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

Asian Giant Hornet, WSDA

Pest Alert: Asian Giant Hornet-This month, [December] WSDA entomologists identified a large hornet found near the Canadian border as an Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), an invasive species not previously found in Washington State.”

Researchers discover a potential window for managing insects without chemicals. (Simon Fraser University)

Houseplant Problems- A diagnostic guide. (Paul C. Pecknold, Purdue University)

When good plants go bad-some native plants can behave as invasive species. (American Society for Horticultural Science via

Video: The Life of Blister Beetles.(Insect Worlds, Episode 3 Preview, BBC Four via youtube)

Vanilla is anything but Vanilla. (Indefenseofplants)

Introduction to Abiotic Disorders in Plants​​-Great detailed info! (Megan Kennelly, Judith O’Mara, Cary Rivard-Kansas State; G. Lee Miller, U of Missouri; Damon Smith, U of Wisconsin-Madison; American Phytopathological Society)

Woodpecker damage, OSU, PNW Handbook

Woodpeckers: Friends or Foes? (Bec Wolfe-Thomas,

Oregon Small Farm News publication. (Oregon State University)

UK insects struggling to find a home make a bee-line for foreign plants. “Non-native plants are providing new homes for Britain’s insects – some of which are rare on native plants, a new study has found.” (University of York)

Video: Travel deep inside a leaf – Annotated Version. (California Academy of Sciences via YouTube)

Spotted Wing Drosopila, Vaughn Walton OSU

“This has been one of the worst years’- Oregon farmers are losing billions to fruit flies.” (Kelsey Christensen and staff via

Natter’s Notes

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

The Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) Eradication Project

Because Japanese beetles (Popillia japonica) typically feed in groups, they can decimate their host plants in short order. Roses are a particular favorite. (Image downloaded 2017-02-06:

The Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica) Eradication Project of the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) issued its most recent update in late 2019.

Overall, 95% of you [within the quarantine boundary] consented to treatment this year. With your help we treated 8,500 residences, 6 schools, 8 parks, 3 shopping centers, and 1 golf course. This came out to roughly 3,000 acres.

This year we trapped 7,749 Japanese beetles in the Cedar mill area. The overall number of beetles trapped in 2019 was a 56% reduction from the previous year. There was a 65% reduction in the number of beetles trapped within the 2018 treatment boundary as a result of the 2018 granular treatment and 2019 foliar treatment. We saw a 75% decrease within the boundaries of the supplementary foliar treatment.

In order to eradicate this pest, we will continue our treatment next season. We are thrilled with our success, and will be more aggressive with our approach next year while we have the upper hand. We are currently planning a larger treatment boundary for the 2020 eradication and will update everyone soon with the new map. We thank you all for your continued support with helping Oregon eradicate Japanese beetle.  It wouldn’t be possible without all of you!

We would also like to introduce the 2020 Japanese beetle team: Ashley Toland (Eradication Entomologist), Jessica Rendon (Japanese Beetle Eradication Specialist), and Austin Johnson (Japanese Beetle Outreach Coordinator). 

For more information on the Japanese beetle eradication project please visit our website:

New exotic Agrilus species beetle on twinberry in Portland

During 2019, a new exotic beetle was reported by the Oregon Forest Pest Detector (OFPD) program.

In May, an OFPD program graduate submitted a report to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline after finding D-shaped exit holes and a green insect on a twinberry in her yard in southeast Portland. She recognized the signs as characteristic of insects in the genus Agrilus, which includes the bronze birch borer (A. anxius) and the deadly forest pest, emerald ash borer (A. planipennis).

Evidence of new exotic beetles (Agrilus cyanescens) attacking twinberry, a native honeysuckle, were found by citizen scientists in their Portland, OR, gardens during 2019. Fortunately, the beetles are not expected to become serious economic pests. But if you see the characteristic damage, report it to Invasive Species. (Image Camden, New Jersey, 2019:

The green insect she found was later identified as Agrilus cyanescens, an exotic beetle that has been established in the eastern U.S. since the 1920s, but this is the first detection in the Pacific Northwest. (

Then, in early August 2019, another OFPD graduate submitted a report to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline after she noticed similar damage to a twinberry in her yard in northeast Portland. This was also later confirmed to also be Agrilus cyanescens. (

Known host plants in U.S. and Europe include those in the genus Lonicera (honeysuckles) including the native plant, twinberry (Lonicera involucrata Richardson). The Oregon Department of Agriculture does not believe Agrilus cyanescens will be an economic, ecological, or horticultural pest.

But, if you do notice any signs or symptoms of Agrilus cyanescens (branch dieback; 2 mm. D-shaped exit holes; serpentine-shaped galleries beneath the bark; and metallic green beetles feeding on leaves in April-May), we encourage you to submit a report. (  

The OFPD program trains volunteers to monitor for and report potential infestations of invasive forest pests. Thank you to these two Oregon Forest Pest Detector graduates for being on the lookout and submitting reports to the Oregon Invasive Species Hotline!  Details about the OFPD training program of citizen scientists are at

Snow drop flowers emerging through snow.

“Green thoughts emerge from some deep source of stillness which the very fact of winter has released.” – Mirabel Osler

With thoughts of spring, now’s the time to consider how you would like to serve and grow this gardening season in your role as an OSU Master Gardener.  Will it be at our many community service events or expanding your gardening know-how through continuing education opportunities?

Now is a good time to sign-up for our Master Gardener office helplines (via CERVIS,).  Farmers Market schedules open over the next several weeks, so please check back if the event you are looking for has yet to be posted.

It is also the perfect time to help welcome and usher in the new class of Master Gardener trainees.  Come sit in on one of the MG training sessions (here’s the schedule).  Introduce yourself to a trainee.  Learn what interests brought them to our training program. Share your passion for gardening and the Master Gardener program with those new to the program.

2020 Trainees, stay tuned, you will be receiving details regarding volunteering during week #6 and #7.

2020 Master Gardener Training Underway!

The last week in January marked the start of our 2020 metro-area OSU Master Gardener training as we welcomed 200 new Master Gardener trainees!  Over the span of 8 weeks, we will cover a wide range of core home gardening topics presented by stellar group of horticulture experts.  Perennial favorite instructors are joining the 2020 training…Margaret Bayne, Sally Campbell, Jane Collier, Claudia Groth, Monica Maggio, Weston Miller, and Jean R. Natter. In addition, we are thrilled to have four OSU Extension faculty members from neighboring counties joining us…Neil Bell, Chip Bubl, Brooke Edmunds, Heather Stoven.

Each AM or PM session attended counts as 3 hours of continuing education credit for 2020.

For those perennial Master Gardeners, who attend training class, please take the time to say hello to new trainees and welcome them to the Master Gardener program.

The training sites and days are:

Tuesdays, February 4 – March 17, 9AM to 4PM
Hillsboro United Methodist Church, 168 NE 8th Avenue, Hillsboro

Thursdays, February 6 – March 19, 9AM to 4PM
Museum of the Oregon Territory, Museum of the Oregon Territory 3rd floor- 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City

Fridays, February 7 – March 20, 9AM to 4PM
Multnomah County Headquarters, Multnomah County Headquarters – 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland

‘A Diverse Garden is a Healthy Garden’
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in your role as an OSU Master Gardener volunteer.’  

Understand the concepts of diversity, equity and inclusion. Learn skills to recognize unconscious bias and build skills to practice inclusive and equitable principles in community engagement.

This year our metro area OSU Master Gardener program will be hosting four Diversity, Equity and Inclusion trainings facilitated by the City of Portland, Office of Equity and Human Rights. The first three trainings will take place during week #4 of Master Gardener training at all three class locations, with the forth training taking place at our Spring Recertification training.

  • Tuesday, February 18, 2020 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the Master Gardener training class in Hillsboro
  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the Master Gardener training class in Oregon City
  • Friday, February 21, 2020 from 9:00am – 12:00pm at the Master Gardener training class in SE Portland
  • Saturday, May 16, 2020 from 9:00am to 12:00pm at Spring Recertification, Clackamas Community College (Gregory Forum). Doors open at 8:00am

Register to secure a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training class slot! To accommodate Perennial Master Gardeners at the February Diversity, Equity and Inclusion MG training classes – we will be sending out an email to register for a class slot.  Perennial MGs look for the email invitation from Marcia McIntyre on Tuesday, February 11th

Attending this class fulfills the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training requirement for the metro area OSU Master Gardener Program.

Attendance at one of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion trainings is required to be a certified metro-area OSU Master Gardener, beyond September 30, 2020.  To receive credit for attending, be sure to sign-in at the training you attend.

2020 Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars

Hand holds I-pad which has a photo of kale and the title 'Garden Ecology Lab'.
Photo: OSU, Garden Ecology Lab

A stellar line-up of Master Gardener Advanced Training webinars are in store for the coming year.  Produced by OSU Extension’s Brooke Edmunds, these informative webinars have become a favorite go-to resource for Master Gardener continuing education. The webinars are open and free to all.

One hour of continuing garden education can be counted for each webinar viewed.  If you can not view the webinar live – please check back to the webinar website a few days later to watch a recording.

Updates from the Garden Ecology Lab (2020 edition!)
Presented by: Dr. Gail Langellotto
March 17th at 10am PT
Pre-register here:

Gardening with Native Plants and the OregonFlora Project
Presented by: Dr. Linda Hardison
April 21st at 10am PT
Pre-register here:

Winter Squash Research at OSU
Presented by: Dr. Alex Stone and Lane Selman
May 19th at 10am PT
Pre-register here:

Solve Pest Problems: A New Resource for Master Gardeners and the Public
Presented by: Weston Miller
July 16th at 10am PT
Pre-register here:

Additional webinars will be posted on the webinar website as they are scheduled – so check back.

February at the Master Gardener Helplines

Two Master Gardeners in an OSU Master Gardener helpline office look at an Office Information Binder

February is a great time to volunteer at the metro-area Master Gardener office helplines.  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 for Perennial MGs on CERVIS or you can email the following coordinators to help you sign-up. 2020 Interns will have the opportunity to sign-up for MG helplines after Week #7 of MG training class.

Supporting the OSU Master Gardener Program through Chapter Membership

The metro-area OSU Master Gardener program has three vital and active Chapters (associations).  Each Chapter is part of the Oregon Master Gardeners Association, which was formed to support the OSU Master Gardener program. 

With the start of a New Year, our three metro-area Chapters have been accepting membership renewals.  Chapter membership is optional and not required to maintain active Master Gardener status. Many choose Chapter membership for the added benefits that these OSU Master Gardener supporting associations provide.  You can belong to any Chapter you would like.  Some Master Gardeners belong to multiple Chapters.  To renew your Chapter membership contact Chapters through their websites.

For those of you who took your MG training in 2019, during your training year you received complimentary Chapter membership in the county Chapter where you reside.  You now have the option of belonging to a Chapter.  The Chapters each have varying annual fees.  For more information, visit their websites:

Clackamas County Master Gardeners

Multnomah County Master Gardeners

Washington County Master Gardeners

2020 Master Gardener trainees this year you receive complimentary Chapter membership in the county in which you reside. Chapter events are open to all Master Gardeners from any county. Drop in a Lecture/Speaker Series, visit a Chapter education/demo garden or attend a special garden seminar hosted by a Chapter (for event details visit the Chapter websites above). Learn more about our supporting area Chapters and how you can get involved in your upcoming MG training classes.

NWREC Winter Vegetable Variety Field Day

Here is a great opportunity to learn about a wonderful array of winter vegetable varieties that can be successfully grown in the North Willamette Valley. The North Willamette Research and Extension Center’s Winter Vegetable Variety Field Day features the Eat Winter Vegetables project field & storage vegetables: Winter Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Garlic, Celeriac, Radicchio, Cauliflower & Cabbage. 

Join in an afternoon field walk and discussions on organic variety selections and production with plant breeders, researchers, Extension agents, seed companies, farmers, and other agricultural professionals. We will be outside for part of the event, please dress accordingly.

WHEN: Thursday, February 13 from 2:00 – 4:30 pm.

WHERE: North Willamette Research and Extension Center, 15210 NE Miley Rd, Aurora, OR

WHAT: Check out the agenda for the day HERE.

The Field Day is free and open to the public. Bring your friends and family. No RSVP required 

Blue Lake Garden Hands-on Gardening Opportunities

Master Gardener deadheads spent blossoms at Blue Lake Park Discovery Garden.

Mark your calendars for select Thursdays (10am to 2pm) for hands-on gardening opportunities at the Blue Lake Discovery Garden! 

Work alongside fellow Master Gardeners and assist in making the garden a treasured stop for Blue Lake Park visitors.  Tools provided.  Free park admission. A few February and March shifts are open now – check back for more to shifts to come. Perennial MGs register on CERVIS today. 2020 Trainees will have the opportunity to sign up Week #7 of MG training classes.