September 2015 / Volume 102       

In This Issue

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

79 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

6.31 inches


Donations Keep The Tulsa Master Gardener Program Going Strong
Recognition of this month's donations:


Ann McKellar (in memory of Thomas Maxwell)


Lee Kutner


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. While we have many dues-paying members, income received from dues pays for less than 5% of total annual expenses. 

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. However, one other income source that sometimes gets overlooked is  personal and corporate donations.

To find out how you can help support all that the Tulsa Master Gardeners do for their community, contact the Tulsa Master Gardener office directly. 

4 Ways to Contact Us
Email us at:

See our website at: 

Call: 918-746-3701 from 9-4, Monday - Friday 
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

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 Garden, Lawn, & Landscape Tips

  • You have all of September to plant cool-season vegetables like spinach, leaf lettuce, mustard and radishes, and until the middle of September to plant rutabagas, swiss chard, garlic and turnips. Click here for Fall Gardening Guide.
  • The last nitrogen fertilizer application of the year on warm-season grasses should be applied no later than September 15. See fact sheet HLA-6420 for details.
  • Winter broad-leaf 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.
  • If pre-emergent control of winter-annual weeds (henbit, chickweed, annual bluegrass, etc.) is desired in lawns, the application should be completed by the second week of September.  Note: Do not treat areas that will be seeded in the fall.
  • Continue bermudagrass spray program with glyphosate products for areas being converted over to tall fescue this fall.
  • Plan to seed bluegrass, fescue or ryegrass as needed in shady areas in mid-September to mid-October. Fall is the best time to establish cool-season lawns.  See the Q&A below and reference OSU Fact Sheet HLA-6419 for more details.
  • White grub damage can become visible this month.  Apply appropriate soil insecticide if white grubs are a problem. Refer to OSU Fact Sheet EPP-7306 for more details.  Water product into soil.

  • Watch for fall specials at garden centers and nurseries since fall is a great time for planting many ornamentals.
  • Choose spring flowering bulbs as soon as they become available.
  • Plant cool-season annuals like pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons and dusty miller when temperatures begin to cool.
  • Watch for and control any late infestations of tree webworms.
  • 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.
  • Begin to reduce the amount of light on outside tropical houseplants by placing them under shade trees before bringing them indoors for the winter.

Tulsa Master Gardeners at the 
Tulsa State Fair


Once again, the Tulsa Master Gardeners will have a booth at the Tulsa State Fair.  We will be located on the lower level of the River Spirit Expo Building (formerly the Quick Trip Center).  Look for the large yellow & orange MG sign hanging overhead.  There will be something for everyone: children's area, live chickens, container gardening, keyhole gardening, raised bed herb gardening, composting, insect display and much more.  We are excited to continue our strong partnership with the Bartlesville Master Gardeners as well as Sanders Nursery, Colebrook Nursery, Groggs Green Barn, and The Garden Trug.  Get advice on your gardening questions from the Master Gardeners on site or the numerous gardening Fact Sheets that will be available. Pick up a free Black Gum Tree to anchor your landscape as we will be giving away about 400 each day. The booth will be open as follows:                                                                                                                                    
Tuesday - Thursday, October 6 - 8         11:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, October 9 - 10          10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 11                               10:00 a.m. -   9:00 p.m.
Tulsa Master Gardener Program of the Month
Senior Living Outreach

Senior Living is a group of caring, fun Master Gardeners who enjoy bringing a little laughter and good times into the lives of senior citizens and the disabled.  The MG's will go to approximately 33 long-term care rehabilitation centers, assisted-living adult day care centers, and independent living centers across the Tulsa County area in 2015.  These seniors can no longer garden, so the MG's bring a little gardening to them in a way of live terrariums, paperwhites, floral design, flowers d'art, and chia pets.  All of these projects are hands-on projects for the seniors to participate with the help of MG's.  After they finish their project, the MG's give them a crocheted doily on which to set their project.  The doilies are crocheted by our MG's who are appropriately called . . . ready for this . . . "Happy Hookers"!

We encourage all MG's to come out and join in the fun and fellowship.  You will enjoy meeting our seniors and putting a wide smile on their faces.  For more information, please contact Bob Boucher (Chairman) or Marcia Reed (Co-Chairman).


Why You Need to Know about IPM 

IPM is the acronym for Integrated Pest Management.  The  IPM approach to gardening was scientifically formulated to reduce common garden pests while increasing both beneficial insect population and plant production.  Studies have shown that, by making the proper selection of plants that are disease resistant, correct planting locations (sun light or shade), the use of crop rotation and control of insects, this will increase crop production.
For IPM to work properly, correct identification of insect pests is needed to determine how large the insect problem is within your  garden.  Many times beneficial insects are mistaken as the cause(s) for plant problems, so accurate identification of those insects, seen and captured, is very important.  Identifying  the insect(s) will enable you to determine if you have a beneficial insect(s) or not.  This will help select what type of insecticide  should or should not be used, remembering that many beneficial insects also help to reduce crop destroying pests.  This is the aim of IPM . . . to keep beneficial insects in the gardens, thus increasing the garden plants health and plant reproduction.  It is important, that during the growing season, you should examine the plants often and up close, helping to locate problems early. As a minimum, the examination interval should be once a week for vegetables, every two weeks on flowering plants, and monthly on shrubs and trees.  The use of insect traps is another way to help identify insects.  There are many of these traps available and they come in various types such as sticky traps, pheromone traps and pit fall traps.  To help identify those insects you have seen or captured, use pictured guide books on insects or find images on the internet.  For further identification help, you can also bring the insects or their pictures to a Master Gardener at the OSU Extension Office.
Armed with the above information, you now should now have the information needed to proceed with implementing IPM steps within your gardens.  As a recap, apply the following steps:

1.) Make proper plant selections for the area and for sun or shade
2.) Identify both good and bad Insects 
3.) Be judicious about the correct use of insecticides  
4.) Do crop rotation whenever possible

Of all control methods, IPM has the least risk at lower costs while providing multiple benefits.  The use of the IPM method of pest control and crop production is encouraged by both entomologists and ecologists, and is spreading worldwide.  For more information, please call a Master Gardener at the OSU Extension Office @ 918-746-3701 or go by and talk to one in person.  The office is located at 4116 East 15th Street in Tulsa (across from Gate 6 of the Tulsa Fair  Grounds).

Common Lawn Diseases
September means your lawn is growing more slowly, and you may see some problem areas.  Those blemishes often start as yellow, tan or brown spots of varying sizes in the lawn.  First, you should determine if you have a disease or a critter.  These are often things that you can control, but it's wise to accurately recognize the problem so you can correctly attack the situation.
Lawn diseases tend to develop more often when the turf is stressed due to prolonged heat, irregular watering, incorrect fertilization, etc.  There are basically four turf fungal diseases that can damage lawns in the Tulsa area:
1. Dollar Spot - Bermuda, Fescue and Zoysia
2. Large Patch - Zoysia
3. Brown Patch - Fescue
4. Spring Dead Spot - Bermuda

Dollar spot
Dollar Spot is a common foliar disease that occurs on most types of turfgrasses throughout Oklahoma, and is most prevalent in late spring and early fall.  On residential lawns, symptoms appear in irregularly shaped, bleached patches ranging from four to six inches or more in diameter.  Individual infected leaves exhibit lesions (spots) that are first pale green or yellow, then water-soaked, and finally a bleached straw color.

Large Patch

Large Patch is a mid-spring and mid-fall disease mainly infecting Zoysia.  This fungus is active when the soil temperature is below 85 degrees F.  The area of grass will thin, and remaining leaves may appear bleached or yellow.  Shapes will be large circular, semi-circular or resembling arcs.  The yellow to brown areas can be quite large, up to several feet in diameter.  An orange ring around the expanding border is sometimes present as the spot moves into healthy turf.

Brown Patch

Brown patch is a sheath and leaf-blighting summer disease that is common to Fescue.  Symptoms can vary greatly.  The disease usually causes thinned patches of light brown grass that are roughly circular in shape. These areas range in diameter from a few inches to several feet. Often, the center of the patch will recover, resulting in a doughnut-shaped pattern.  Close inspection of grass blades reveals small, irregular, tan leaf spots (burnt cigarette appearance) with dark-brown borders.  When disease conditions are favorable, large areas of the lawn may be uniformly thinned and eventually killed with no circular patch being evident.
Spring Dead Spot
This disease primarily occurs in highly-managed residential lawns. A balanced soil fertility program in early summer will increase the speed of recovery and aid Bermuda to grow and fill in.
Turf Key
To assist you in the identification of the major diseases attacking turfgrass in Oklahoma, the following key has been prepared where you can enter your type of grass and symptom(s) and receive a diagnosis:
Cultural Management
Management for all these diseases includes minimizing leaf wetness by watering only in the morning to allow the grass to thoroughly dry during the day.  Routine thatch removal and aeration will greatly help.  Also, maintain a nitrogen application program appropriate to the grass species during the critical period of late spring and early fall.  Do not apply nitrogen after September 15th.
Chemical Management
Effective fungicides are only available to the professional turfgrass management community.  For chemical control to be effective, different fungicide chemistries should be alternated and applied as directed.  For more specific information, the following OSU Facts Sheets are available by clicking the links below:
EPP-7658 Dollar Spot of Turfgrass

EPP-7306 Ornamental and Lawn Pest Control

You can also find this information on our TMG website at  Select "Lawn & Garden Help" on the website, and then "Turfgrass".  You may also drop by the OSU Extension Office located at 4116 East 15th Street if you wish to visit with a Master Gardener in person.

Fall Root Crops
By the time September rolls around in Oklahoma, most folks are pretty tired of vegetable gardening.  The garden has been cleared out of beans, squash and tomatoes.  Now there is some space and the lure of home grown roasted vegetables seems to help the gardener overcome their late summer garden fatigue.  Time for some fall root crops
Good soil preparation is essential, as root crops require a good amount of loose, deep soil.  Most root crops prefer pH soils between 5.5-6.5.  Nitrogen recommendations for beets, carrots and parsnips are to 1 cup of urea nitrogen per 100 square feet while recommendations for radishes and turnips are cup of urea nitrogen per 100 square feet.  Try working half in before planting, then the other half about mid-season.  Refer to the OSU Fact Sheets HLA-6436 and HLA-6007 for information on soil preparation and soil fertility.  High temperatures and lack of moisture can present a challenge.  Therefore, mulching the rows after planting will help to conserve moisture and moderate soil temperature.  Conditions that favor seed germination also encourage weed growth, so mulching will also help to inhibit weed growth.  OSU Fact Sheet HLA- 6005 provides guidance for mulching vegetable gardens.
Beets, carrots, radishes and turnips are to be harvested before the ground freezes.  Parsnips are best harvested after the second frost.  Garlic, onions and leeks are not harvested until late spring of the following year.  OSU Fact Sheets HLA-6009 and HLA-6032 will help in planning your fall garden.  Root crops must be thinned to about 2" spacing to allow for the root to develop.  Turnip and beet tops can be used in salad and stir fry.  Wait to thin turnips and beets until tops are of usable size, but are still tender. Consider seeding both radishes and parsnips in the same row.  The radishes will be ready to harvest in 3-5 weeks and will not interfere with the parsnip's development.
Weed control is essential.  Root crops grow slowly and can't compete successfully with weeds.  Cultivate just below the surface to cut the weeds off without disturbing the root crop's roots which are also close to the surface.
Vigilance will be necessary.  Temperature, moisture and weed control will be key.  If you can keep those in check, the quality of harvest will certainly be worth the effort.  Happy harvesting!

Go Ye and Multiply
Many perennials benefit from periodic dividing.  They can grow leggy, overcrowd their space, and keep other flowering plants from thriving.  Over time, they can produce fewer flowers and take on a doughnut shape - all are signs to divide them. Generally speaking, fall is the best time to divide spring and summer bloomers.  The reasons to do so are numerous . . . to gift a friend . . . to fill empty spaces in your beds . . . to rejuvenate your plant's appearance . . . or to control its size.  

First, know your root system.  Perennials have three basic root systems: Clumping roots can be thick, heavy and intertwining; Rhizomes grow close to the surface and are easily cut; Tubers are easily pulled or cut with a knife.

Clumpers: Examples include columbines, primrose, lamb's ears, ajuga, astilbe, and purple coneflower.  Dig clumps with a shovel or two large forks.  It is generally better to dig up the whole clump and divide into sections.  Prune away dead or damaged tissue.  Make sure every transplanted piece has a developing eye or bulb.  If the clump is tangled, soak in water to easily de-tangle.  Plant these divisions at the same depth as the original plant.  Water them well with a plant food and water mixture. Keep watered throughout the year.  To generate more flowers, pinch the top of new divisions every few weeks until established.

Rhizomes: Examples include begonias, cannas, and bearded iris. The rhizomes are swollen underground stems that grow right below the surface and are easily lifted.  After lifting the plant, carefully remove all soil to see rhizomes.  If the dirt clings, wash it off.  Use a sharp knife to cut off the new growths from the old. Cut pieces just below a cluster of fine roots and plant pieces with at least one bud on them.  Plant them at once and make sure rhizomes are completely covered and anchored in the soil with roots down and rhizomes spread with the upper third of the rhizome just above soil level.  Cut foliage back.

Tubers: Examples include dahlias and anemones.  These roots are shallow and delicate, so cut with a sharp knife.  First, cut off any bad or rotted roots.  Then, cut each root into pieces and be sure to have part of the parent stem and a plant bulb attached.  Shake off or water off dirt to see the buds.  Plant tuberous roots with the growth bud just above ground and space 10-12 inches apart to give room for growth.
Most perennials need to be divided every 3-5 years and transplants should have four to six weeks before the first freeze to become established.  Wait until spring to divide fall bloomers.  The basic steps to do so are:

Prepare:  Thoroughly water the site of the plant to be divided, which can be done one or two days before the division.  Remove any spent blossoms, dead leaves and stems.  Prune foliage to six inches or so.  Finally, water your transplant site.
Divide:  Now you are ready to lift the plant out of the ground.  It is preferable to choose a cooler, overcast day in order to minimize plant shock.  In doing so, use a sharp shovel or spading fork.  Dig down on all sides of plant, pry underneath, then lift the clump to be divided.  If the plant is old, huge and heavy, you may need to "chop" it into several pieces before unearthing.  If you are a novice gardener, you may think plants have to be treated very gently but experienced gardeners are continually amazed by how forgiving plants are to rough handling.  So, proceed with confidence!
Separate:  Some plants have roots that are easy to separate. Others have fleshy roots that will need to be sliced into sections.  Still others will have such intertwined roots that you might have to use two back-to-back garden forks to pry them apart.  Prune away all dead, overgrown and damaged parts and make sure each section has a good portion of roots and leaves.
Replant: If the newly created plant is to be transplanted in your own yard, dig hole in the chosen location twice as wide as the plant, but not too deep.  Add mulch and peat moss to the dug-up soil.  If the plant has bare roots that are loose and dangling, make a mound of soil in the middle of the hole so that roots can be spread outward.  If they are in nice, compact clumps, simply treat the plants as you would a new nursery plant.  If plant is to be "adopted", pot it for now.  Fill the container with soil, make a space for the plant, and fill in around plant.  In either case, fill in with dirt to the same level as the original plant, being careful not to leave any air pockets (roots hate them).  Keep divisions well watered and in a cool place until established.  For that extra touch, you may add compost and mulch.  Keep your new transplant watered and mulched during the winter.
Plants to divide only in the fall: Astilbe, irises, young peonies, moss pink phlox, sweet woodruff, poppies, Siberian iris, foxtail lilies, arum.

Plants that do not like to be divided: allysum, candy tuft, delphinium, foxglove, euphorbia, geranium, lavenders, Russian sage, garden sage, baby's breath, butterfly weed, gas plant, false indigo, and mature peonies.

With the best of care, your September perennial divisions should be a success.  However, even with the best of care, there may be yellowing leaves, a sign that your transplant is in shock.  But, don't worry . . . time should resolve this and in the spring your gardens should have an abundance of beautiful perennials.

That's it!  Minimal labor with maximum reward!  

Q&A:  I have some areas of my fescue lawn which need re-seeding.  What is the best variety of fescue to use, and when should I re-seed?
Answer: There is no one best fescue variety, according to the OSU turfgrass specialists, but there are some which perform better than others.  OSU suggests using a blend of more than one fescue variety, with or without Kentucky Bluegrass seeds.  A diversity of seeds will be more tolerant of extreme heat and disease pressures of summer.  Some of the useful commercial brands with a blend of tall fescues are 5 Star Fescue and Heartland Supreme.  Fortunately, local merchants usually choose the more adapted varieties for the Tulsa area.

The ideal time to overseed cool season lawns is mid-September through mid-October.  This will give it enough time to establish a good root season before the stress of the following summer. 

Fortunately, much of our summer this year saw below normal temperatures and adequate rainfall - a good thing for fescue and bluegrass.  Most of the loss of cool season grasses is directly related to high temperatures, humidity and lack of water.  These conditions kill fescue outright or promote a disease called "Brown Patch".  Unfavorable soil pH (acid level) and inadequate nutrients may also cause fescue loss, creating a need for yearly reseeding. To help sort the problems out, always perform a soil test before getting started. 

Reseeding is more than tossing some seeds on bare spots.  Weeds need to be removed and the soil prepared either by hand or by machine.  The prepared bed should be smooth, without clods and the soil should be moist.  A starter fertilizer, based on the results of a soil test, can be incorporated when the soil is prepped or after seeding.  Apply the seed at the recommended rate of the seed label, seeding in a crisscross pattern to insure good coverage.

After seeding, the bed absolutely has to be kept moist the first 3 weeks.  This may require brief irrigation twice daily, depending on wind and temperature.  Mow after the grass is 3 inches tall.  If needed, a postemergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds may be used after the third mowing. 

which has details about reseeding established lawns or creating a new one with tall fescue.