October 2013 / Volume 80          

In This Issue
October Lawn and Garden Tips
Free Class, Tree and Shrub Planting
Now is the Time for Garlic
Winter Weed Control
Ask A Master Gardener...Fertilizing Young Trees

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

75 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

2.04 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.
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.
October Lawn and Garden Tips 


  • Dig sweet potatoes and harvest pumpkins and winter squash.
  • Remove green fruit from tomato plants when frost threatens.
  • Harvest Oriental persimmons and pawpaws as they begin to change color.
  • There is still time to plant radishes and mustard in the fall garden.
  • Use a cold frame device to plant spinach, lettuce and various other cool-season crops for production most of the winter.
  • Plant cool-season cover crops like Austrian winter peas, wheat, clover, and rye in otherwise fallow garden plots.
  • Remove all debris from the garden to prevent overwintering of various garden pests.
  • Start new planting bed preparations now with plenty of organic matter.
  • Plant garlic now for June harvest.   
  • You can continue to replant or establish cool-season lawns like fescue.
  • The mowing height for fescue should be lowered to approximately 2 inches for fall and winter cutting.
  • Broadleaf weeds like dandelions can be easily controlled during October (HLA-6421 & HLA-6601).
  • Mow and neatly edge warm-season lawns before killing frost.


  • Take tropical water garden plants indoors when water temperatures near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Close the water garden for the winter by placing hardy plants in the deeper areas of the pool. Stop feeding the fish.
  • Cover water gardens with bird netting to catch dropping leaves during the winter months.
  • Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool.
  • Begin planting spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, hyacinths, crocus and daffodils.
  • Good companion plants for bulbs are ground covers such as ajuga, vinca, English ivy, alyssum, moneywort, thrift, phlox, oxalis and leadwort.
  • Peonies, daylilies, and other spring-flowering perennials should be divided or planted now.
  • Dig and store tender perennials like cannas, dahlias, and caladiums in a cool, dry location.
  • Purchase trees from nurseries and garden centers at this time to select the fall color you prefer.
  • Many perennials can be planted at this time and the selection is quite nice.
  • Plant fall mums and asters and keep them watered during dry conditions. Don't crowd since they take a couple of years to reach maturity.
  • Plant container-grown trees and shrubs this month.
  • Check and treat houseplants for insect pests before bringing them indoors and repot rootbound plants.  

Free Tuesday Class...
Now is Tree and Shrub Planting Time

Tulsa Master Gardeners offer this gardening classes on October 29th at 5:30 pm and will last approximately 30 minutes with another half hour for discussion.


This class is 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.

Now is the Time for Garlic!         
Late fall is the time for planting garlic! As you harvest your fall crops and prepare to tuck the garden in for the winter, why not plant a few cloves in your garden beds to be harvested next summer? Garlic a very easy crop to grow.

To plant simply separate the cloves from the bulb, leaving the outer skin on. Plant the cloves root end down, pointed end up about 6-8" inches apart. Cover with 2" of soil and follow with a layer of mulch to conserve moisture and help control weeds. The foliage will start to emerge in about 4-8 weeks. Provide 1" of water per week throughout the growing season during dry periods and feed with a fertilizer high in nitrogen. 

Grocery store garlic can be used for seed, but online seed suppliers will have a wider selection available. Hardneck  garlic varieties offer a broad range of flavor and produce a flower stalk or "scape" in the spring that can be harvested and used in many recipes. Keep in mind however that hardneck garlic has a shorter shelf life than the softneck. Softneck varieties are a favorite in the kitchen, are easy to grow, and great for braiding. Elephant garlic, is more closely related to the leek and is not considered to be a true garlic. This variety produces large heads the size of a softball that are very mild tasting. 

Harvest garlic the following June when the tops begin to die back. Gently pull the bulbs up out of the soil and brush off as much of the dirt as possible. Allow them to dry and cure for a few weeks before using.  Be sure to reserve some of your largest cloves for planting again next fall.

Winter Weed Control...It's Not Too Late!     
As we exit summer and enter a more pleasant time of year, many gardeners are thinking about things like fall vegetable gardens, planting trees, and seasonal plants. But, you should also be thinking about weed control. There are a number of winter and early spring weeds which require some control measures right now. These winter annual weeds germinate in late September and October and die the following summer. Examples of commonly found winter annual grassy weeds include annual bluegrass, cheat, downy brome, little barley, and rescuegrass.

Preemergent herbicides should be on the ground by September 15, ideally. This offers good preventative control of both grassy and broadleaved winter weeds if used correctly. However, if these weeds are already established, then postemergent herbicides are useful.

The common winter annual broadleaf weeds, including chickweed, dwarf fleabane, and henbit, can be safely controlled in all established Oklahoma turf grasses by applications of a usual mixture of 2,4-D, Banvel, or MCPP combinations (Ortho Weed-B-Gon, Trimec, Bayer Advanced Weed control). Some combination postemergent brands may have other chemicals as well. These products are variations of plant growth hormones and are best used when weeds are growing, especially after it cools in fall. Fall is the best time of the year to use postemergent herbicides for broadleaved weeds.

In newly seeded fescue/bluegrass lawns these 2,4-D type herbicides may be used to control weeds that germinated along with fescue after the 3rd mowing of the newly planted fescue.

There is no good chemical available to homeowners for control of grassy weeds in turfgrass since MSMA was removed from the market. However, they can be controlled in Bermuda grass after it goes dormant. Green grassy weeds and all green broadleaved weed can have excellent control with glyphosate (found in Roundup and others) in December and January. Glyphosate cannot be used on zoysia, fescue, ryegrass or bluegrass at any time.

These chemicals are effective when used according to the label, but come with a downside to them. 2,4-D is highly volatile and it's vapor may carry for long distances, causing undesirable damage to other plants. It is essential to heed the wind restrictions when spraying 2,4-D. Dicamba found in many of these mixtures is very mobile in the soil and can cause damage to trees and shrubs having roots in the lawn where the herbicide is used. As long as you follow the labeled directions strictly, these herbicides are useful and safe. Always avoid the "more is better" approach!

Post-emergent herbicides are generally foliar applied and absorbed, so they must remain on the leaf surface for 24 to 48 hours following application for adequate absorption. Do not mow for two days before or after herbicide application to ensure satisfactory leaf area coverage.

For much more information on this subject, see the OSU Extension Fact Sheet HLA-6421, Controlling Weeds in Home Lawns. For best concise current chemical suggestions for control of all weed types obtain a copy of both the Bermudagrass Maintenance and Fescue Maintenance Calendars.

Question: I have several young trees I am trying to establish, and was wondering; is it still okay to fertilize them in the fall?

Answer: Young trees benefit from added fertilizer. In mature trees, especially those which have roots in a fertilized lawn, fertilizer is less important.

The type of fertilizer used is best based on a soil test. In the absence of a soil test, use a balanced fertilizer, one with all three nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, the three numbers on all bags of fertilizer). In areas which have received balance fertilizer in the past, a nitrogen only fertilizer is indicated. These soils usually have enough, or most often too much, of the other components (phosphorus and potassium).

A good source of fertilizers for trees and shrubs is lawn fertilizer. Do not use one with herbicide, such a Weed-N-Feed. The amount to use is complicated. Go online and obtain OSU's fact sheet HLA-6412, "Fertilizing Shade and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs" for assistance in these calculations.

The time to fertilize is often a point of contention amongst horticulturists. Some prefer fall, others spring. Both times have advantages and disadvantages.

If fertilizing in fall, do so only after the first frost and before the first freeze. This insures that the tree or shrub has gone into dormancy. In fall the plant can use the nutrients to grow new roots for the following spring until the soil becomes too cool. Unfortunately during winter, some of the nitrogen not absorbed by the plant will be lost to run-off. In spring, the fertilizer is available for rapid spring growth of new vegetation, less directed toward root growth. Because of the cold soil, it is absorbed more slowly than in fall. Both times are acceptable and useful.