Sunshining through branches of beech tree, illuminating call colors of leaves

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree. ~Emily Bronte

Photo: Pixabay

October brings the start of a new year for metro-area OSU Master Gardeners!  As we look forward to a promising year full of fresh opportunities to educate the gardening public, we also look back at a tremendous year filled with your generous community service!

Thank you for your Volunteer Log Submissions!  Utmost thanks to all of you who have sent in your volunteer log sheets via the online submission, email, snail mail, or in person.  We are continually in awe of your dedicated service and the good seeds and deeds you have been sowing throughout the three counties!  Thank you for sharing your passion and gardening knowledge with the community!   

It’s Not Too Late…Submit your Volunteer Log!  For those of you, who have not submitted your volunteer log sheets, please send in your hours by Thursday, October 11th

We need all logs by that date to allow time to order new Master Gardener badges for those finishing their MG training and to have enough 2020 stickers for Perennial MGs and trainees alike.  Plus, we want to include your generous service contributions in the report sent to the state MG Program, which in turn is submitted to Oregon State University!   Help us to highlight all the great garden education Metro Master Gardeners are spreading throughout the tri-county region!

Signed, Sealed and Delivered!
Remember that every October you need to submit a signed Conditions of Volunteer Service form.  The form is a requirement for volunteering.  You can submit your signed form via DocuSign, use our online submission process (see details in the email Marcia McIntyre sent on September 5) or you can mail your signed form via snail mail to 200 Warner-Milne Drive, Oregon City, OR 97045.

To send your forms via DocuSign, please request a DocuSign form from

For your convenience:

Save the Date!
Fall Recertification, Saturday, November 9th!

Cup of tea sitting on a book - with autumn leaves in the tea and leaves on the book.

Our annual Master Gardener Fall Recertification Training is scheduled for Saturday, November 9th, 8:00am to 3:50pm, at Clackamas Community College, Gregory Forum Building. 

This annual event is a daylong continuing education opportunity.  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

The event is free to all Master Gardeners both Perennial and those who trained in 2019.

*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.

Master Gardener proudly points at his OSU Master Gardener badge that is pinned to his shirt.

2019 Master Gardener Trainees to Receive OSU MG Badges!

Our November 9th, Fall Recertification Training (see details above) also gives us the opportunity to congratulate the 2019 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 mailed to those not present in December.

Branch with olives hanging from the branch

OSU Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars
This fall brings two more, informative, Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars.

Each webinar counts as 1-hour continuing education credit.  Recordings of the webinars are posted a couple of days following the live webinar.

Introduction to Olives in Oregon
October 24, 11am PT
Presented by Victoria Binning and Heather Stoven (OSU Extension)
Register here:

What Can a Leaf Bud Tell Us About Environmental Change? Citizen Science, Master Gardeners and Nature’s Notebook.
November 8, 10am PT
Presented by Erin Posthumus (USA National Phenology Network)
Register here:

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. 

MG HelplinesGuide home gardeners through the fall and winter season!   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.

Fall Volunteer Opportunities

  • Portland Nursery Apple Tasting – festive fun celebrating the apple!  Answer home gardeners’ questions at the MG table, under the big tent. October 12, 13, 19, 20, various shifts. Sign up on CERVIS
  • City of Portland, Safety Conference – answer home gardeners questions and offer advice on fire resistant gardening, IPM, pesticide safety, and safe garden practices at the City of Portland event being held at Camp Withycombe, Clackamas, OR Grab an open slot on CERVIS
  • Fix-it Fair – FREE City of Portland event where attendees learn simple ways to save money and connect to resources. Answer home gardening questions and give money saving tips for home gardeners.  Sign-up on CERVIS
  • Farmers Markets – opportunities to volunteer at a Farmers Market remain for Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsdale, Lake Oswego, Lents and Tigard.  Sign-up on CERVIS

Timely October Garden tips

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

Watch leaves change color in a matter of seconds.  “A new time-lapse video of over 6,000 leaf photos reveals the biology behind fall foliage.  As foliage darkens in the fall, the pigments within the plant matter break down and transform.” (Emily Toomey,

Find out where the fall foliage will be at its peak across the country.(Natalie B. Compton,

How Plants Measure Their CO2 Uptake.  “Plants face a dilemma in dry conditions: they have to seal themselves off to prevent losing too much water but this also limits their uptake of carbon dioxide. A sensory network assures that the plant strikes the right balance.

Watch the four finalist videos in the 2019 YouTube your entomology contest.(

Exposed tree roots.
Exposed tree roots. Michael Hoelzl/ Creative Commons

Great Tree Root articles with links to resources: SelecTree: Right tree right place. (selectree.calpoly)

Tree roots and foundation damage. (The Morton

Trees are not the root of sidewalk problems. (T. Davis Sydnor1, et al; Journal of Arboriculture)

Soil’s Microbial Market Shows the Ruthless Side of Forests.  “In the ‘underground economy’ for soil nutrients, fungi strike hard bargains and punish plants that won’t meet their price.” (Gabriel Popkin,

Daisies that close at night have camouflaged petals to protect them from herbivores. (

Professional credentials and gardening expertise: Entomologists (Colby Moorberg, More info:

Tree and shrub sampling for disease diagnosis.  Watch the video and learn  what makes a good sample for diagnosis.” (NC State U via

A brown rat eating seeds from ground.
Rat, OSU

Tips for keeping rats out of home and garden. (Kym Pokorny, OSU; source: Dana Sanchez, OSU)

Could biological clocks in plants set the time for crop spraying?  “Plants can tell the time, and this affects their responses to certain herbicides used in agriculture according to new research…” (Dr. Antony Dodd, University of Bristol)

See the microscopic wonders of herbs!  “A photographer reveals the intricacies of kitchen herbs. The result is otherworldly.” (Rob Dunn,; photos by Martin Oeggerli)

European honey bee, gathering pollen from flower, with large, light yellow pollen sacks on hind legs.
European Honey bee, University of Florida

Surprise…bees need meat!Ask an entomologist what makes a bee a bee, and you’ll likely get some version of “bees are just wasps that went vegetarian.” New research shows that isn’t true. Bees are actually omnivores, and their meat is microbes.” (Paige Embry,

The journey of pollen.  “Kiel research team deciphers adhesive mechanisms in pollination.” (Kiel University)

Western Red Cedars Dying

Jean R. Natter, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Failing trees have been a persistent topic in MG Clinics and on the online Ask an Expert service during the past 6 or 7 years. Overall, it’s been an issue of continuing higher than normal temperatures combined with less than normal rainfall. Then, too, few homeowners realize that the continuing heat and drought affects their landscape trees in spite of being watered with the lawn sprinklers.

Fig 1 (right): Western red cedar, Thuja plicata, with thinning crowns most likely due to climate changes and continuing drought. (“Why is My Tree Dying? – Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)” – April 2019;

In order for trees to thrive, they should be irrigated separately from grass, with at least one watering to about 10 inches deep to the soil below the canopy every 3 weeks during our dry season. Indications of a water deficit is revealed by multiple signs and symptoms, among them wilted leaves; leaves with curled and/or dry edges; early fall color; leaf yellowing and early leaf drop.

Foresters have been puzzled by problems with Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) which normally do well on moist sites. The most recent thought is that these trees are finally succumbing to stress from many successive years of heat and drought stress.

Several recent Ask an Expert responses have noted “We are getting many reports of western redcedars dying this year, and the consensus seems to be that the combination of extreme heat and drought experienced since around 2013 through last summer is an important factor. Although this summer was mild, it often takes a year or so for a tree to show any signs of distress from drought.”

Another expert, in a response to a different client, said it this way: “Western redcedar are dying in some areas due to a complex of climate stress and other issues, with no clear primary agent of mortality.”

Two Western Red Cedars at the Oregon State University campus

Fig 2 (right): Two healthy Western red cedars (Thuja plicata) on the Oregon State University campus, southeast of Fairbanks Hall. ( OSU Landscape Plants;

In general, the foresters responding through Ask an Expert are including a link to a publication released in April 2019: “Why is My Tree Dying? – Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)” which, in summary, states:

Top-dieback, branch mortality, crown thinning and whole-tree mortality in all ages of western redcedar has [sic] been observed recently at lower elevations in the Willamette Valley and beyond. Although it is common to see ‘spiked’ or dead tops in older western redcedar, usually there are living lateral branches and a functional crown. No single factor has been identified in these more recent die offs, but a combination of poor or unsustainable growing conditions may be to blame. Redcedar may simply be growing in areas or within microclimates outside of their preferred range or areas that are no longer sustainable for long-term growth under current climate conditions.

Then, too, it suggests that alternate species for red cedar on generally dry sites include incense cedar, sequoia, and big leaf maple; on more moist sites which don’t dry out in the summer, western white pine, maple, alder, ash, or cottonwood.


– Abiotic Disorders of Landscape Plants” (#3420 UCANR); pages 51-59. A copy is in each of the metro MG offices.

“Thuja plicata (Western Red Cedar)” outlines a basic description of this native conifer (50-70 feet, or more) which thrives in sun to part shade on moist soils, with numerous images of a healthy tree.

– “Why is My Tree Dying? – Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata)” – April 2019 –

– “Pruning Drought Stressed Shade Trees” encourages caution to remove as little wood as possible from a stressed tree, in part because it already has limited reserves, with precious little remaining to “spend” on otherwise unneeded wound repair.