By Margaret Bayne, OSU Extension Staff-retired, OSU Master Gardener

May 2018

Residential beekeeping: Best-practice guidelines for nuisance-free beekeeping in Oregon. This publication outlines guidelines for best practices for beekeeping in residential areas. It outlines the steps residential beekeepers can take to operate their bees in nuisance-free manner. (Andony Melathopoulos, Ralph (Mike) Rodia, Jen Holt,  & Ramesh R. Sagili, OSU)

Photo credit: Barb Fick

Give the garden a facelift with 6 shrubs sporting dramatic foliage. “It’s easy to grab the pretty flowers staring back at you from the nursery shelves but try straying from the usual and plant vibrant shrubs to spice up the garden.” (Amy Jo Detweiler, OSU; via Kym Pokorny, OSU)

Got aphids in your greenhouse?As a biological control strategy, banker plants offer a novel non-chemical approach to managing commonly encountered pests in the greenhouse.(Edward Ricciuti,

California Bumblebee decline linked to feral honeybees.  “…honeybees frequently out-compete native pollinators such as for food and nesting sites.” (

This mite’s method of hitchhiking is not recommended…get eaten by a slug. (Yao-Hua Law,

Plant a Geiger counter in your garden. “… Tradescantia, also known as Spiderwort…has special sensitivities: the tri-petal flowers open and close based on the weather and light levels; when it is really hot the flowers close, but on an overcast or rainy day, they seem to glow.  But the most exciting Tradescantia trick is that it will change flower colors when exposed to low levels of radiation, among other pollutants.” (Lisa Burke,

The Gardens of Alcatraz. ”The very name conjures up visions of famous inmates like Al “Scarface” Capone and recalls well-cited facts, such as: “Nobody successfully escaped.” But for all we know about Alcatraz, few people realize that many of its prisoners were also gardeners. (Katie Nanton,

In defense of Wasps.  “Despite their poor public image, wasps are incredibly important for the world’s economy and ecosystems. Without them, the planet would be pest-ridden to biblical proportions, with much reduced biodiversity”. (Seirian Sumner,

Train yourself to observe tree problems. Download this free informative publication.  A correct diagnosis of the problem is the important first step in trying to manage an unhealthy tree. This publication contains guidelines for identifying tree problems. It will help you examine your tree systematically, collect important background information, and find expert assistance, when necessary.” (Lina Rodriguez Salamanca & Laura Jesse Iles, Plant & Insect Diagnostic Clinic, Iowa State University Extension)

Move over, Beetles: The new champions of diversity are Parasitic Wasps. Parasitoid wasps that lay eggs in other creatures may represent more species than any other group of animals.” (Nala Rogers,

Photo credit: Tiffany Woods

Stick a thermometer in the soil before planting vegetables.  “With a thermometer, no guess work is needed. Soil temperature is the best indicator of when to plant each type of vegetable, no matter what climate zone you live in.” (Jim Meyers, OSU; via Kym Pokorny, OSU)

Brushing plants for height control.Theoretically, plants release a small amount of the plant hormone ethylene when they are touched or moved (by people, the wind, etc.). With repeated and frequent plant movement, plants release enough ethylene to inhibit elongation.” (Erik Runckle,

Growing unusual veggies encourages kids to garden! Learn about such fun veggies as Bush Hog Cucumber and Mashed Potato Squash. (Melody Parker,

Three great how-to videos: “Apple Tree Pruning Made Easy.” (U of Minnesota Extension,
Part 1:

Part 2:

Park 3:

Cockroaches’ DNA reveals why they thrive in filthy places. “By identifying which genes are key to the bugs’ survival, scientists hope to find ways to better control them.” (Ian Sample,

Crazy plant ladies through the ages: Women Naturalists, Botanists, and Horticulturists who made history ( blog)

One Orchid…two colors.It’s inflorescence is made up of a dense cluster of flowers. Unlike what we are used to with most flowering plants, the flowers of the elder-flowered orchid come in two distinct color morphs – purple and yellow. They are so drastically different that one could be excused for thinking they were two different species. What’s more, the different color morphs co-occur throughout the species’ range. What could be causing this dimorphism? The answer lies in the flowers themselves.” (

Earwigs take origami to extremes to fold their wings: “The insects’ springy wing joints are inspiring robotics design.”(Laurel Hamers,

All-star spring flowers for your garden.  The best flowering bulbs and perennials for early- to late-spring color: Hellebores, Snowdrops, Daffodils and Tulips. (Anne Balogh,

Bizarre, parasitic ‘Fairy Lantern’ reappears in the rainforest after 151 Years! “A strange plant that needs no sunlight and sucks on underground fungi for nutrients has turned up in Borneo, Malaysia, 151 years after it was first documented.” (Rafi Letzter,

Making the most out of your soil test.  What does soil pH mean for your garden? (Rebecca Finneran & Mary Wilson, Michigan State University Extension)

How to divide perennials. (Richard Jauron, & Willy Klein, Iowa State Extension)

Why leaves don’t leave.  “Deciduous trees typically lose all of their leaves by late autumn. But a stroll through the Arboretum reveals a scattering of deciduous trees and shrubs that still have leaves (albeit dry and brown) clinging tightly to branches. These plants are exhibiting marcescence, the trait of retaining plant parts after they are dead and dry.” (Nancy Rose, ARBlog, Harvard University)

The world’s largest mining operation is run by fungi. “If you sift the mineral particles from conifer forest soil, wash them, and examine them under a microscope, you will discover a startling detail: tiny tunnels.” (Jennifer Frazer,

Photo credit: Pam Zaklan

Practice the good neighbor policy in the garden: Try companion planting. (Pam Zaklan, OSU MG; via Kym Pokorny, OSU)

Royal Jelly-pH and viscosity.  “Scientists are still learning some basic information about honey bees, Apis mellifera.  In a recent paper, the pH of royal jelly was determined to be the deciding factor for keeping the substance viscous.   Honey bee larvae develop into queen bees if they are fed large quantities of a food called royal jelly.  But royal jelly does more than determine whether a larva becomes a queen. It also keeps her safely anchored to the roof of the queen cell in which she develops.” (Julia Kurtz via The Garden Professors Blog, Facebook)

Links to original blog and research paper:

Tree care workers need better training to handle dangers on the job. “…study calls attention to post-storm hazards posed to tree care workers and provides safety recommendations.” By Patti Verbanas, Rutgerstoday)

Is sex necessary? For Dandelions, apparently not. “In the case of most dandelions (i.e., Taraxacum officinale), the embryo in the seed forms without, meiosis, thus the offspring are genetically identical to the parent.”
Note: If an herbicide is ever recommended, MGs only provide OSU recommendations. (Plant Guy,

Stunning microscopic images of seeds. (Keirin,

Flower garden design basics:  “…learn the aesthetic consequences of different strategies. Remember that, in most cases, there is more than one way to arrange plants, and that many of the ‘rules’ of garden design were made to be broken.” (Lee Nelson, Cornell University)

Hardy Plant Society of Oregon’s 30 favorite plants of 2018. (The Pecks,

New butterfly species discovered nearly 60 years after it was first collected. (University of Florida,

Plants, Fungi and Bacteria work together to clean polluted land.  “Microbial interactions help fast growing trees breakdown petrochemical pollutants in the soil. Highly complex interactions among roots, fungi and bacteria underlie the ability of some trees to clean polluted land…” (, Original story from McGill University)

Wild plants and historic archaeology.  With the old homesteads long gone, “…what’s an archaeologist with a camera, pencil, paper, and keen observation skills to do? Read the landscape.” (Carl Feagans, Archaeology Review)

Researchers identify the cells that trigger flowering. “How do plants ‘know’ it is time to flower? A new study uncovers exactly where a key protein forms before it triggers the flowering process in plants.” (Linda B. Glaser & Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle)

These beetles use booze-soaked trees to farm their food.  “Ambrosia beetles have a surprising reason for seeking out trees full of ethanol.” (Douglas Main, National Geographic)

Mullerian mimicry and why telling bumble bee species apart by color can be hard. (Briana Ezray with Andony Melathopoulos, OSU; Pollination Podcast, OSU)

Plant salt tolerance: recent research in Biotechnology. (

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>