Natter’s Notes

Fertilizing Seasonal Vegetables and Flowers

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

When it comes to fertilizing plants, common myths may risk your plants’ health.  The general guideline is to start early and supplement as the season proceeds. So, let’s look at the facts, while focusing on growing annual flowers and vegetables.

Synthetic or organic?

It’s important to know that many brands and forms of fertilizer work well. Whatever your choice, organic or synthetic, liquid or solid, the goal is to produce abundant yields of flowers and/or edibles. It’s also possible to use a combination of organic and synthetic. For instance, you might plant a cover crop, then follow with synthetic fertilizers at the appropriate times. (See Cover Crops for Home Gardens; FS 304;

In order to obtain the same end result, synthetic products are less costly than organics, are applied in small amounts, and act rapidly. Organics cost more, in part, because they require larger amounts as well as considerable labor to haul and apply. Then, too, organics react relatively slowly because they rely on soil organisms to release the fertilizer elements. Perhaps the greatest value of the bulky organics (manure), is that a small percentage of fertilizer elements remains to be released during subsequent years. Thus, avoid overloading the soil by applying the full amount of manure for 1 to 3 years, then apply a smaller amount during successive years. (See EC 1503, page 7.)

Soil tests

A professional soil test is useful before beginning a new garden to identify possible excesses and deficiencies in the soil. Then, when repeated every several years, the test will note changes and suggest adjustments in fertilizer applications. Fall is a good time for a test because lime and possibly other remedies can be applied in a timely manner.

Here, in the metro counties, we typically suggest the nearby A&L Soil Lab, 503-968-9225. Call them to ask how to sample and how to deliver the soil. Request a general test, with recommendations, for a home garden in which you will grow annual vegetables, or whatever else you are interested in, perhaps lawn.

Fertilizing seasonal plants in the garden versus in pots

When it comes to fertilizer deficiencies in our region with its clay-based soils, the most common in home gardens is nitrogen. (Nitrogen deficiency is revealed in pale and/or stunted growth; oldest leaves turn yellow, then dry and may drop; new tip growth is dark green.)  So, for the most part, you can forget about using any of those various fancy deficiency charts when growing seasonal plants in the garden. In most instances, a general fertilizer with nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) will do the job for seasonal flowers or vegetables, presuming, of course, that the plants receive appropriate amounts of light and water for their kind.

Growing in containers is where things may become complicated. Fill them with a commercially-prepared potting mix because the coarse components will allow good drainage in the shallow depth available in most pots as long as it has drain holes. (Avoid adding coarse stuff in the bottom because, contrary to popular opinion, it impedes drainage.) Find a potting mix that works for you and your watering habits, then always use the same stuff in your containers.

It’s worth knowing that commercial potting mixes enriched with a bit of fertilizer will need additional fertilizer if your seasonal plants are expected to achieve the expected abundant yields. Always use a general purpose product designed for container-grown plants.

Wherever a seasonal plant is growing, in the ground or a pot, don’t bother adding a high phosphorus fertilizer to encourage bloom. A plant absorbs what it needs when it needs it. More important yet, adequate phosphorus must be available in the first quarter of the plant’s life.

Starting seasonal flowers and vegetables from seed

If you seed directly into the garden, begin by digging to the depth of a garden fork, remove weeds and debris, mix in several inches of compost, then level the soil. Next, rake in a starter dose of granular fertilizer, then seed and, finally, settle the soil by gently watering.

As soon as the cotyledons (seedling leaves) change position from vertical to horizontal, apply a liquid fertilizer at quarter strength. Follow up with a side-dressing at about 4 weeks. (Or follow the package directions!)

Similarly, when seeding into a container, fill it with slightly moist potting mix, seed, then water lightly to settle the seed and potting mix. When the cotyledons become horizontal, apply a liquid fertilizer at quarter strength.

Set your transplants, either home-grown or purchased, into their final growing place when they are several inches tall, then water with quarter-strength fertilizer to settle the soil. It won’t be long until you can start harvesting.

Useful Resources

Growing Your Own (EM9027) provides a rapid overview especially useful for gardeners, including those new to our region. Particularly helpful is the chart of planting dates for vegetables. (We’re in Region 2.)

Soils and Fertilizers (chapter 2 in Sustainable Gardening, the MG handbook)

A Guide to Collecting Soil Samples for Farms and Gardens

Fertilizing Your Garden (PNW 1503) includes the use of wood ashes.

Fertilizing with Biosolids (PNW 508)

PDF Version:
Fertilizing Seasonal Vegetables and Flowers



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

February 2019

Listen to a podcast about the history of angiosperms (flowering plants) with Dr. Nan Crystal Arens from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.  “Her work on angiosperms of the early Cretaceous has given us insights into the evolutionary pressures that may have led to the evolution of flowering plants as well as how these early angiosperms made their living in a landscape already vegetated by a preponderance of gymnosperms.” (

Young Beech, winter branches. Emma Tutein University of New Hampshire Extension

How branches, bark and buds help you ID trees and shrubs. “Winter seems like a lousy time to identify trees and shrubs. Without leaves to look at, things definitely get a little difficult, but with a few tricks, and maybe a good book in hand, you can up your botany game and learn to identify trees and shrubs without leaves!” (Emma Tutein, U of NH)

Watch scientists train bees to play with tiny soccer balls!  “The study shows that bees can adapt to really weird circumstances… Here’s the buzz: bees are brilliant. And not just because they are a vital part of our ecosystem. Bees are also very clever—and apparently capable of learning one of the basic fundamentals of football.” (Mary Beth Griggs,

Check out these beautiful botanical drawings.  “Over 100 years ago, the US Government commissioned 7,500 watercolor paintings of every kind of fruit in the Country.” (Chloe Olewitz,

Beech trees are dying, and nobody’s sure why.Intense effort underway to find culprit behind rapid disease spread.” Misti Crane, Ohio State U)

It takes a mosquito to fight a mosquito. “In Australia, China and elsewhere, scientists are fighting disease-carrying mosquitoes by introducing another type, carrying just a harmless form of bacteria.” (Tina Rosenberg,

New plant discovery at Longwood Gardens– Cyrtosia (syn. Galeolaseptentrionalis, “…It’s considered impossible to cultivate and has never previously been found in the United States. So what makes Cyrtosia so special—and how did it come to be at Longwood?”

Watch a forest appear to breath when hit by strong winds!  “When a forest in Quebec was hit with heavy winds, the forest floor began to undulate as if it were breathing. This incredible phenomenon happens during storms when the soil is saturated and loosens from the tree’s roots.” (

Early Thanksgiving counts show a critically low Monarch population in California.The California overwintering population has been reduced to less than 0.5% of its historical size, and has declined by 86% compared to 2017.” (

Dry conditions may have helped a new type of plant gain a foothold on Earth. Plants reap energy from the sun using two photosynthesis pathways, C3 and C4. A new study suggests that water availability drove the expansion of C4 species, which may help to explain how different plant lineages came to be distributed on the planet today.” (U of Pennsylvania via

New research has discovered how plant roots sense the availability of moisture in soil and then adapt their shape to optimize acquisition of water.  “The discovery could enable crops to be bred which are more adaptive to changes in climate conditions, such as water scarcity, and help ensure food security in the future.” (U of Nottingham via

So many Shot Hole Borers: New research charts four nearly identical species. (Jiri Hulcr, Ph.D., and Jackson Landers,

Antennal sensors allow hawkmoths to make quick moves.   All insects use vision to control their position in the air when they fly, but they also integrate information from other senses. Biologists at Lund University have now shown how hawkmoths use mechanosensors in their antennae to control fast flight maneuvers.” (Lund University via

52 million tree stories more accessible to science. “The world’s primary archive of tree ring data, which holds more than 52 million cost-free records spanning 8,000 years of history, has gotten a makeover by scientists from four countries committed to making science more accessible.” (Harvard U via

Planting hedges along roads may keep us all healthier -Field investigations for evaluating green infrastructure effects on air quality in open-road conditions.(K.V.Abhijith & Prashant Kumar,

How do I care for an amaryllis after it is finished blooming? (Richard Jauron, Willy Klein, Iowa State U)

Scientists have ‘hacked Photosynthesis’ in search of more productive crops.(Dan Charles,

Did you know spiders can fly hundreds of miles using electricity?  “Scientists are finally starting to understand the centuries-old mystery of “ballooning.” (Ed Young,

The founder of the Boy Scouts hid maps in insect drawings.  Can you find the secrets in these bug illustrations? (Jack Goodman,

Crab spiders and Pitcher plants: a dynamic duo! (

Life-Long Radar Tracking of Bumblebees.   “Insect pollinators such as bumblebees play a vital role in many ecosystems, so it is important to understand their foraging movements on a landscape scale…used harmonic radar to record the natural foraging behavior of Bombus terrestris audax workers over their entire foraging career.” (Joseph L. Woodgate, et al,

Tree wound. Jay Pscheidt, OSU, Pacific NW Disease Management Handbook

Tree Wound Paints.  “Paints have been used over the years to try to protect tree wounds from invasion by microorganisms and to promote healing. With a few exceptions, paints are not widely recommended for this use.” (Jay Pschdeit, OSU PNW Disease Handbook)

What do spiders do in winter? Yes, they are out there! (Richard Bradley,

Watch the beautiful video: Botanical Animation- Story of Flowers. (AMMK designs via

What makes a tree a tree?  Despite numerous studies and 30-plus genomes under their belts, scientists are still struggling to nail down the defining traits of these tall, long-lived, woody plants (Rachel Ehrenberg,

The secret life of plants: Ten new species found this year. (Helen Briggs,

Is habitat restoration actually killing plants in the California wildlands? (Kara Manke,

Wow!  Watch this amazing video of the harvesting of olives. (Réceptacle automatique,

Back to the land: are young farmers the new starving artists?  “A small but growing movement of millennials are seeking out a more agrarian life but the reality of life on the land is not always as simple as they hoped.” (Lucia Graves,

Did you get a Poinsettia for Christmas? Watch the video and find out how to keep it alive!(Utah State)

Scientists discover secret to how plants branch to locate water– “…plant roots branch to find water which could help increase food security.” (Jessica Miley,

Researchers develop a new houseplant that can clean your home’s air. “Researchers have genetically modified a common houseplant to remove chloroform and benzene from the air around it.”(University of Washington,

An introduction to Hornworts.  “When was the last time you thought about hornworts?  Have you ever thought about hornworts?  If you answered no, you aren’t alone.” (

Why taxonomic preparedness is critical for invasive species response“Responding to invasive insects is a three-fold endeavor, involving detection or interception, accurate and fast identification (i.e., taxonomy), and thorough ecological investigations.”  Researchers “…recount the taxonomic work that sprang into action to investigate natural enemies of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) after its arrival in North America in the late 1990s, as an example of how taxonomic preparedness is critical to the success of biological control efforts to respond to invasive species.” (Matthew L. Buffington, Ph.D., et al;

One of nature’s smallest flowering plants can survive inside of a duck.  “If one duckweed lands where a bird relieves itself, it’s capable of eventually creating a dense mat of duckweeds where there were none before.” (Veronique Greenwood,

Plants don’t like to be touched.  “The findings… could lead to new approaches to optimizing plant growth and productivity –  from field-based farming to intensive horticulture production. (La Trobe University)

Why doesn’t my Holly have berries?  Lack of berries on Holly is a common concern for homeowners. (Silloo Kapadia, MG; Penn State U)

This is a shame!  The decline of insect representation in biology textbooks over time. (Kiran Gangwani & Jennifer Landin; Academic Entomologist, Oxford Academy)

How insects survive winter. (Jessica Wong, Colorado State U)

Slugs feasting on lettuce. Robin Rosetta, OSU

Researcher identifies new weapons against slugs.  “Essential oils from thyme and spearmint are proving lethal to crop-damaging slugs without the toxicity to humans, animals or the environment that chemical solutions can presentMcDonnell was hired by OSU in 2016 after Oregon farmers told the university’s leaders that more research was needed to fight slugs, which have become increasingly destructive in recent years.”(Mateusz Perkowsk,

Hospital Garden Eases Nurse Burnout. (Shelaghsblog, garden

Is organic food worse for the climate than non-organic food?  “If you eat organic food in the belief that you’re helping the planet, this study suggests you might be doing more harm than good.  International researchers from Chalmers University of Technology looked at the impact of organic and conventional food production on the climate.” (

How close-up glamour shots are generating buzz for bees.  “The pictures were taken for science, but found a wider audience because they’re gorgeous and a little trippy.” (Jessica Leigh Hester,

The pickle is in trouble! Scientists are fighting for the stricken pickle against this tricky disease. (Carolyn Beans,

Plants’ defense against insects is a bouquet.A research study… sheds light on how blend of chemicals strengthens plants’ defense against insect pests.” (Joy Landis, Michigan State U)defense against insect pests.



Anyone who thinks that gardening begins in the spring and ends in the fall is missing the best part of the whole year. For gardening begins in January with the dream.
– Josephine Nuese

Happy 2019 Master Gardeners!

Yes, January is a great time to begin or rekindle your garden dreams and plan for the future.  Whether curling up with a great seed catalog, charting out your garden plans on graph paper, perusing garden inspiration online, or pacing around your garden to determine a plan of attack for those pesky weeds that seem to be flourishing in our mild winter, there’s definitely plenty to do right now!

It is also the perfect time to plan how you would like to volunteer as a Master Gardener in the coming year.  Will you volunteer at your usual volunteer venue?  Or will you explore and try something new, like lending a hand and a shovel at a chapter Demonstration Garden, offering garden advice at one of the Master Gardener Hotline offices, volunteering at a favorite farmers market, or making gardening presentations to the public?  The possibilities are many!  Look for volunteer openings on CERVIS, with new postings being added every month, or check in with Chapters for opportunities.

We look forward to seeing you in 2019 wearing your OSU Master Gardener hat – sharing your passion for gardening, dispensing reliable gardening advice and serving our community!

Hearty Heap of Gratitude for 2018!

Volunteers at the Grow an Extra Row Garden

Upon the start of a New Year we take time to reflect on the year gone by.  For the metro-area OSU Master Gardener program, 2018 was another stellar year thanks to the extraordinary contributions of Master Gardener volunteers!




Look at these impressive numbers…

Master Gardeners Number reporting Total hours
2018 Interns   89   6,979
2018 Veterans 447 34,162
                                          Total 536 41,141

While serving the community with 41,000-plus hours of volunteer service, metro-area Master Gardeners had 34,431 public contacts.  With each of those public contacts Master Gardeners were educating, guiding, and inspiring home gardeners to be successful and environmentally responsible gardeners!

Master Gardeners made more community contributions by growing and donating over 18,407 lbs. of nutritious produce. Of that total, chapter demonstration gardens donated 7,241 lbs. of fresh vegetables and fruits, and individual MGs contributed over 11,246 lbs.!  That is a remarkable contribution in assisting those who are experiencing food insecurity!

We extend a hearty heap of gratitude to all metro-area Master Gardeners for sharing your time, energy, and passion for gardening by educating the public and supporting the OSU Master Gardener program.  Thank you!

2019 Master Gardener Training to Begin

Thumbs up from 2018 MG trainees Jerry, Carrie, (far left, and second from left) and Ellen (far right), along with Veteran MG Jack (second from right).

Join us in 2019 for Master Gardener training.  We will be holding 7 weeks of training classes starting the first week in February and running through March.  So mark your calendars.  Each AM or PM session attended counts as 3 hours continuing garden education credit for 2019.

The training sites and days are:

Tuesdays, February 5 – March 19, 9AM to 4PM
NEW LOCATION! Hillsboro United Methodist Church,
168 NE 8th Avenue, Hillsboro

Thursdays, February 7 – March 21, 9AM to 4PM
Museum of the Oregon Territory,
Museum of the Oregon Territory 3rd floor- 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City

Fridays, February 8 – March 22, 9AM to 4PM
Multnomah County Headquarters,
Multnomah County Headquarters -501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

2019 Master Gardener training will include perennial favorite instructors: Jen Aron, Margaret Bayne, Chip Bubl, Jane Collier, Claudia Groth, Monica Maggio, Weston Miller and Jean R. Natter.  In addition, we welcome 3 new instructors, metro-area Master Gardener Sally Campbell, and OSU Extension’s Heather Stoven and Rachel Suits.

See the 2019 Metro-area Training Schedule HERE

Spread the Word!  2019 MG Training Registration Open!

How do the majority of people learn about Master Gardener training?  From Master Gardeners of course!

Now is your chance to let others know about the rewarding opportunities available serving as a Master Gardener volunteer.  Registration is now open for the 2019 Master Gardener Training!  Share the word with your gardening friends, wanna-be gardeners, and fellow community members.  Direct those interested to our Metro-area Master Gardener website for easy online registration.

Calling All MGs on Nextdoor, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

If social media is a favorite communication avenue for you, please consider sharing information about the Master Gardener training registration on the social media sites on which you participate.  Share posts from our Facebook and Twitter accounts or direct those interested to our website.  We would love to cover all Nextdoor neighborhoods in the metro-area.  If you need more information or would like a promotional photo to post – please contact Marcia McIntyre:

Being an ‘Active and Certified’ OSU Master Gardener

MG Connie Leben’s OSU Master Gardener Badge sporting a 2019 Recertification Sticker

This month we are updating Master Gardener’s status in CERVIS for the 2019 season based on the completion of the following:

  • Volunteer hours (20 hrs. for vets) and
  • Recertification credit (10 hrs. for everyone).
  • Conditions of Volunteer Service form for 2019 on file. (signed Conditions of Volunteer Service forms need to be submitted annually! Download form here.)

When these 3 requirements are met, we list you as “Current” in the CERVIS system and you will be able to sign-up for volunteer shifts.  Current statewide guidelines require us to hold back on recertifying MGs until these minimums are met.  Those who meet the requirement are issued a 2019 sticker to display on their badge.  See photo.

If you find you are no longer able to use CERVIS, contact Marcia McIntyre

Also contact Marcia if you need guidance in how to reach the minimum requirements to renew your “active and current” status as an MG.

Advanced Training Webinars for 2019 Continuing Education Credit

Photo: OSU Ebba Peterson

We have heard rave reviews this past year from Master Gardeners regarding the OSU MG Advanced Training Webinars!  Master Gardeners are discovering valuable gardening information from OSU experts that they can watch via an interactive webinar or a recording at a convenient time.  Another series is slated for 2019 and it is sure to please as well.

First-up in 2019…

Update on Sudden Oak Death in the Pacific Northwest
Presented by: Sarah Navarro (Oregon Department of Forestry) and Norma Kline (OSU Extension)
January 29, 11am PT
Details & pre-registration info:

Did you miss any of the 2017 or 2018 webinars?  They are still available.  Follow the links below and you can binge watch them all!  Each webinar can be counted as 1-hour continuing education credit the first time it is viewed.

2017 Webinar recordings

2018 Webinar recordings

Winter at the Master Gardener Hotlines

Stephanie, Jane and Marie at the Clackamas phone clinic.

Winter is a great time to volunteer at the metro-area Master Gardener Hotlines.  We get a surprising number of questions from gardeners itching to get out in their gardens. The pace of questions is slower in the winter, so it is a good time to come in, acquaint yourself with the resource library, and maybe even do some detective work regarding your own garden quandaries. Shifts are available on CERVIS or you can email the following coordinators to help you sign-up.

Join-in the Master Gardener Speakers Guild!

Master Gardener, Evie, presenting to a group at the Learning Gardens Laboratory

Take your role as a garden educator to the next level, by volunteering to be a presenter for the Master Gardener Speakers Guild!

The Metro MG program receives dozens of requests every year for garden presentations to community groups.  We have a small, but mighty, group of MGs who answer the call and present throughout the 3 counties – but requests greatly exceed what these dedicated MGs can handle.  Therefore, we are looking for additional MGs to share their research-based gardening know-how.  We will supply support materials, and those interested can shadow experienced presenters.  Volunteers can also take advantage of a new 2019 workshop that will focus on strengthening presentation skills.  Volunteers can select how many presentations a year they would like to make and the topics they feel most comfortable presenting. Please consider joining in this fun, valuable volunteer activity!

Presentations are needed on a variety of subjects:

  • Beginning gardening
  • Vegetable gardening
  • Fruit trees
  • Pruning
  • Composting
  • Container Gardening
  • IPM for the Home Gardener
  • Small Fruits
  • Perennials
  • Planting
  • Soil
  • Beneficial insects
  • Pollinator gardens
  • Tomatoes
  • Small space gardening
  • Native plants
  • Seed starting
  • Propagation
  • What’s your garden passion that you are willing to share?

Would you like to be part of this vital community outreach?  If so, contact Marcia McIntyre,

Natter’s Notes

Helpful Books & Websites

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Research-based information underlies everything Master Gardeners do. But it’s challenging to keep up with all that when you’re scrambling to know where the information is. When you’re searching online for data, adding “site:edu” (without the quote marks) will limit the results list to information from educational institutions. Unfortunately, “site:edu” doesn’t guarantee accuracy, because people aren’t perfect. (Believe it or not, mistakes happen.)

Right now, you may be wondering who, or what, can you believe? Well, to increase the likelihood of passing on accurate information, always review and compare at least 3 of the search responses. If disparities exist, continue searching and/or ask someone who may be able to provide additional insights. Your goal is a “Teachable Moment” during which you accurately inform the public. No home remedies, even if one was suggested in a university publication.

To begin your research, realize that each metro MG Office has a list of pre-approved resources in the “Master Gardener Office Information” binder under Tab L, Helpful Books and Websites. Begin with the list’s Table of contents. Each section generally lists books first, then websites. Most cited books are in each MG Office.

Following is a brief sample from the final page: Five very common, annoyingly weedy plants that tend to run rampant in the northwest. Some have been declared invasive, others are on a watch list.

Arum, or Lords and Ladies (Arum italicum) Herbaceous perennial; green leaves marked w/ white; deep fleshy root w/ offsets; prolific seeder

Lesser Celandine (Fig buttercup; Ranunculus ficaria; formerly Ficaria vicaria; Ficaria verna)

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) An escaped shrubby herbaceous perennial with poisonous berries

Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) A woody Daphne escapee; seeds freely in northwest woodlands

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) Large, rapid-growing, a profuse seeder, with many root sprouts

Tree of Heaven

PDF Version:
Helpful Books and Websites

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

January 2019

Myth busting- Poinsettia plant is irritating but not fatal.  “The Bottom Line: The poinsettia plant is often considered deadly. That’s wrong. Poinsettia can be irritating but it is not fatal if eaten. If children and pets eat it, they can develop a mouth rash and stomach upset. The sap can cause a skin rash, too.” (Rose Ann Gould Soloway, Clinical Toxicologist & Serkalem Mekonnen, Certified Specialist in poison Information;

NEW OSU PUBLICATION: Pacific Poison Oak and Western Poison Ivy-Identification and Management. (Brooke Edmunds, et al; OSU)

Paranthrene simulans clearwing moth. University of Georgia

Night-flyers or day-trippers?  A new study sheds light on when moths, and butterflies are active. (Natalie van Hoose, Floridamuseum- U of Florida)

Learn about pheromone traps from the experts. “Pheromones are chemicals used by insects and other animals to communicate with each other. Insects send these chemical signals to help attract mates, warn others of predators, or find food.” (

Learn how plants evolved to make ants their servants.  “Plants are boring. They just sit there photosynthesizing while animals have all the fun. Right? Not so much. Take a look at the interactions between ants and plants.” (

How do trees survive winter months? (Michael Snyder, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation via

Gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to 100!  “Many of the world’s centenarians share one common hobby: gardening.” (Jamie Feldmar,

Is the insect apocalypse here?  And what does it mean for the rest of life on Earth?(Brooke Jarvi,

12 beautiful photo examples of Guttation.  “Guttation is the exudation of drops of sap (xylem) on the tips or edges of leaves of some vascular plants, such as grasses. Guttation is not to be confused with dew, which condenses from the atmosphere onto the plant surface.” (

Maple with winter injury. Jay Pscheidt, OSU

Winter injury of landscape plants in the pacific northwest.  Great info from OSU! (

Don’t think Arachnids are loving?  Learn about the spider who nurses its young with milky liquid. (

How to get rid of pantry pests.  Watch the video! (U of California IPM via

Christmas Cactus Confusion.  Did you get a Christmas Cactus or did you really get a Thanksgiving Cactus? (WOS,

Plant roots- hidden masters of chemistry.  Check out the infographic. (Lucas Busta, U of Nebraska via

Rare microbes lead scientists to discover new branch on the tree of life.  “Hemimastigotes are more different from all other living things than animals are from fungi.” (Emily Chung,

Fall leaves of Pin Oak, OSU Landscape Plant ID

“Ever wondered why some deciduous trees hold on to their leaves through the winter and others go bare? Learn about marcescent leaves and why they might just help a tree out.” (Jim Finley, Penn State via Jeffcogardener,  Colorado State Extension)

Rainforest vine compound reportedly starves pancreatic cancer cells. (

How chloroplasts maintain energy efficiency. (University of Hong Kong via

Mexico’s endangered stingless bees mysteriously find a sweeter home in Cuba. (Sadie Witkowski,

‘Insect soup’ holds DNA key for monitoring biodiversity. (University of East Anglia, via

Researchers find first evidence of DNA swapping between insects and mammals. (Clay Dillow,

Critical collections- The importance of biological samples and their preservation goes beyond the obvious. (Peter Reuell, Harvard Gazette)

Say What: Pronouncing Botanical Latin (Rebecca Alexander,

Photosynthesis makes a sound.  The ping of algae turning sunlight into energy adds to the soundscape of marine ecosystems. (Sarah Keartes,

Scientists Develop World’s First Vaccination For Insects To Help Save Honey Bees. “Scientists have developed a new edible vaccine to help honeybees stave off potentially deadly bacterial infections. This is the very first “inoculation” designed specifically for insects.” (Rosie McCall,

PDF 2019 January Horticultural Updates