November 2015 / Volume 104     

In This Issue

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

56 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

1.97 inches

Rainfall total YTD: 

49.32 inches


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


Diane Hambric


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.
November Garden, Lawn, & Landscape Tips

  • Leftover garden seeds can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer until next planting season.  Discard seeds over 3 years old.
  • Gather and shred leaves.  Add to compost, use as mulch or till into garden plots.
  • Clean and store garden and landscape tools.  Coat with a light application of oil to prevent rusting.  Drain fuel tanks, irrigation lines, and hoses.  Bring hoses indoors.
  • Delay pruning fruit trees until next February or March before bud break.
  • Harvest pecans and walnuts immediately to eliminate deterioration of the kernel.


  • Fertilize cool-season grasses like fescue with 1 pound nitrogen per 1000 sq. ft.
  • Continue to mow fescue as needed at 2 inches and water during dry conditions.
  • Control broadleaf winter weeds like dandelions (HLA-6601).
  • Keep falling leaves off fescue to avoid damage to the foliage.



  • Prune deciduous trees in early part of winter.  Prune only for structural and safety purposes.
  • Wrap young, thin-barked trees with a commercial protective material to prevent winter sunscald.
  • Apply dormant oil for scale infested trees and shrubs before temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  Follow label directions.
  • Continue to plant balled and burlapped and containerized trees.
  • Watch for arborvitae aphids, which tolerate cooler temperatures in evergreen shrubs.
  • Tulips can still be successfully planted through the middle of November.
  • Leave foliage on asparagus, mums, and other perennials to help insulate crowns from harsh winter conditions.
  • Bulbs like hyacinth, narcissus and tulip can be potted in containers for indoor forcing.

Tulsa Master Gardener Program of the Month
Speakers Bureau

The Tulsa Master Gardeners Speakers Bureau can be considered the adult educational outreach program for horticultural education in Tulsa community.  This is a team of enthusiastic Master Gardener volunteers that enjoy sharing their training and experience with local groups, both large and small.
Specific topic listings are available that are designed to appeal to gardeners of any experience level.  Scheduling during the day, evenings and on weekends, these intrepid volunteers are armed with their enthusiasm to share information.  They carry portable Audio/Visual equipment and will travel within Tulsa County.  Eager attendees range from the "where do I start crowd" to the "been there, done that, now what" gardeners, as there is always something new to incorporate within the gardening experience. Hundreds of local residents each year are the appreciative recipients of this educational effort.

Tulsa Master Gardeners are fortunate to have several Master Gardeners that have created special presentations that are near and dear to their hearts: Butterfly Gardening, Attracting Birds, Composting, etc.  They share researched-based information as well as beautiful photography, practical applications and vast experience. 

To request a Speaker, go to, find the 'Request' box, click on 'Speakers' and review the list of programs available.  Special requests for a topic not listed can be made by contacting Brian Jervis or Kenda Woodburn, Extension Horticultural Educators at 918-746-3707.

Tulsa State Fair: Vendor Thank You

2015 was another very successful year for the Tulsa Master Gardener booth at the Tulsa State Fair.  There was lots to see in regards to horticultural exhibits as well as a group of well-trained Master Gardeners on hand to answer questions from the public. The Tulsa Master Gardeners have a strong partnership with many of the local nurseries and vendors.  At this year's show, we were fortunate to partner with:


Colebrook Nursery

Grogg's Green Barn

Midtown Hardware

Midwest Block & Brick 


Sanders Nursery


The Garden Trug



A big THANK YOU goes out to these partners that contributed to the overall success of the booth and display.  We value these partnerships and look forward to continuing our long-term relationships.


Soil Testing: A Very Smart Idea
Right now is a very good time to have your soil tested so as to know how to amend the soil, if needed, before the next planting season.  Although home kits are available, they can produce inaccurate results.  The best results are obtained from Oklahoma State University Soil, Water, and Forage Analytical Laboratory. 

Soil testing on the same area should be done every two to three years.  Using a trowel or soil tube available at garden centers, dig in the area wanting to be tested down to about six inches. This can be a lawn, vegetable garden, or flower garden, but each individual area must be tested separately.  Obtain at least ten different samples from that area, avoiding areas of wet soil.
Place the samples to be tested in a non-metal bucket or bowl. Mix thoroughly by hand with a plastic spoon. Put a pint of dry mixture in a zip-locked bag, making sure the sample is free of rocks and sticks.  Take it to the OSU Extension Office at 4116 East 15th Street.  The cost is $10.00 and can be paid by check or cash. While there, a questionnaire will need to be filled out with your name, address, phone number and information about your garden area.  The OSU extension office will then forward the sample to the OSU soil experts in Stillwater who will return results to the home address within two weeks.

Results will show any soil deficiencies and how to amend them if need be.  Test results include the three major nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium as well as soil pH.  Typically, most soil samples indicate a need for nitrogen.  Nitrogen is water soluble and is leached into the soil if not used by the plants.  It is the nutrient most needed by plants and usually needing replacement.
In previously fertilized areas, phosphorus and potassium levels are usually normal or excessive most of the time and more should not be added unless the test indicates a deficiency.  Adding more will contribute to water pollution of our streams and lakes.  Also, excessive phosphorus can block the absorption of several nutrients, including iron.

The soil pH measures the amount of acidity or alkalinity in the soil.  pH is measured on a scale of 0-14. 0-5 pH is very acidic and few plants grow in acidic soil, except for azaleas and blueberries. Acidic soil (0-6 pH) is found in areas of heavy rainfall and can be amended by adding agricultural limestone whereas alkaline soil (7-14 pH) is found mainly in dry desert-like conditions and can be amended by adding sulphur.  The amount of amendment will be clearly shown on the test results.  Most plants prefer a neutral zone somewhere between 6-7 pH.  Grasses prefers a pH of 6.8.

There are fourteen (14) other micronutrients that also can be measured by OSU separately for a small additional fee, but measurements of these elements are needed only in special situations.

For more information, refer to the website.  At the top of the webpage is a section called "Lawn and Garden Help".  Pull down the menu and click on "soil".  For more answers to questions about soil and testing, contact Fran at 918-746-3707.  For all other garden questions, contact a Master Gardener at 918-746-3701. 

Vegetable Crop Rotation
Vegetable crop rotation in your vegetable is a very effective way to help prevent diseases, aid in increasing nutrients, and decrease insect damage.  Because many diseases are found in the soil, continued planting of the same plant in the same place, year after year, will increase the disease damage to your vegetable crop.  Since different plants use varying amounts of nutrients, crop rotation will also aide in helping to keep the soil from being depleted of many of these nutrients.  Rotation will also help to decrease destructive insect and nematode populations.  Also, you should not plant vegetable crops belonging to the same family in the same locations (e.g. tomato, pepper, eggplant and potato are of the same family).  For a more complete list of vegetable families, go to the internet and look for " VEGETABLE PLANT FAMILIES". 
Rotation  can be difficult for the small vegetable  gardener, but it should be done as best you can.  In  putting together a rotation plan, it is very helpful  to have a map of your garden that shows were the current plantings are located.  You might want to include the dimensions of each planted area.  List, for each planted area, the number of years (up to now) that you have been growing the same vegetable in the same area.  When this is done, you can then layout a rotation plan for each year of planting.  Make sure you check for sun light, shade and soil type requirements.  Then, rotate each vegetable to a planned bed, never leaving a plant family for more than two years in the same bed.  This procedure will help you to produce a better, healthier crop, with fewer disease problems, as well as boosting the nutrient levels.

Invite Your Favorite Friends Indoors
Don't wait until that dark and damp night the weatherman tells you there is a freeze warning.  Plan ahead now!  In fact, five days to two weeks earlier is ideal.  

The average freeze date in the Tulsa area is November 15th. Before that date you should be surveying the yard for houseplants, a few annuals, succulents and herbs you would like to bring indoors.  Focus on the standouts!
Give each special candidate an overall brisk shower with the garden hose.  Move the keepers to a shady place or porch so they become accustomed to less sunlight.  Inspect them for insects, aphids, scale and sticky leaves with honeydew.  Remove the brown, yellow and dead leaves.  Do any other pruning you deem necessary (e.g. spent flower heads).  Do not prune more than 1/3 of the plant.
To make sure you are not inviting insets indoors, give each plant a shower with an insecticidal soap (the soap is safe for people and pets).  Cover the bottom, as well as the top, of the leaves as well as the top of the soil.  Always read and follow directions on the soap container.
If you suspect insects are in the soil, soak the entire pot in warm water for 15 minutes.  If you are still in doubt, simply re-pot the plant with fresh soil and fertilizer.
After 2 or 3 days spray again with the soap.  Fertilize all the plants moving indoors (except for the herbs) and position near windows or in a similar environment to what the plant just recently experienced outdoors.
Herbs are nice to bring indoors because you can continue to cook with them.  Chives, thyme and lemon thyme are happy to move in, as well as rosemary and lemon verbena.  Dig small portions of these herbs and gently wash the leaves and roots to remove unwanted hitchhikers.  Plant in a lightweight mix such as 1/3 peat, 1/3 perlite, and 1/3 potting soil.  Note that garden soil will quickly turn into a brick indoors.  Run a humidifier or place on a tray with pebbles and water.
Annuals such as vinca, begonia, coleus and impatiens can be moved indoors, but need about two weeks in the lower light levels to prevent leaf drop. They also appreciate humidity and no warm drafts.
Be sure to not over-water indoors.  Let the soil surface get dry to the touch before watering.  Water succulents even less often. And, don't water if the weather is cloudy or rainy, as plants will not get sufficient light indoors to dry out.
This is also a good time to take cuttings of annual flowers such as coleus, begonias, geraniums and impatiens.  They root easily in water or sand and make attractive houseplants if conditions are right.
Plan ahead!  Find your favorites and invite them in to brighten your winter.


Mulching For Winter Conditions
There are basically three kinds of mulch - either organic, mineral, or synthetic.  Common organics include shredded bark of various types, shredded leaves available at this time of year, hay or straw, various paper products and others.  Some of the mineral and synthetics are pebbles, rocks, plastic, and shredded tires.  For most types of gardening, there is nothing better you can do for your plants than add some variety of mulch.

Mulches help with moderating temperature extremes, conserving water, and preventing weed growth.  Around trees, they help prevent damage associated with lawn equipment.  The organic mulches have another benefit in that they add significant amounts of beneficial nutrients to the soil as they decompose.  A disadvantage of the mineral or synthetic mulches is that they do not contribute to soil fertility and are often messy when they get strewn about.

Ideally, most mulching in fall should be done after the soil has cooled.  This allows plants to go into dormancy and develop the needed hardiness to cope with winter.  In spring, the mulch may be removed early in the season to speed up the warming of the soil, which helps give plants a start of early spring growth.  
A 3-inch layer of mulch is usually adequate to provide the needed protection.  The layer should be loose so air can penetrate into the soil.  Through the winter, some of the mulch decomposes and, by spring, the soil is clear enough for plants to sprout yet still sufficiently covered for protection from drying and weed encroachment.
Recommended readings from the OSU Master Gardener Library are: Fundamentals of Gardening, The American Horticulture Society; Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening, 1994, Houghton Mifflin Co.; 10,000 Garden Questions, 1982, Doubleday; Ortho Home Gardener's Problem Solver, 2004, Meredith Books; and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service fact sheet HLA-6005.


Winter Watering

So after the last rainfall of one or two inches and the temperatures are dropping, many of us are ready to coil the hose up and roll it into the garage for winter!  Even though the sun is not as hot and the air temperatures are cooling down, the fall and winter may be some of the driest times of the year for our landscapes.

The lower humidity and the absence of good soaking rains that reach down four to six inches cause our turf and ornamentals to dry out in the root zones.  Most winter-kill or winter damage on plants is caused by going into a freeze without proper hydration.  Even with occasional rainfall, it is imperative to check plant materials under house eaves and covered porches that rely totally on our supplemental watering.  Evergreen plants continue to transpire in the fall and winter and, thus, lose water through cells in the leaves.  For this reason, fall is a good time to plant needled evergreens and to wait until spring to plant broadleaf evergreens.
Even though irrigation systems may be turned off in the colder months due to freezing conditions, it is a good idea to water turf grass deeply to four to six inches manually with the system on warm winter days, when needed, early enough in the day to allow the the leaves to dry before dark which predisposes them to fungus and disease.  Watering early also allows sidewalks and driveways with over-spray to evaporate to prevent icy conditions later in the evening.  It is imperative to always deep soak plant materials, especially newly planted ones with no established root system before any freezes.  Dry plants are more easily winter burned or killed.

It is a must to disconnect hoses from hose bibs in freezing temps to prevent freezing inside the wall or at the hose connection.  It is ok to bring that hose inside the garage before inclement weather, but make sure it is on a mobile cart so you can wheel it back out to water when necessary!