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

Two people kneeling in a garden plot with hands in soil.
Photo: Oregon State University

The scientific reasons you should resolve to start gardening in 2023.  “Funded by the American Cancer Society, the first-ever, randomized, controlled trial of community gardening found that those who started gardening ate more fiber and got more physical activity—two known ways to reduce risk of cancer and chronic diseases. They also saw their levels of stress and anxiety significantly decrease.” (Lisa Marshall,

REVISED PUBLICATION: Gardening with Oregon Native Plants West of the Cascades.  Growing a garden in western Oregon is easier when you include native plants. That’s because native plants are adapted to our wet winters and dry summers. Native plants also provide benefits to native pollinators and other wildlife. Learn where to find native plants for your garden, how to care for them and which plants are best for pots and small gardens. This publication also includes an illustrated list of Pacific Northwest native plants that are easy to establish and grow.” (Linda McMahan, Heather Stoven, Erika Szonntag, OSU)

Dorsal view of Northern Giant Hornet with wings outstretched.
Northern Giant Hornet,
Oregon Department of Agriculture

REVISED PUBLICATION: Northern Giant Hornet: A Potential Threat to Honeybee Colonies in Oregon.  “The northern giant hornet was detected in British Columbia and Washington in 2019. This publication outlines the identification, life cycle, and predatory habits of the northern giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) for beekeepers. It also provides recommendations for reporting a suspected sighting in the Pacific Northwest (Ellen Topitzhofer, et al, OSU)

REVISED PUBLICATION: Growing Your OWN.  “Growing Your Own is now available as a bilingual publication in Spanish and English! It provides basic advice on a wide range of gardening topics, including composting, container gardens, fall/winter gardens, fertilizing, insect pests, plant diseases, planting guidelines, raised beds, site selection, slugs, soil improvement, tilling, warm-season crops, watering, and weeds. Includes regional tips for various parts of Oregon.” (Gail Langellotto, OSU)

Vaccine protects honeybees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a conditional license for a vaccine that protects honeybees against American Foulbrood disease. (Simrin Singh,

Companion plants, they are not what you think!  Companion plants! Great, what a good idea. When you first hear the term and think about the concept it sounds great, but there is a lot to not to like about it. The term “companion plants” implies that these plants are partners and they “enjoy” each other’s company.  The term is an anthropomorphism or overlaying human qualities on non-human organisms.  A more appropriate term may be plant associates or plant associations, a term taken from plant ecology which more basis for its use.” (Jim Downer,

Goodbye to 2022 and hello, 2023!  A review of “…the weather and climate of the past year, both the average conditions and some of the extremes we saw.” (Pam Knox,

Pest Profile: Spotted Lanternfly. Be on the lookout! The Spotted Lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula, is a 1-inch long planthopper native to China, and has since spread to Japan, South Korea, and the United States.” (Abi Saeed,

So you think you want a home greenhouse, do you?  “… home greenhouses have been a “thing” for a long, long while – from well-to-do folks with conservatories on their estates to the more common and basic home greenhouse in the last few decades.  But shifting interests, and more/cheaper options have made home greenhouses more accessible to the masses.” (John Porter,

Field of sunflowers in bloom.
Photo: Harry Olson

Sunflowers Linked to Reduced Varroa Mite Infestations in Honeybees.  “A new study indicates a benefit to honeybees of local sunflower cropland.  Even low levels of sunflower acreage nearby correlate with reduced Varroa mite infestation in managed colonies, researchers found, and supplemental sunflower pollen helps ward off the mites as well.” (Paige Embry,

HIRING AN ARBORIST– MGs sometimes can’t identify a tree problem via a phone call or email.  Our diagnostic skills are limited in that we can’t go to the site to see the tree in person.  Photos and the plant’s history can provide a wealth of information, but sometimes seeing the tree on site may be necessary to give a correct diagnosis.  In such cases, clients should be advised to hire a Certified Arborist.

Here are a few suggestions on hiring a ‘Certified Arborist’:

  • As representatives of OSU, Master Gardeners don’t endorse a specific business or
  • Many commercial companies employ Certified Arborists–This means that they have passed tests recommended for their industry and have taken part in continuing education to further their knowledge.
  • Suggest client search on the internet, ‘Tree’ or ‘Trees’ or ‘Tree Service’ in their area.
  • Then look for statement or logo stating Certified Arborist.
  • Some companies may charge a fee for an on-site inspection.
  • Check to see if licensed and bonded.
  • Encourage client to get at least 3 estimates before selecting a company to do any work. 
  • The International Society of Arboriculture certifies arborists and has list of their certified arborists (more info below.)

Clients can be referred to ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) for information on Certified Arborists: “ISA exists so that professionals, allied professionals, public officials, and consumers worldwide recognize the economic, environmental, and societal benefits and values of trees and their care at a cost that demonstrates the wise stewardship of resources.”   Go to: (click on the link ‘Find an Arborist’). 

This takes you to the site: ‘Trees Are Good’ ( ). “The International Society of Arboriculture manages ‘’ …an educational website that provides the public with quality tree care information…helps increase awareness of the benefits of trees and provides homeowners and other tree owners with access to resources to help sustain trees in an urban environment. Examples of a few resources you’ll find on include: