also very important to think about. Native trees and shrubs have proven to be very adaptable to our climate, of course, so they are usually a good choice.

When buying container-grown plants, choose the healthiest looking example. Skip over any plants with visible damage to the trunk or damage due to disease or insects. Avoid those with circling roots if possible.   

Advice for planting your new tree or shrub:
  1. Dig the hole two times wider than the root ball. Gently tease or separate the roots apart if they have been growing in a circle in the container.   
  2. Plant the tree slightly higher than the soil surrounding the hole. Only handle the tree by the root ball or the container, not by the trunk. Do not add fertilizer, peat moss or other amendments to the hole, and use only the original soil to backfill the hole. The exception is shrubs that thrive in acidic soil (e.g. azaleas). Press down the soil around the roots to eliminate air pockets and water very thoroughly.  
  3. Add 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch around your new specimen, leaving a space of about four inches clear of the trunk.  
  4. Remember that your additions to your landscape will require watering in all seasons for the next three years. All seasons means winter too, not just in summer. Check on the soil moisture regularly.
There are multiple resources available to assist you in your selection of plant materials.

OK details plants that do well in Oklahoma. has fact sheets that you can read or download which are helpful. They include:
HLA-#6440 Planning the Landscape
HLA-#6641 Elements and Principles of Design.

Dehydrating to Preserve    
If you have zucchini and tomato plants this summer that just won't quit, now is the time to think about how to preserve your harvest to enjoy it during the winter months. Last month we discussed canning as a means of food preservation, but if canning is not your thing, dehydrating might be a better choice. 

In the process of dehydration, fresh fruits and vegetables can be preserved at their peak at a much lower temperature than canning, thereby retaining almost all of the nutrients and flavor. Dehydrated food takes up much less space than canning jars and the process is a simple one which can even be done overnight. If done properly, dehydrated food will last for years. 

The only equipment needed is a dehydrator which can be purchased through any home goods store; although the process can be done in an oven that offers a low temperature or by using covered trays set outside in the sun.

For best results, select produce that is at its peak and cut away any bruising or blemishes. Some produce such as peaches, apples, or pears may need to be pretreated to prevent browning. Others such as beans, corn, or peas should be blanched or steamed prior to processing. For exact instructions, be sure to consult your dehydrator user's manual or a dehydrating cookbook. Length of drying time will depend on the moisture content of each food, but the end result should show no visible moisture.

Dehydrated fruits and vegetables are very versatile and can be utilized in many ways. They can be processed and dried as fruit leathers, eaten straight from the dehydrator as veggie chips, combined with other dehydrated vegetables to make soup mixes, or powdered in a blender to form a healthy seasoning.

Question: My lawn has some finger sized holes next to small piles of dirt, what could this be?

This is the burrow of a large, scary-looking wasp called a Cicada Killer. This wasp is yellow and black and may be up to 1 inches long.

Cicada Killers are also called "Digger Wasps". They dig burrows several inches deep for their young. The burrows have a U-shaped pile of soil off to one side and almost always are found in bare spots of the lawn.

They find and paralyze a cicada, lay an egg on it and drag it into the burrow. The egg hatches, the larva eats the cicada then forms a cocoon in which it will overwinter and resume the cycle the following spring.

These wasps are classified as "good insects"; the only problem they cause is the unsightly piles of soil. The female can sting but is not aggressive and only stings if overtly provoked. It is best to simply tolerate them.

If control is needed due to severe infestations and damage to lawns, several insecticides such as Sevin, either as a spray or dusting for the holes is effective. Always read the chemicals label and follow the directions.