May 2016 / Volume 110   

In This Issue

Weather Stats for Gardeners

Soil Temperature 2" below sod:   

72 degrees 


Rainfall total last 30 days:  

4.29 inches

(Normal: 7.45 inches)



2016 YTD Rainfall total: 

13.77 inches

(Normal YTD: 13.27 inches)





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

Nelda & Ted Lane - Tulsa (for Speakers Bureau)

Fellowship Lutheran Church - Tulsa (for Speakers Bureau)

Rick & Gail Hebard - Tulsa

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.

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. Finally, one other income source that sometimes gets overlooked are personal and corporate donations.  These are so important in helping to meet our financial obligations and are very much appreciated. 

You can make an online contribution by going to the Tulsa Master Gardeners website and donate directly through PayPal. For other information on how you can help support all that the Tulsa Master Gardeners do for their community, contact the Tulsa Master Gardeners Office by calling 918-746-3701.  Thank you! 

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.

June Garden, Lawn, & Landscape Tips

  • Plant watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, eggplant, okra, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Fruit spray programs should be faithfully continued during the next several weeks.
  • Late May is the best time to control borers in the orchard.  Check for label recommendations and controls. 
  • Pinch back leggy annuals to encourage new growth. Fertilize and water appropriately.
  • Feed established mums and other perennials.
  • When picking fresh roses or removing faded ones, cut back to a leaflet facing the outside of the bush to encourage open growth and air circulation.
  • Stake tall perennials before toppling winds arise. 
  • White grubs will soon be emerging as adult June Beetles. Watch for high populations that can indicate potential damage from later life cycle stages as grubs in the summer.
  • Cool-season lawns can be fertilized again. If you did not fertilize cool-season grasses in March and April, do so now, but not in the hot summer.
  • Warm-season lawns may be fertilized again in May/June. (HLA-6420)
  • Seeding of warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass, buffalograss, zoysiagrass and centipedegrass is best performed in mid-May through the end of June (through July for improved varieties such as Riviera and Yukon) to reduce winterkill losses. The soil temperatures are warm enough for germination and adequate growing season is present to promote winter hardiness (HLA-6419).
  • Brown patch disease of cool-season grasses can be a problem. (HLA-6420).
  • Dollar spot disease of lawns can first become visible in mid-May. Make certain fertilizer applications have been adequate before ever applying a fungicide. (EPP-7658).
  • Nutsedge plants become visible by now.  Post-emergent treatments are best applied for the first time in May/June.
  • The second application of pre-emergent annual grass herbicides can be applied in late-May or early June, depending upon timing of first application. Check label for details. 
  • Prune and feed azaleas immediately after blooming.
  • Insect Alert ( EPP-7306)
    • Bagworms on juniper and arborvitae. (Late May)
    • Elm leaf beetles and larvae on elms (Late May)
    • Mimosa webworms on mimosa and honeylocust
    • Lace Bugs on Sycamore, Pyracantha and Azalea
  • Pine needle disease treatments are needed by early June, than again in mid to late June.
  • Vigorous, unwanted limbs should be removed or shortened on new trees. Watch for forks in the main trunk and remove the least desirable trunk as soon as it is noticed. (HLA-6415)
  • Remove tree wraps during the summer to avoid potential disease and insect buildup.
  • Softwood cuttings from new growth of many shrubs will root if propagated in a moist, shady spot.
  • Protect trees from lawnmowers and weed eaters by mulching or using protective aerated covers.
  • Shake a leaf over white paper to look for spider mites.  If the tiny specks begin to crawl, mites are present.

MG Program: 2016 Garden Tour

Who is a guru? One definition is someone who is experienced in their field. Garden Gurus is the name given to this year's Master Gardener own garden tour. The five selected gardens this year are indeed products of garden gurus.  Garden show times are:

Saturday, June 11th             9am-5pm
Sunday, June 112th              Noon to 5pm
A wide variety of gardens were selected for the 2016 tour. Those chosen were picked by recommendations of other Tulsa Master Gardeners or by the gardeners themselves requesting their gardens be shown.  An easily traveled path around Tulsa from Broken Arrow to South Tulsa to Midtown was selected.
One garden is a pollinator garden with many herbs, flowers, bushes and native plants to attract butterflies, hummingbird, and bees. A circle of clover was left in the grass to attract the honeybees. The yard is a good example of organic gardening.

Next, a shady lake side retreat in South Tulsa offers a woodland setting.  Shade plants are planted throughout the yard offering an education in shade gardening.  Flowers are in abundance as you drive in and containers are everywhere.

One stop in Midtown displays a large traditional setting.  Huge trees grow throughout the yard, surviving the 2007 ice storm.  A huge hedge in the backyard provides a bird sanctuary.  Several patios are scattered around. mostly under the shade in order to sit and enjoy the birds and other wildlife.

Another Midtown stop is a small yard that offers many kinds of garden interests.  The owners call it a little piece of Eden.  The gardens have raised-bed square-foot gardens, gardens to feed the chickens, as well as every fruited plant, bush, vine, and tree imaginable.  Herbs, vegetables, and flowers abound around this older cottage.

The last house offers a large vegetable garden.  This garden guru displays the products of good soil, good compost and mulch, lots of sun, and lots of know how.

Last, but certainly not least, are the Demonstration Gardens that surround the OSU Extension Office.  Dedicated Master Gardeners have been working hard to maintain these grounds in tip-top condition for daily public viewing, but especially for the Garden Tour.  So, don't forget to stop by and visit this lovely landscape when you are viewing the other private homes.  

This is the best time for Master Gardeners to share their knowledge and teach the public in the perfect garden settings.
Tickets are available at the OSU Extension Office (before and on Saturday) at 4116 E 15th Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74112. Advance tickets are $6, and $12 on the day of the tour.


MG Program: 2016 Garage & Plant Sale

The Best of Two Worlds!!!!
Spectacular Saturday - June 11
Nothing is better than a Garage Sale AND a Plant Sale both in the same place!   This could be your Best Saturday Ever!!!!  Details:
June 11th
9 am - 4 pm
OSU Extension Office Parking Lot
4116 E. 15th St.
(Located at Gate #6 into the Fairgrounds)
Hunt for bargains from hundreds of items and shop for very reasonably priced plants!
Among items for sale are: garden tools, electric lawn mower, trellises, plant supports, yard art, golf clubs, desk and chairs, recliner, art work, pet items and household appliances...and much, much more.
Also available are nursery plants and pass-along plants such as: Airplane, Forsythia, Toad Lilies and Lenten Rose plants (a hardy perennial). 
The Master Gardener Demonstration Gardens will also be available for tour the same day.  So, make it a memorable Saturday!
All proceeds go to the Master Gardener Foundation which funds FREE Tulsa County Master Gardener educational programs throughout the year to the Tulsa community!

 (Those Lousy) Bagworms

At this time of the year the bagworm larvae have hatched and will be found in many arbor vitae, western red cedars, junipers and sometimes in pines, elms and bald cypress.  They are just starting to build their bag, which will be only about a inch long at this time.  By the end of the summer, in August and September, the bag may reach a length of approximately 2 inches.  Once the larvae are in the bag, the use of insecticides is next to impossible as a control for Bagworms.  Because of this "protection", it is highly recommended, in the fall and winter months, that you hand pick and destroy the Bagworms.  The hand picking process is by far the best way to get rid of Bagworms.  Of course, this applies mainly for owners that have small infected trees or shrubs.  Professional help may be the answer for large trees and shrubs, particularly in the fall months, to get rid of Bagworms.  They are able to use insecticide treatments that are not usually available to the average homeowner. 
Late  spring and early summer will be the best time to use an insecticide on the suspected plants because the larvae are outside of the protection of the bag.  While there are several different types of insecticides that could be used, there are two types of biological insecticides that that are highly recommended: B.T. (Bacillus thuringiensis) and Spinosad.   Several applications may be required with these insecticides, each from 7-10 days apart.  The density of the tree(s) or shrub(s) leaves may prevent original sprayed insecticides from reaching the larvae, so it is recommended that you inspect the areas after application to make sure you have reached past the blocking foliage.  The  spray must penetrate to all the tree or shrubs leaves to make sure the process is working.  If not, you will need to re-spray those failed areas.  In some cases it may be too late to catch all the larvae because they may have shut down the top of the bag, making insecticide treatment a failure.  At that point, it is best to use the hand-picking method.
For more information about bagworms and bagworm control, contact the Master Gardener office at 918-746-3701, visit our office at 4116 East 15th Street - Tulsa to speak to a Master Gardener in person, or use our web site at


Common Tomato Problems
tomato cat facing
{Blossom End Rot}                        {Catfacing}

aphids3 horn worm                {Aphids}                      {Horned Tomato Worm}   

Tomatoes are delicious and many people love to eat them right off the vine, baked, grilled or as part of a recipe.  Homegrown tomatoes can be a sense of pride especially if they are plump and free from disease and pests.  However, despite the efforts of many well-intended gardeners to grow healthy, plump and sweet tasting tomatoes, some find that they invariably run into a snag along the way.  


Garden pests, plant diseases and environmental conditions are among the common issue that can plague tomatoes.  Each of these conditions stands alone, when it comes to the many problems you can face.  Let's look at them individually.  Garden pests run the gamut from nematodes, aphids, cutworms to whiteflies and more. Here's what you can do:
  • Clear away or plow under weeds and debris in which adults over-winter.
  • Consider placing yellow sticky-traps to help monitor levels and capture adults.
  • Row covers are very helpful because young plants are more vulnerable to damage; this will help keep the beetles off.
  • If you have a high infestation and your plant has suffered serious damage, use botanical insecticides such as horticultural soaps, horticultural oils (such as Neem), or pyrethrin (which comes from a type of chrysanthemum).
  • Try hosing down you plants.  There are hose attachments specially designed to produce an intense multi-directional spray that reach the undersides of leaves.  This can especially help with spider mites and aphids.
  • The key to controlling pests is to inspect your plants often.  The most common pest by far is the spider mite.  It sucks out fluids from tomato leaves causing them to develop yellow spots, called a "sandblasted" appearance.

Plant diseases can mount to about 30 unique afflictions - from early and late blight to grey mold.  It turns out that plant diseases are more of a problem commercial growers than back-yard enthusiasts.  So, don't despair, here are solutions to the problems.
  • Make certain your plant has good soil, fertilizer and regular watering.  When your plant is healthy, it is more likely to resist diseases and other problems.
  • Minimize debris and weeds where insects can breed and diseases can incubate.
  • Rotate your crops to ensure soil-borne pathogens don't  have more than a season to get established.
  • Always keep your gardening tools and equipment clean throughout the growing season.  When you put your tools away for the season, clean them as well to ensure that they don't carry over or spread a disease.
  • Remove unhealthy foliage.  If plants are unhealthy,      pluck them out to reduce the spread of problems.
  • Don't compost diseased foliage or plants unless you absolutely know it is safe to do so.
  • Don't use tobacco near tomato plants to avoid communicating tobacco mosaic virus.
  • Avoid watering the foliage of your plants, especially in the evening and when the humidity is high.  Many diseases (verticillium and fusarium) are encouraged by damp conditions.  Try watering in the morning to avoid this fungal growth.
  • Mulch all tomatoes.  This not only helps with temperature control but prevents splashing from soil to plants from occurring.  This reduces the chance of soil-borne disease.

The following four environmental conditions may exist and here are some solutions:

Blossom End Rot: This is rotting which occurs due to calcium deficiency on the blossom end of the tomato.  Our soils have plenty of calcium but, when temperature and moisture levels change such that the plant is stressed, it sends most of the calcium absorbed from the roots to the leaves rather than to the fruit.  It is an attempt at survival.

Catfacing:  When tomatoes are catfaced, their appearance is deformed to the extent that they have deep grooves or indentations that run from the blossom end and all the way around the stem.  This results from cool weather conditions or insect damage while the plant is in blossom.  Although deformed, the tomato is still edible.  In order to avoid the problem, select resistant varieties whenever possible.

Cracking:  There are several reasons for cracking in tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes, especially small ones, frequently split at the stem end and sometimes all the way to the blossom end.  It usually occurs when growth condition changes (especially going from dry soil to high moisture levels) and the tomato out-grows its own skin.  Although, defaced, the fruit is still edible.

Sun Scald:  When the tomato's skin looks bruised or leathery and the skin is sunken and puckered, it is essentially a sun-burned tomato.  Typically, this occurs when fruit is over exposed during hot weather.  To prevent this problem, be sure to leave adequate foliage on plants when pruning.  Also, consider using shade cloth to protect tender vegetable plants.

Techniques for Overcoming Challenging Soil Conditions
Got lousy soil?  There's hope for the Oklahoma home gardener with a few time-tested fixes.  To manage a typical garden soil, an understanding of what makes up soils and how they are put together is helpful.  A standard garden soil is made up of about 1/2 solids and 1/2 voids (or pockets) which can be filled with air or with water.

The following is a step-by-step plan to improve your soil and, therefore, your garden results.
1. SOIL TEST: The soil test provides a starting place for improving your soil.  The soil can be tested by OSU for a $10 fee and will give you a complete report of your soils' composition and its' deficiencies.  (See the website for complete instructions.)  Unless you really know the problems with your garden soil, without a soil test first, you are only guessing when applying fertilizer.
2. WET SOIL: Don't work the soil when wet.  Oklahoma spring gardening conditions often lead to a disruption of the normal, ideal soil condition.  Avid gardeners, if delayed by frequent spring rains, will decide to plant even when the soil is still wet.  As a result, soil particles are packed too close together, forcing out the air and water which plants need to survive.  Compacting the soil by cultivating it when it is too wet redistributes the soil components, greatly reducing the amount of air and water the soil can hold.  Avoiding tilling when soils are wet will also help prevent the soil from becoming compacted and hard.

3. GYPSUM: Don't add gypsum.  It is a common myth among homeowners that adding gypsum to clay-like soils will improve their physical condition, making them soft and easy to till.  There is no scientific research or basis to support this claim.  Do not add gypsum to your soil unless directed to do so by your soil test results.

4. ORGANIC MATTER: Do add organic matter.  The best soil amendment to reduce the risk of soil compaction and soil crusting is the addition and maintenance of high levels of organic matter.  Adding organic matter to the soil can:
    • Make a heavy soil lighter, more crumbly and friable.  This is especially important in areas with high clay content or "gumbo" soils.  Addition of composted material increases drainage and aeration.
    • Hold light soil particles together and help anchor them against erosion.  This increases the water-holding capacity of soil in sandy areas.
    • Provide some of the nitrogen needed by plants.
    • Release nutrients already in the soil by turning them into soluble compounds that can be absorbed by plant roots.
    • Permit growth and functioning of micro-organisms in the soil.
    • Furnish a small quantity of all elements essential for plant growth.
5. MULCH: Do keep the soil covered, either with mulch or a living groundcover, in order to conserve water, lower soil temperature, add nutrients, and prevent weeds.

6. FERTILIZING: When fertilizing, use only the nutrients needed according to your soil test results.  A review of soil tests from homeowners in the Tulsa area showed that 75% of them already have adequate (and sometimes, excessive amounts) of phosphorus.  Adding more fertilizer is not only harmful to plants, but the runoff pollutes our waterways.

Fertilizer is not "plant food".  More is not better and too much is worse than too little.  It can kill plants as well as being a pollutant.  Always read the label and follow the directions for usage.

Fertilization is important, but is not a cure-all for any gardening problem, and cannot compensate for inadequate drainage or aeration.
For more information, see the following OSU Fact Sheers:

HLA-6007                 Improving Garden Soil Fertility
E-1003                     OK Homeowner's Handbook for Soil
HLA-6436                 Healthy Garden Soil

All About Chickens
The vast majority of poultry, meat, and eggs consumed in the United States are produced by commercial producers.  Yet, an increasing number of people prefer to produce their own, especially in urban areas. In many cases, the cost of eggs or meat produced will be comparable with the purchase price in a retail store.
Chickens require little space and a minimum of daily care. However, serious thought should be given to the following elements before jumping into chicken production:

    1. In urban areas, zoning restrictions must be         considered...more about Tulsa's zoning later.

    2.  Is the time available to maintain the chickens so they won't become a nuisance to the neighbors?

    3.  Is suitable housing available for the flock being considered?

    4.  Is there a market for the product or will it be consumed by the owner?

    5.  Are facilities available for processing the product...picking & processing the poultry?

    6.  Are facilities available for disposing of normal mortality within the flock?
Housing for Birds: First, consideration must be given to providing protection from heat, cold and rain as well as providing ventilation at all times.  From the time a baby chick is a day old until it reaches about six weeks of age, some supplemental heat may be necessary for optimum growth.  During the first week, chicks should be in a 90 - 95 degree temperature range.  The temperature may be lowered 5 degrees each week until 70 degrees is reached and maintained.  Plenty of feed and fresh water must be available to give the best chance at a successful operation.  Rations are formulated for specific purposes, but starting ration is similar for both broilers and egg-laying stock.

Lighting: Chickens generally require close to 24 hours of light a day, but the home producer can probably get by with less.  At least 15 minutes of darkness should be provided daily in order to allow the birds to be accustomed to the darkness and prevent a panic if the power is interrupted.

Baby Chicks: Purchasing baby chicks from a hatchery is probably the most reliable method to start your operation.  Do your research to determine what type of chicken suits your plans, as chickens have been bred for specific purposes.  Meat- production chickens usually don't lay enough eggs to make them worthwhile for processing eggs;  Egg producers don't provide good meat production.  The breed should be selected for the purpose desired.

Equipment & Litter: Sophisticated equipment is not necessary for the small flock owner.  The Broiler flock needs only feeders and waterers for adequate growth and some type of nesting facilities will be needed for the egg producing flock.  Of heightened importance is the use of litter on the floor.  Regardless of the type of flooring in your house, some litter on the floor is a necessity for either broilers or laying hens.  Straw, wood shavings, peanut hulls, rice hulls or commercial litter material are all quite satisfactory but, regardless of the material, it should be kept dry.  Wet litter is an excellent media for disease growth which can be destructive to a flock.

Disease & Parasites: At the time of purchase, the baby chicks should be vaccinated for the common poultry diseases.  The supplier can usually provide this service for you prior to delivery.  Sanitation is the best way to prevent disease and parasites.  Cleaning the house between groups of chickens, maintaining dry litter and providing sufficient floor space for the chickens (one square foot per broiler and two square feet per Leghorn-type layer) will prevent many of the disease, parasite and cannibalism problems that can occur in a flock.
Processing broilers: Broilers will be ready to eat or freeze at about seven weeks of age.  Most communities lack facilities for custom processing, so individual producers may need to process their own birds.  Producers should prepare for this and only process a few birds each day to avoid fatigue.  Considerable labor is involved in preparing broilers for the freezer.  Provisions will need to be made to properly dispose of the offal from the processing operation.

Eggs: Successful egg production will depend on the correct feeding and lighting programs, as well as good management of the layers.  One nest for each four layers should be adequate.  Nests should be located in the darker portion of the house.  Eggs must be gathered at least twice a day and stored in a refrigerated area with a temperature between 50 - 60 degrees F.

Predators: Small flocks are more susceptible to "thieves in the night".  Determining the identity of the predator is essential in preventing repeat visits.  Once identification has been made, appropriate steps can be taken.  Some clues: if birds are mauled, but not eaten, and event is in the daylight hours, a dog is suspect.  Dogs usually kill chickens for the sport.  Raccoons only visit every 5 to 7 days and eat the head and crop of the dead birds.  Opossums usually attack only one bird a visit and eats the birds abdomen.  Owls use their talons to pierce the brain of their victim and eat only the head and neck.  Fox-coyote visit early in the morning and are very difficult to catch in the act.  Secure pens and poultry houses are the best insurance against losses from a fox or a coyote.  Lastly, humans can be the problem.  If birds are missing with little evidence, human invaders should not be overlooked.
Chicken ordinances in the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma

Chickens are allowed in the City of Tulsa, but no more than 6 adults and 14 chicks under 8 weeks in age are allowed.  Roosters are allowed, but noise ordinances may apply.  Pens and buildings must be at least 100 feet from the adjoining property line.  The floors must be easily cleanable and maintained in a sanitary method that is not dangerous or offensive.  The outside of the building must be screened to prevent the spread of flies and vermin. 
The following resources are available at the OSU Extension office:
  • Poultry for the Small Producer
  • Predators - Thieves in the Night
  • Often asked Questions about Poultry and Eggs
  • An inventory of chicken/equipment available from Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms, Inc.