‘A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of year’

William F. Longgood

As summer wanes, we hope that you have moments to find tranquility in a garden, solace listening to the cricket’s evening song, satisfaction eating a homegrown tomato or delight appreciating glorious summer blooms. Most especially we hope that you are yours are safe and well.

2020 Volunteer Requirements Waived

September is traditionally the end of our Master Gardener year (October 1 – September 30) when we collect reports of volunteer service hour.  As announced in previous newsletters, due to the pandemic, we are waiving all Perennial Master Gardener volunteer service requirements for 2020. 

Although volunteer requirements are waived, we still would like you to tell us about your service hours so that we can celebrate and share your contributions with OSU.  In lieu of submitting a volunteer log this year, please complete the brief survey which we will send out next week.  No need to submit a volunteer log sheet this year.  Via the survey, you will simply report your total Program and Partner hours, along with your Continuing Education Hours and any produce donations you made to area food banks.

For our 2020 Master Gardener trainees we are extending the deadline for your training requirements until September 30, 2021. We are looking forward to a time when we can introduce you to a wide variety of volunteer activities where you can apply and expand your gardening knowledge.

Master Gardeners Sowing and Growing in 2021

So, what’s sowing and growing for OSU Master Gardeners in 2021?  We are pleased to share the news that exciting new programing will be offered to Perennial Master Gardeners around the state, including our class of 2020 trainees.  This is an opportunity for Master Gardeners to enhance your gardening know-how “via a combination of self-paced learning and live webinars and online conversations with OSU experts.” Learn more about this innovative new curriculum, that will be offered starting in January of 2021 HERE.

Garden Webinar Series Continues

Our metro area Garden Webinar Series continues into September with two great offerings from the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District.

Friday, September 11, 1PM
Naturescaping and Native Plants for Wildlife Learn the basics of designing a landscape to reduce water use, decrease stormwater runoff and improve habitat for local wildlife. We’ll cover the core concepts of Naturescaping, explore the many benefits of gardening with native plants, and highlight the characteristics and desired growing conditions of many favorite native trees, shrubs and groundcovers.

Photo courtesy of East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

Friday, September 18, 1PM
Introduction to Raingardens and Stormwater Management Explore how rain gardens can help minimize the impact of urban stormwater pollution on local waterways and the wildlife that depend on them. You will walk away with an understanding of how a rain garden works, how and where to build one, as well as ideas for plant selection and rain garden maintenance tips.

Webinar Recordings Work with Your Schedule

Do you have a schedule conflict with an upcoming webinar?  Don’t despair.  We are posting recordings of many of our webinars in the days following the presentation.

Check out past webinars here:

Diversity Equity and Inclusion and Framework of Discovery

Since our statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Gail Langellotto, and Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator, LeAnn Locher’s first blog post bringing increased attention to racial and social justice in Oregon’s Master Gardener Program, important conversations have started among staff, Master Gardener Chapters and Master Gardener volunteers.

Here in the metro area we have convened a Social and Racial Justice Advisory Committee, seeking guidance, as we take actionable steps for a more inclusive MG program.  One area Chapter has formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) working group to search out ways to improve DEI in the Chapter and its community outreach initiatives.

Two new blog posts from Gail and LeAnn are available. The first shares an update on the OSU Master Gardener Program’s focus on identifying “the benefits, barriers, opportunities, and impacts that are experienced by Master Gardener volunteers and the communities that we serve”.  The second illuminates the beginning steps being taken to move Diversity, Equity and Inclusion goals forward, including valuable podcast recommendations.

The Unknown Framework of Discovery

How’s the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Work Going?

Volunteering with Partner Organizations

After several questions from Master Gardeners, we want to reiterate that although some Partner organizations in the metro area have resumed volunteer activities, at this point, in the metro area, Master Gardeners are not approved to participate and volunteer at any partner venues.  

We are deeply appreciative of those partner organizations who are clearly communicating the restrictions of the OSU Master Gardener Program.  We are keeping those organizations apprised of any changes to the University’s in-person volunteer policy and look forward to the day we can resume these valued partnerships.  We will alert all volunteers as restrictions are lifted.

Our September Garden Checklist

It’s time to harvest fruit, plant perennials and vegetables, and renovate the lawn. Find it all in our September Garden Checklist.

Natter’s Notes

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

As of early July 2020, there’s a new pest in town, and it goes by the name of Southern Pink Moth, alias Pyrausta inornatalis. The adult moth, found in SE Portland and submitted to the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) was soon declared a new record for Oregon.

Less than two weeks later, a person from Milwaukie submitted an inquiry to Ask an Expert about a small pink moth resting on a salvia leaf in their garden. Its ID was soon verified as a Southern Pink Moth.

Adult Southern Pink Moth, Pyrausta inornatalis
The Southern Pink Moth, Pyrausta inornatalis, wingspan 13mm, was recently identified as a first record for Oregon. Host plants are annual and perennial Salvia species. (Image source:

Normal distribution of the Southern Pink Moth is across the southern states, and are most common in the southeast. On the west coast, only four other specimens have been documented, those from Southern California.

Precious little info is available about this small pest. The only official details I was able to locate stated that the adult moth is about a half-inch long, with a wingspread of 13mm.  The forewings are reddish-pink, the hindwings fuscous (brownish gray) and fringed. In the southern states, the adults fly March to November. The larvae bore into salvia flowers and flower buds.

Comments on a garden forum described the larvae is small (about a half-inch), almost translucent, and marked with dark dots. The larvae bore into the base of salvia flowers and flower buds. (As a result, they can be classified as budworms, and will annoy gardeners just as much as do the familiar geranium- and petunia-budworms.) Each pupa is in a filmy cocoon attached to the plant.

Larva of Southern Pink Moth, aka Salvia Budworm, Pyrausta inornatalis on the base of a bud of a Salvia plant
Larva of the Southern Pink Moth, aka Salvia Budworm, Pyrausta inornatalis, is classified as a budworm because it has the nasty habit of boring into the base of Salvia flower buds and flowers. (Image source: https://bugguide.net/node/view/229077/bgimage)

Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) can be used effectively against budworms but timing is critical. One must apply Bt as soon as the first flower buds are damaged. Better yet, apply Bt as the eggs start to hatch such that Bt-coated tissue will be the caterpillars first bite. Unfortunately, Bt degrades quite rapidly when exposed to sunlight, so repeat applications may be needed. Fortunately, Bt targets caterpillars without damaging other insects.

A more direct control method is to check buds for tiny holes and then removing (or squishing) those that are infested.  Other times, the caterpillar will still be on the outside of the bud. Cold winters are believed to kill the pupae, with temperatures of 20F or less able to reduce the next season’s population.

No control guidelines have been issued by ODA or OSU as yet. But since this is a newly introduced species, ODA would be interested in any reports and locations so that they can map the spread of this species. Contact ODA at 503-986-4636.


The Canadian Entomologist” – https://archive.org/stream/canadianentomolo17ento#page/57/mode/1up

BugGuide: Images of adults, larvae and pupae – https://bugguide.net/node/view/81627

Multiple images at “Butterflies and Moths of North America” – lg larva https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Pyrausta-inornatalis

Discover Life: Images adults (resting and pinned), also a distribution map – https://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?search=Pyrausta+inornatalis&mobile=close&flags=glean:

BugGuide – image of adult https://bugguide.net/node/view/1526170/bgimage

BugGuide – image of larva https://bugguide.net/node/view/229077/bgimage

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

Photo: OSU

Study shows some urban gardens contain too much organic matter. (Kym Pokorny, OSU; via Mykl Nelson & James Cassidy, OSU) https://bit.ly/2PPqF32

Environmental Injury: Winter Burn of Evergreens. (Marianne Ophardt & Rita Hummel, WSU) https://bit.ly/2CkmTLI

Pollen adaptation to ant pollination: a case study from the Proteaceae. “Ant-plant associations are widely diverse and distributed throughout the world, leading to antagonistic and /or mutualistic interactions. “ (Nicola Delnevo, et al: Annals of Botany, Oxford U) https://bit.ly/33Vjfna

Beetles and Wasps vie for title of most diverse critter. (Nell Greenfield Boyce, NPR.org) https://n.pr/3gQwg4Q

Longevity study reveals why ancient trees can stave off death.  “New research “can help us better understand the concept of time in biology.” https://bit.ly/2CkncWS

Thorns to branches. “The pointy defense system relied on by many plants has an interesting origin story. Thorns start out as branch-like structures that grow out of the main stem and then, all of a sudden, turn into sharp death spikes. Now, researchers have not only figured out how that happens, but also how it can be stopped.” (Joram, Plantsandpipettes.com) https://bit.ly/33U0IYn

Photo: Bernadine Strik, OSU

REVISED PUBLICATION: Growing Strawberries in your Home Garden. (Bernadine Strik, et al; OSU) https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1307

Gall fly outmaneuvers host plant in game of ‘Spy vs. Spy.’ (Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State U) https://bit.ly/2Cle700

What has been thought and taught on the Lunar influence on plants in agriculture?  Perspective from Physics and Biology. (Olga Mayoral, et al; U of Velencia Spain) https://bit.ly/2XUm1oN

Amber specimens reveal vivid color of 99-million-year-old insects. (Iflscience.com) https://bit.ly/3ivzdIo

How the Giant Sequoia protects itself: a three-dimensional network of fibers makes the bark resistant to fire and rock fall. (University of Freiburg) https://bit.ly/3aooDjF

Ants on Peony flowers: an enduring myth.  Do ants harm peonies? (Old Farmers Almanac.com) https://bit.ly/31FbdvC

First Detector summer national webinar series. Improve your diagnostic skills with tips and tricks to help you recognize symptoms of common plant problems. Brush up on identification features of pests on the move like spotted lanternfly, Asian longhorned beetle, and oak wilt. (National Plant Diagnostic Network) https://bit.ly/3h3M58g

Lichen. Photo: OSU

Nature and pollution: what lichens tell us about toxic air. By Beth Askham, Natural History Museum) https://bit.ly/3iDDt8K

Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality. (USDA Forest Service) https://bit.ly/2FcVzjC

Tomato’s hidden mutations in study of 100 varieties (Sciencecodex.com) https://bit.ly/3fTcRii

A Bee C: Scientists translate honeybee queen duets. (Victoria Gill, BBC News) https://bbc.in/3fMvjcw