Andony Melathopoulos

Link to the video:

Websites and publications mentioned in ‘Enhancing Urban and Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators’ webinar:

Oregon State Bee Keepers Association Swarm Call

Nurturing Mason Bees in Your Backyard in Western Oregon

Shrubs for Fall and Winter Bloom

Pollination Podcast

Oregon Bee Atlas Outreach Materials

Natter’s Notes

By Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

The Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba, was officially identified by Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) as an invasive pest in Oregon during 2012. Even so, the metro Master Gardener offices had been receiving complaints about their activity since 2001.

Plants were nibbled and/or destroyed from fall through the winter. At first, most folks assumed the damage was due to slugs and snails. However, the mutilation was different than the shredded tissue left behind by slugs and snails. Seedlings were toppled; emerging bulbs lost their heads and sometimes flower buds; and hostas lost leaf tips or had gaping holes. At my place, the pests would climb my 3- to 4-foot tall delphiniums to eat the flower bud at the tip of the stalk, sometimes settling down for a snooze.  To accurately identify the culprits, MGs in the offices had to activate their Master Gardener CSI mode.

The Winter Cutworm, Noctua pronuba

As you likely recall, caterpillars (Order Lepidoptera) have complete metamorphosis, with 4 life stages.  After the adults mate, the female lays several hundred eggs in a large tidy patch, most often covering, or nearly so, the surface of a leaf. The larvae (youngsters) hatch in 2 to 4 weeks. These caterpillars have different habits than most you are familiar with because they feed at night, whenever the temperature exceeds 40F, from fall through winter.

Perhaps the most effective treatment strategy is to go outdoors about 10 pm or so, with a cup of soapy water and tongs or a pair of gloves. As you trek through your plantings keep any eye out for caterpillars chomping at your expense. They may be anywhere from ¾ to 1.5 inches long, the size depending on their age. They’re often aligned with the edge of a leaf, or out-of-sight among the leaves. Hand pick and drop into the cup.

During the day, the larvae hide just under the soil surface, typically quite close to the stem of the victimized plant. Disrupting a bit of soil often reveals their hiding place.

The caterpillars of the Winter Cutworm (Noctua pronuba, aka the Large Yellow Underwing) appear bright green after they have molted; the color will gradually change to the various browns within hours. Source:

Fun for gardeners

This spring, as you prepare your garden, it’s very likely you’ll find a number of Lepidoptera pupae in the soil. Rearing the pupa is the best way to determine the parent moth’s identity.

To rear pupae, place in clear container with a porous lid, such as paper toweling secured with a rubber band. Set the container somewhere you’ll see it, but not in the sun, then wait for the adults to emerge.

The Gray Garden Slug

Slugs, especially gray garden slugs (Deroceras reticulatum) thrive throughout the northwest, feeding in gardens, greenhouses, roadsides and fields. They’re omnivores which feed on live plant material and much more, including mushrooms, dead slugs, earthworms. They have the ability to detect predatory carabid beetles through the use of olfactory cues. And, because slugs are hermaphrodites, reproduction is by cross-fertilization which may occur year-round when conditions are favorable. Mating occurs mainly at night with each animal capable of laying approximately 60-75 eggs (4 mm each) in a clutch, totaling about 700 eggs per year per slug. Each slug may live a year or two. ( reticulatum)

The Gray Garden Slug (Deroceras reticulum) is perhaps the most damaging slug in local gardens. Damage often avoids (stringy) leaf veins. Source: reticulatum

Fun for gardeners

If you happen upon a clutch of slug eggs – they’re transparent and either round or tear-drop shape – scoop them up with a bit of surrounding soil, put them in a clear container with a porous lid, and wait.


“Winter Cutworm: A New Pest Threat in Oregon” –

 “Slugs and Snails in Oregon” (ODA) –

“Snails and Slugs” –

 “Cornu aspersum” [The Brown Garden Snail, formerly Helix aspersa] –

 “Terrestrial Mollusc Tool” (USDA, University of Florida, & Lucidcentral: Incudes Fact Sheets with images; and a Glossary –

Blooming Narcissus
Photo: Pixabay

Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Yes, spring is in the air! With the first day of spring nearing it is time to dust off your OSU Master Gardener badge and get ready for a new slate of MG activities and volunteer opportunities.

Time to reach out and engage in the myriad of Master Gardener clinics, projects and special events.  Return to your favorite Master Gardener activity or try something new! Look for opportunities on CERVIS and in upcoming newsletters and emails.  New MG clinics and events are added every week.

2020 Master Gardener trainees you will have the opportunity to learn about the many volunteer opportunities, week #7 – following which you will be able to register for the activities of your choice.

2020 Master Gardener: In-class Training Home Stretch!

Our 2020 Master Gardener training is humming down the home stretch with just two weeks remaining of our in-class training.  We are grateful to our team of inspiring instructors and extend our hearty thanks to the teams of Perennial MG volunteer coordinators at our three sites!

To our 2020 class of trainees.  We are excited to have you joining our program of committed garden educators.  Soon you will be out in the community actively practicing and sharing your newfound knowledge.

Possibilities will abound with a wide-range of volunteer opportunities.  You will hear about the many OSU approved offerings during week #7 of class.  We hope you will dig in, have fun, and share your passion for gardening with fellow MGs and the gardening public.  This is an opportunity to further your garden education and to gain confidence in teaching others how to sustainably and successfully garden.

Key Training Details for 2020 MG Interns:

  • Complete the three required training modules plus the corresponding quizzes, and two additional modules of your choice, along with the quizzes, by March 31, 2020.
  • Complete the online final exam by March 31, 2020. The exam will be available starting March 15th. Please, allocate three to five hours to complete this online learning experience.  You can stop and start the exam, and you can complete the exam in multiple sessions (be sure to save your work).  A score of 70 percent or more is required on the test in order to start volunteering at Master Gardener clinic activities (answering the public’s garden questions). You will receive a grade on the exam upon submission via Canvas.  The exam is open book.  Feel free to refer to your online modules, Sustainable Gardening Handbook, in-class handouts, and confer with your fellow trainees.
  • For best selection, be sure to sign-up for your one required Workshop before March 31st. Soon after that date, the Workshop schedule will open to all Master Gardeners and the offerings will fill quickly.  You can sign up for up to two workshops.  Workshop sign-up will open on Saturday, March 7.
  • Hear about the many volunteer opportunities during Week #7. This will be your opportunity to meet the volunteer coordinators and learn how to sign-up for volunteer activities via CERVIS (our online volunteer system). You will have access to sign-up for the volunteer activities starting, March 14.

Special Message for “Perennial Master Gardeners”

Perennial Master Gardeners, please join-in welcoming and guiding our new class of eager Master Gardener trainees by signing up for shifts at the Master Gardener phone clinics, area farmers markets, and other remote clinics.  We hope to have one Perennial MG scheduled for each shift – to be there to support and guide Interns in their new role as a garden educator.

To sign up for phone, farmer’s markets, and remote clinic shifts go to CERVIS or contact the coordinator.

When signing up for CERVIS be sure to only sign-up for slots labeled “Perennial” in the next 2 months.  We want to give the Interns many opportunities to find slots at a variety of activities. 

All ‘current’ certified 2020 Perennial Master Gardeners have access to CERVIS.  If you are unable to access CERVIS, please contact Marcia McIntyre  

2020 trainees, you will have access to CERVIS on Saturday, March 15th, after the week #7 Resource Fair.

2020 Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars

The ever popular OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars are starting up for 2020. This month, Dr. Gail Langellotto, OSU Department of Horticulture, and our state-wide Master Gardener coordinator will present “Updates from the Garden Ecology Lab”, on Tuesday, March 17, 10AM.

Gail will share updates on the very latest research coming out of the OSU Garden Ecology Lab. Learn about efforts to create an urban bee guide, updates on identifying native plants that pollinators love the best, and meet the hardworking team of student research and faculty in the OSU Garden Ecology Lab.

The webinars are free and anyone is welcome to participate. Pre-register here.  Note: the presentation will be recorded.  If you can’t view the live webinar, a recording will be available a week or so after the event.

If you missed any previous webinars from previous years the links are below for your viewing pleasure.

Each webinar viewed counts as 1-hour continuing education credit for Perennial Master Gardeners.

2019 Webinar Series

2018 Webinar Series

2017 Webinar Series

Get Ready!  It’s Plant Sale Season!

Our supporting associations the Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County Chapters of the Oregon Master Gardener Association are serving up plant sales galore!  Be sure to mark your calendars to join in the fun volunteering and shopping to your heart’s content! Plant sale coordinators will be at Master Gardener training Week #7, in the afternoon, to sign-up volunteers or contact the individual Chapters for more information.

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

Bernedine Strik, OSU

NEW: Pruning video course series from OSU.  Five courses offered: Pruning Blueberry, Grapes, Kiwifruit, Raspberries and Blackberries.

“You can take any of these courses individually or take them all to become a pruning master. In these self-paced online courses, you will navigate through several 10–20 minute video lectures. You will have access to the course and the materials for one year after you enroll. You will also receive a bundle discount if you enroll in multiple courses at the same time.” (OSU)

Radiation-munching fungi are thriving on the walls of Chernobyl’s reactors. (

Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people — and now scientists know why. (James Urton, University of WA; UWNews)

Fun and informative video: Licking bees and pulping trees: The reign of a wasp queen. (Kenny Coogan, TED-ED via

Evaluating the hidden risks of herbicides– Gut microbes of wasps evolve after exposure to common treatment, leading to pesticide resistance, study says (Mary Todd Berman, Harvard Gazette)

OSU Photo Archive

Accuracy varies for commercially available soil test kits analyzing Nitrate-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and pH. (Ben Faber, et al; American Society of Horticulture Science)

Stunning! – The magical beauty of looking up at trees in the middle of a forest captured by photographer. (Beauty of the

Scientists learn how plants manipulate their soil environment to assure a cheap, steady supply of nutrients. (Rice University via

‘Profound’ evolution: Wasps learn to recognize faces. One wasp species has evolved the ability to recognize individual faces among their peers—something that most other insects cannot do—signaling an evolution in how they have learned to work together.” (Cornell U via

Fruit Tree Pruning Basics. (Jim Downer,

Revised OSU publication: Noncrop Host Plants of Spotted Wing Drosophila in North America. (Amy Dreves, et al, OSU)

Plants copy nematode pheromones to repel infestations. (Sterling Admin,

Fail to plan or plan to fail? Planning for a year of garden success. (John Porter,

Urban gardens contain too much organic matter, OSU study finds. (Kym Pokorny, OSU via

We’ve figured out how mosquitos sense our warmth.Unfortunately, they still seem to be able to find us without it.“ (John Timmer,