old pear tree
starlings announce
harvest time

–  Philip Noble

Our Annual Harvest (of volunteer service hours that is!)

It is that time of year when we are busy harvesting in our gardens, whether herbs, fruit, vegetables, or flowers. For OSU Master Gardener volunteers, it is also time to gather and record your hours of volunteer service and submit your volunteer log sheet, prior to the October 1st deadline.

This year Metro-area Master Gardeners have made tremendous contributions educating and supporting home gardeners, and we want to share the news!

The October 1st deadline allows the metro MG program office enough time to compile and share your significant contributions, with the state Master Gardener program and OSU Extension Service.

Help us get those statistics to the state level by recording and submitting your hours this month!  We will celebrate and share the grand totals at our Fall Recertification Training.  See the article below for reporting details.

Online MG Volunteer Reporting System

We have an updated online volunteer reporting system to ease the process of submitting your volunteer hours and signed 2019-2020 Conditions of Volunteer Service form.

To report using the online system – follow the links sent to you in an email that was sent from Marcia McIntyre on September 5th

The online system prompts you through several questions to record your volunteer hours, provides a special email in which to send your volunteer log sheet, plus the options to send your yearly Conditions of Volunteer Service via mail, email or DocuSign!

You still need to record your volunteer hours onto a Word, Excel or PDF form – but now you can upload those hours via the online system.

NOTE:  You can refer to your CERVIS log to track your hours – but you also need to log all CERVIS hours on your volunteer log sheet.  Most “Program” hours are recorded in CERVIS.  “Partner” events and activities are not recorded in CERVIS (this includes Chapter events, plant sale support, Chapter demonstration/education garden volunteer service).  Be sure to record all your volunteer hours and continuing education hours on your log sheet.

A special thank you to those who have already submitted your hours!  Great going, early birds!

For those of you who are still seeking Recertification/continuing education or volunteer opportunities look for some great opportunities below.

How to Maintain Master Gardener Certification

Need a refresher on how to maintain your Master Gardener certification?  Here you can find the details.  Whether you are a 2019 trainee or a Perennial MG, to continue to serve as a “current” OSU Master Gardener you must submit an annual, signed Conditions of Volunteer Service form, which can be signed via DocuSign (see article above and email received from Marcia McIntyre on September 5th). 

Fun fall Farmers Market volunteer opportunities, sign-up on CERVIS!

3 OSU Master Gardeners at the Rocky Butte Farmers Market, talking to client

Fall is a wonderful time to volunteer at area Farmers Markets, as autumn produce lines the aisles and seasonal home gardening questions abound.

Opportunities to volunteer at a Farmers Market remain for Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsdale, Lake Oswego, Lents, and Tigard.  Grab an open slot on CERVIS

Guide home gardeners through the fall and winter season!

2 Master Gardeners sitting in Master Gardener helpline clinic, look at a large branch with leaves, as a client leans over and points at the branch.

As the days shorten and the temperatures cool, a new host of gardening conundrums perplex the home gardener. You can assist and expand your own knowledge, collaborating with other MGs as you research and advise gardeners.  Sign-up on CERVIS or contact a phone coordinator.

Save the Date!  Saturday, November 9th – FALL RECERTIFICATION! 

Metallic bee (bright green) on orange cone flower

Our annual Master Gardener Fall Recertification Training is scheduled for Saturday, November 9th, 8:00am to 3:45pm, at Clackamas Community College.  This annual event is a daylong continuing education opportunity.  Earn 6 hours of continuing education/recertification credit by attending.

Photo: Oregon State University

Please join us for an engaging day of training that will support you in your role as a garden educator.

‘A Diverse Garden is a Healthy Garden – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in your role as an OSU Master Gardener volunteer.’  Presenters: Yolando Sánchez, Jeff Selby, and Koffie Dessou of the City of Portland, Office of Equity and Human Rights

‘How trees grow and why they die!’ Presenter: Glenn Ahrens, OSU Extension Forester, Clackamas, Hood River, and Marion Counties

‘Is the Insect Apocalypse Upon Us?’ Presenter: Gail Langellotto, Statewide Coordinator, OSU Extension Master Gardener Program, Associate Professor of Horticulture, OSU

*Attendance and participation at the November 9th, Fall Recertification Training counts as 6 hours continuing education credit for the 2019-2020 Master Gardener Volunteer Season.  Record your attendance on your 2020 Volunteer Log.

2019 Master Gardener Trainees to Receive OSU MG Badges

2018 Master Gardener gives thumbs up as she proudly wears her OSU Master Gardener badge

Our November 9th, Fall Recertification Training (see details above) also gives us the opportunity to congratulate the new class of Master Gardener interns as they step-up to Perennial Master Gardener status, after completing their volunteer requirements.

2019 Interns are cordially invited to attend the full day of Fall Recertification training, which will count toward your continuing education hour requirement for 2020.  If you are unable to attend Fall Recertification to receive your badge, it will be mail to those not present in December.

Welcome Leah and Catalina!

Leah Sundquist and Catalina Santamaria

We want to introduce you to two new faces at the Clackamas County Extension Office (where our MG program team is located). 

Photo: Leah (left) and Catalina (right).

Leah Sundquist is the new Clackamas Co. Extension Office Manager.  Leah joins the Extension team after a 35-year career in the U.S. Army, where her final years of service included roles as the Chief of Staff and Director of Plans and Operations for the Oregon National Guard in Salem.  When asked about her experience with gardening, Leah shares that she is proud to be nurturing her office ‘welcome gift’ jade plant, the past 3 and a half months, with the plant showing nary a sign of distress.  She is nurturing an olive tree with hopes that, if it survives, she can reward herself by purchasing another one!

Catalina Santamaria joined our Extension team in July, as Office Specialist in the front office.  A portion of Catalina’s time will be supporting the Master Gardener and 4-H program.  We are excited that Catalina is joining our MG team. Catalina will be coordinating the Clackamas County MG office helpline and working alongside the MG team.  Catalina shares that her exposure to gardening started as a young child, as her father grew many plants at home.  She recalls many cyclamen and African violets brightening her childhood home.

Please join us in extending a warm, Master Gardener welcome to both Leah and Catalina! 

September Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars

Here comes another great Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinar, offered on Tuesday, September 17th, 11am.

cherries on branch of cherry tree

Are Viruses Lurking in Your Backyard Cherries?
Presented by Lauri Lutes (OSU Botany and Plant Pathology PhD student)
Register here:

Join Lauri Lutes, PhD Candidate in OSU’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, as she shares what she has learned studying viruses and diseases to which cherries are susceptible in Oregon.  Lauri will share disease prevention and management for cherries in your home garden.  She will also cover how to choose the best tree, common virus symptom identification, and virus vector (insect and nematode) management.

If you are unable to watch the webinar live, check back in a couple of days at the 2019 Advanced Training Webinar page, where a recording of the webinar will be posted.

More Advanced Training Webinars

The OSU Advanced Training Webinars are a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest in horticultural science.   This series features University experts who offer a wealth of research-based information on home gardening topics, which support you in your role as a garden educator.   Check out the great library of webinar recordings.

2019 Advanced Training Webinars

2018 Advanced Training Webinars

2017 Advanced Training Webinars

*MG Advanced Training Webinars count as 1-hour continuing education credit.  You may count any webinar, from any year, that you watch for the first time. List any Advanced Training Webinars that you view on your Volunteer Log Sheet. 

Create Gardens Accessible to All!

raised garden bed with leafy vegetables, a wheel barrel alongside the raised bed. The wheel barrel is filled with plants.

‘Gardening is one of the more therapeutic things a person can do – emotionally, mentally and physically – but for some it seems out of reach. Good design and the practices can make a gardening accessible for everyone.’

Fellow Metro-area, OSU Master Gardener, Corinne Thomas-Kersting, shares some great recommendations for universal garden design in this article ‘Create Gardens Accessible to All’, by OSU Extension Communications Specialist Kym Pokorny.

Gardening Tips for Fall

For your viewing pleasure, we will reprise two great videos with tips for timely gardening activities.

Natter’s Notes

Found in OR: A Native Squash Bee

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

female squash bee scopa square jaw, in center of squash flower, legs covered with powdery yellow pollen

This month, let’s talk about a friendly “first record” for Oregon. Instead of a new pest, it’s a native bee previously thought not to be in OR: the squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, collected for the first time in southern Oregon during 2018.

Fig 1: Female squash bee (above image); numerous pollen grains clinging to the scopa (pollen-collecting hairs) on hind leg of female squash bee; also notice her squared-jaw. (https://bugguide.net/node/view/1420105/bgimage)

Thanks for the effective sampling goes to citizen scientists collecting native bees for a survey sponsored by the recently formed Oregon Bee Atlas (OBA). A second sample was acquired later on, again in southern Oregon. 

The Oregon Bee Atlas (OBA) represents the first steps towards gathering and organizing knowledge about our state’s native bees. The OBA’s mission (2018-2021) is to train citizen scientists (committed volunteers) to identify the many native bees known to reside in the state, and to seek new native bee records for the state. After a species checklist has been created, periodic follow-up surveys will be able to determine whether the numbers and health of Oregon bees is improving or declining.

As a result of finding these two bees, the OBA has issued a “squash bee call to action.”

Now that we “have two confirmed samples,” they say, “it would be great to get a map this year of the extent to which these bees have spread through Oregon – even negative results are welcome” In other words, OBA would like its volunteers start looking specifically for squash bees.

This is a project perfect for early risers. Volunteers need to go out early – dawn — before the flowers open, and manually unfurl the flowers.

[Currently, it’s thought likely that squash bees won’t be in the northern part of the Willamette Valley. But who knows? Nature may surprise us.]

The OBA Protocol for locating squash bees:

1. Early in the morning, open mature flowers of the larger flowered Cucurbita species and count the squash bees inside. These are male bees.

2. Only survey zucchini, pumpkin, and other large flowered squashes. Not cucumbers or small flowered plants. 

3. Take photos (clear, focused) of the flowers with squash bees.

4. Record how many squash bees you find in the flowers, collect the bees, then preserve them in rigid containers in your freezer until you contact me (j.r.natter@aol.com). I‘ll forward your documentation to the OBA.

5. OBA also requests you record the date and time of the collection; your name; the address; latitude; longitude; the flower (pumpkin; squash, etc.); and the number of squash bees in each.

Female honey bee, Apis mellifera, common in landscapes and gardens country-wide.

Differentiating between squash bees and the more common honey bees will be easy. The two bees are about the same size, but the abdomens of squash bees (Fig. 1) are marked with well-defined white bands whereas honey bee abdomens aren’t. (Fig.2)

Fig 2: Female honey bee (above image), Apis mellifera, common in landscapes and gardens country-wide. (https://bugguide.net/node/view/1364844)


Video: “Journey of the Squash Bees” (UC Davis) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAQVNl0C-H0

Video: “Squash Bee Natural History” (UC Davis) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WobQObH4oDE

“The Bees in Your Backyard” (Wilson & Carril; Princeton University Press; 2016; pages 224-225.)

Images of squash bees, Peponapis pruinosa. (https://bugguide.net/node/view/83553/bgimage)

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

Femail samurai wasp lays egg in mass of Brown Marmorated Stick Bug - Photo credit: Chris Hedstrom - Oregon Department of Agriculture

Researchers determine ideal areas and timing for biological control of invasive stink bug.  (Chris Branam, OSU; source:David Lowenstein, OSU) https://bit.ly/2KBiR38

Image: Female samurai wasp lays egg in mass of BMSB- Chris Hedstrom-ODA.jpg

Linden (Tilia cordata) associated bumble bee mortality: Metabolomic analysis of nectar and bee muscle study. (Clair Lande, et al; plos.org) https://bit.ly/2KASrhX

Tobacco plant ‘stickiness’ aids helpful insects, plant health. While not a crop we have here in Oregon, it is an interesting read. (Mick Kulikowski, NC State U) https://bit.ly/2H5h18i

Carbon dioxide and oxygen exchange at the soil-atmosphere boundary as affected by various mulch materials. “Mulching is a common soil management technique used in agricultural, nursery, and landscape settings. Despite multiple benefits, such as reducing weeds and evaporation, some mulches can also hinder gas exchange across the soil-atmosphere interface, and thus may have negative impacts on plant growth.(KhurramShahzad, et al; sciencedirect.com) https://bit.ly/2z0TAJ4

How spiders increase plant diversity. If healthy ecosystems are what we desire, we must embrace predators. There is no way around it. Because of their meat-based diets, predators can have serious effects on plant diversity. Generally speaking, as plant diversity increases, so does the biodiversity of that region.” (Indefenseofplants.com) https://bit.ly/31oTdUH

The world faces ‘pollinator collapse’? How and why the media get the science wrong time and again.”  Interesting piece on a controversial subject. (Jon Entine, Geneticliteracyproject.org)  https://bit.ly/2Pc65wn

Using flowers, leaves, twigs, and seeds, Canadian artist Raku Inoue creates intricate portraits of insects. Beautiful photos. (Daniel Stone, nationalgeographic.com) https://on.natgeo.com/2Y8Z4R1

Killer wasps invade central Oregon.  “…these wasps infest wherever cicadas have settled, because the females need them for their larvae.” (KPND.com)https://bit.ly/2TDzazi

Surprising genetic diversity in old growth trees.  “Many trees are often superbly capable of adapting to local conditions. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia have provided some insights into the genetic mechanisms that may underpin such adaptive potential.” (Indefenseofplants.com)https://bit.ly/2OxMI0n

Do ladybugs help your garden grow? Depends on the surroundings. (Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell U) https://bit.ly/2KBj46q

The surprising history and science of Poison Ivy and its relatives.  “Do you think of poison ivy as a scurrilous weed to be avoided at all costs? Think again! There was a time when the daring and curious found promise in poison ivy and its rash-inducing relatives.”   (Jane E. Boyd & Joseph Rucker, sciencehistory.org) https://bit.ly/31Cr7W1

Dead cedar tree

Western Oregon conifers continue to show damage due to drought. (Kym Pokorny, OSU; Source: Dave Shaw, OSU) https://bit.ly/2H8agTr

Image: Dead Cedar tree, Dave Shaw, OSU

Can a dead tree help a neighboring tree?Trees are commonly regarded as distinct entities, but the roots of many species fuse to form natural root grafts allowing the exchange of water, carbon, mineral nutrients, and microorganisms between individuals.” (M.K.-F. Bader & S. Leuzinger, Iscience)  https://bit.ly/2MfZiPG

Managing plant pests with soaps. “A topic frequently discussed by home gardeners and professionals is the use of soap products to control plant pests. Limited and conflicting information on this topic has resulted in confusion and misuse of products. This document describes some of the different types of soaps and recommendations for proper, legal, and safe use of these products to manage pests.” (Matthew A. Borden and Adam G. Dale, UFL)https://bit.ly/33yaQmW

Ants that defend plants receive sugar and protein. (Peter Moon, agencia) https://bit.ly/2XU3INz

Viral disease progress of blueberry shock video. Watch it! (Jay Pscheidt, OSU) https://bit.ly/2z4AkKp

NASA has announced the first fruit they’ll grow on the ISS, And it’s hot. “Researchers are hoping to send up Española chili pepper plants (Capsicum annuum), which could make peppers the very first fruit to be grown in space by US astronauts.” (Jacinta Bowler,sciencealert.com) https://bit.ly/31H3KuB

‘Moon trees’ might just be one of the most epic Apollo legacies we’ve heard of.  “On 31 January 1971, the Apollo 14 mission launched from Earth and spent nine days in space. Along with the necessary space gear, scientific equipment, and two golf balls, the Kitty Hawk command module was also housing 500 seeds. You might be surprised to know that those seeds live on today, despite enduring space radiation, and a decontamination mishap.” (Jacinta Bowler, sciencealert.com)https://bit.ly/2z0umdC

The windscreen phenomenon: anecdata is not scientific evidence. “The windscreen phenomenon refers to people’s perception that there are fewer insects being splattered on their windscreen than they used to see. It is one of the most common anecdotes presented as evidence of global insect decline in the Insectageddon stories. But anecdotes are not scientific evidence. Anecdotes describe local conditions, not globally-relevant facts.” (Manu Saunders, ecologyisnotadirtyword.com) https://bit.ly/2YLnUGR

Bright, blue hydrangea bloom. Photo credit: Chris Branam, OSU

Guide to pruning Hydrangeas-differences you need to know. (Raymond Bosmans, Professor Emeritus, UMD) https://bit.ly/2KxIX74

Image: Blue Hydrangea, Chris Branam, OSU

How Dracula orchids lure flies for pollination.With over 28,000 species of orchid, it seems like there’s an orchid for every niche. The Dracula orchid’s niche is mimicking a mushroom.” (Alun Salt, botany.one) https://bit.ly/2Twwcwi

Cockroaches are rapidly evolving to become “almost impossible” to kill.  “The rise of the superbug cockroach is upon us. A new study has found that German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) are rapidly evolving to become resistant to many widely used bug sprays and insecticides, as well as chemicals they’ve never been directly exposed to, making them near-impossible to eliminate and one step closer to taking over the world.” (Tom Hale, iflscience.com) https://bit.ly/2FMGBOZ

Long term problems with Tree Gators?  Read what an expert has to say.(Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU) https://bit.ly/2ZZuOVo

A legendary Ozark chestnut tree, thought extinct, is rediscovered.   “The chinquapin was supposed to have been wiped out by blight. Now one determined Missouri naturalist is hand-pollinating trees in secret groves to bring it back.” (Robert Langellier, nationalgeographic.com) https://on.natgeo.com/2YMxVU9

Insect repellent fact sheets.  The term “insect repellent” doesn’t accurately reflect how these materials work. They don’t actually repel insects, but rather block the receptors that mosquitoes, gnats, punkies, no-see-ums and other insects use to detect appropriate hosts for them to bite.” (UNH Extension) https://bit.ly/33y4ZxV

Using coffee ground in gardens and landscapes. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU) https://bit.ly/2lZuWoS

10+ bad*ss trees that refused to die even at the harshest conditions. Amazing photos. (InfoLAJM.org) https://bit.ly/33y53xF