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

December 2018

Photo: OSU

Just say ‘no’ to bad gardening practices.  Learn what ‘not to do’ from OSU experts. (Kym Pokorny, OSU)

Are plants conscious?  “We tend to think of plants as passive organisms, the backdrop for looking at more interesting animals roaming around in the foreground. But the world of plants is by no means docile, it is simply working on a separate time scale and in a different medium, and we’re only just starting to decipher it.” (Josh Davis,

Red meat allergy associated with tick bites could also be passed on by tiny mites.After a series of strange medical cases, researchers discovered that bites from the lone star tick can induce a severe and persistent allergy to red meat. In the six or so years since this was identified, it has been determined that bites from multiple other tick species can also cause it. Now, evidence indicates that bites from another type of small, parasitic arachnid known as a “chigger” may do the same.”(

New Ohio State app helps users identify, prevent and control Bed Bugs. (Ohio State U)

Large cells for tiny leavesScientists identify protein that controls leaf growth and shape. (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft,

Freeze versus frost: A primer on how cold affects plants. (Beth Botts,

Interpreting soil testing analysis of compost.  While this publication is written for commercial growers, it has great general information on soil tests. (EM 9217, Dan M. Sullivan, Andy I. Bary, Robert O. Miller, and Linda J. Brewer, OSU)

Study finds fungi, not plant matter, responsible for most carbon sequestration in northern forests. (Bob Yirka,

Insecticidal soap vs dish detergents.  (Note: MGs do not recommend home remedies) (Matt Borden,

Native vs. nonnative – can’t we all just get along? Probably the most contentious gardening topic dealt with online is the native vs. nonnative plant debate. Here is an expert’s take on the topic. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

The myth of curative Kelp: “Seaweed extracts reduce disease, improve production, and increase stress resistance in landscape plants.”  Learn the true facts. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

Photo: T. Smith, University of Mass. Amhearst

Bagged potting mixes and garden soils for home gardeners-what’s in them?  “There are many types of bagged potting mixes and garden soils available. Some are intended to be used in the ground to supplement or fill areas for gardens. Other products are intended for plants growing in containers and pots. It is important to read the label before purchasing to learn the intended use for the product.” (Tina Smith and Dr. Douglas Cox, UMassAmherst)

Become familiar with the pests in your area. Don’t let pests surprise you! Become educated. Become prepared. (NPIC, OSU)

The butterflies that hear with their wings.A petite group called the satyrines uses swollen veins to channel sound into tiny ears.” (Ed Yong,

What are short day and long day plants? (Ann Marie VanDerZanden, OSU)

Test tube trees’: An insurance policy against extinction? (Helen Briggs, BBC News)

New, detailed snapshots capture photosynthesis at room temperature- Scientists use SLAC’s X-ray laser to watch water-splitting reaction-. Watch the video! (Stanford University)

Negative gravitropism demonstration showing how mustard shoots react to change in pot position.  “Gravitropism is growth or movement response to gravity, observed in plants and fungus.” Watch the video. (Gphase,

Plants find ways to survive no matter the terrain. (Royal Holloway U)

Cacao analysis dates domesticated chocolate trees back 3,600 years. (Eric Sorensen, WSU)

The world’s largest organism, Pando (an Aspen), is dying. (Trevor Nace,

Moss rapidly detects, tracks air pollutants in real time. (

Adelgid. Photo: Connecticut Agricultural Research Station

Meet the invasive insect that is changing an entire forest bird community. (GrrlScientist,

PDF 2018 December Horticultural Updates

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