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

Cover of OSU publication 'Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to Protect Pollinators, with a photo of a bumble bee gathering pollen from a white cosmo flower.

New publication: Enhancing Urban Suburban Landscapes to protect Pollinators. “The way we garden and manage the landscapes of the Northwest can promote the health of bees, butterflies, and other insects.  Homeowners, gardeners, landscape professionals and volunteer groups all can work to attract a wide range of pollinators to their properties.  This guide offers detailed plant lists, garden designs and advice on creating pollinator habitat.  Once plants are in the ground, learn to keep them healthy without exposing pollinating insects to pesticides that are toxic to them.” (Andony Melathopoulos, et all, OSU- EM 9289) https://bit.ly/30J8Tou

Nonnative, noninvasive woody species can enhance urban landscape biodiversity. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU via International Society of Arboriculture) https://bit.ly/3dYwkhE

New research illuminates nocturnal pollen transport network. “Moths may even help counterbalance pollination gaps left in the wake of other insect declines.” (Cara Giaimo, anthropocenemagazine.org) https://bit.ly/2XY5PmR

VIDEO:  The botanist stuck in the kitchen with peas- a short botany lesson. (Katherine A. Preston, via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/3cZr5wN

How the Pea Aphid decides to make wings or not.Wing development in females is environmentally controlled, but in males, an insertion on the sex chromosome appears to dictate whether the insects grow wings, according to a study.” (Vivian Callier, the-scientist.com) https://bit.ly/2UCiNET

WEBINAR: High magnification, low cost: macro garden photography on a budget. (Danae Wolfe, Ohio State U; via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/37pN66C

Honey locust tree with bark peeled away by squirrels.
Photo credit: Joe Boggs, OSU Extension

Squirrels debarking trees.  Recently a MG showed me some photos of a problem on a fruit tree. The damage looked awfully familiar to me since I have this same problem on my maple trees every spring.  (Joe Boggs, Ohio State U) https://bit.ly/2MSm0M3

Here’s how plants became meat eaters. “Carnivorous plants are the ‘most skillful green hunters on the planet.” (Diane Lincoln – Live Science.com) https://bit.ly/2XUlHH2

Pollen-deprived bumblebees may speed up plant blooming by biting leaves. “In a pollen shortage, bees can make tomatoes bloom early by nipping foliage.” (Susan Milius, sciencenews.org) https://bit.ly/3fvJPG3

Genetic analysis reveals the fascinating evolutionary origins of Catmint, AKA Catnip. (Max Planck Institute, scitechdaily.com) https://bit.ly/30DPfKW

The weed apocalypse. (Jim Downer, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/37x6kHO

Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early, surprising scientists. “How it actually works remains a mystery, but if replicated by humans, it could be a boon for agriculture.” (Virginia Morell, nationalgeographic.com) https://on.natgeo.com/2XYZCHs

Big, beautiful, and confusing: Deciphering the true hornets-including the “Murder Hornet.” (Leslie Mertz, Ph.D., entomologytoday.org) https://bit.ly/3hnHIWj

Flowers respond to pollinator sound within minutes by increasing nectar sugar concentration. (Marine Veits , onlinelibrary.wiley.com) https://bit.ly/37rAnkc

Earthy funk lures tiny creatures to eat and spread bacterial spores. “Master chemist soil bacteria can waft a scent appetizing to springtails.”(Susan Milius, sciencenews.org) https://bit.ly/2XY4QCY

Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum plant.
Ribbon type fasciation of Sedum.
OSU Plant Clinic image, 2008.

UPDATE INFO- 2020 PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook: “Well, a virus may have slowed us down but the 2020 version of the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook is now fully online. Most of it has been there for many weeks now. A total of 28 new sections, another 98 sections that were rewritten and 20 new fungicides were added (and 7 removed) where needed throughout the book. A new section on “Fasciation” was added…” (PNW Disease Management, Facebook) Fasciation:  https://bit.ly/2UA6k4o

The Strange, Twisted Story Behind Seattle’s Blackberries. (Ann Dornfeld, NPR.org) https://n.pr/2Awucir

“This is exactly the time we need to step up our game, listen, learn, and grow our work to be more equitable and inclusive of our many communities, particularly our communities of color. We look forward to growing together, and to working towards racial justice and equity in the Master Gardener Program.”

Gail Langellotto and LeAnn Locher

The Master Gardener Program and Racial Justice

Earlier this month we shared a message from Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator, Gail Langellotto, and Master Gardener Outreach Coordinator, LeAnn Locher regarding the OSU Master Gardener Program’s commitment to racial justice and equity.  We would like to share, once more, Gail and LeAnn’s imperative call for racial justice in the OSU Master Gardener Program. https://beav.es/4Hk

Last week Gail followed-up with a post, explaining the overwhelming support she received from dozens of Master Gardeners in support of racial and social justice.  In addition, Gail also listed the reading recommendations responders shared to begin and expand understanding of racial justice.  You can find Gail’s post here https://beav.es/4rv  

The metro area Master Gardener Program also received messages of strong support for the Program’s call for action.  Metro area Master Gardeners also shared resource recommendations, many of which were included in Gail’s post. 

Here are the additional resource recommendations from metro area Master Gardeners…

The metro area Master Gardener Program echoes the commitment to racial justice and equity for the MG program, expressed by Gail and LeAnn.  We recognize that there is a lot of work to be done, and a lot to learn.  Together we need to identify barriers in our program, take action to remove those barriers, and remain focused on creating an inclusive, welcoming community for all gardeners.


Webinar Series Continues

Bumblebee on heath blossoms

With the goal of keeping our Master Gardener community connected and engaged, the metro Master Gardener program has moved online.  Every Friday at 1pm we are presenting a horticulture-focused webinar for Master Gardeners and the gardening public. 

Upcoming webinars…

  • 1PM, Friday, June 19th, “Pollination and Pollinators: Sex and the Single Flower”, with Bob Falconer, OSU Master Gardener Register at this link https://beav.es/4rc
  • 1PM, Friday, June 26th, “New High Priority Noxious Weeds—How to ID” with Michele Delepine, West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Friday, July 3, no scheduled webinar
  • Friday, July 10, “Therapeutic Horticulture, Gardening for Healthy Living”, with Scott Hoffman, Therapeutic Garden Program Coordinator, Whole Health, Veterans Affairs Portland Health Care System

Metro Master Gardener online webinars count as continuing garden education credit.

To register for upcoming webinars, watch for a weekly email sent from Marcia McIntyre, that has a link to the Zoom registration page.  Links to register for the webinars will also be posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts and the metro area Master Gardener educational events calendar.

Webinar Recordings

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

Check out past webinars here:
https://media.oregonstate.edu/channel/channelid/161357322


Master Gardener In-person Volunteer Activity Suspension

In the midst of the pandemic, and with OSU Extension Service’s commitment to keeping communities safe, suspension remains in effect for any in-person volunteer activities for OSU Master Gardeners.  This includes all Master Gardener clinics (phone, Farmers Markets, and special events), classes, workshops, demonstration gardens, parks, partner organizations, Speakers Guild presentations, fundraisers, and in-person meetings/lectures/speakers. 

As the State of Oregon lifts restrictions, around the state, OSU Extension is in the process of approving some restricted, limited, volunteer activities.  Approved activities will have requirements regarding safety protocol, which must be met.  As the University provides information and guidance regarding a resumption plan, we will provide updates.


Volunteering with Partner Organizations

Although some Partner organizations in the metro area may be resuming 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.


OSU Master Gardener icon

With the cancellation of volunteer activities, and knowing the many challenges people are facing, we are waiving volunteer requirements for 2020.  We ask metro area Master Gardeners to report any volunteer hours served this year and their continuing education hours, by September 30, 2020.

We encourage Master Gardeners to take advantage of the many online continuing education opportunities.  Updates will be sent via email and/or posted in this monthly newsletter.


Master Gardener Hangout

Are you looking to connect with other Master Gardeners in an informal, online setting?  Join our Friday, Master Gardener Hangouts.  This is a forum to talk all things gardening. 

Past Master Gardener Hangouts have been fun, with mini tours of gardens, as participants took their laptops and phones out into their gardens – shared favorite vegetable varieties – asked each other questions – just enjoyed a chance to connect with fellow gardeners! 

You can connect via phone or internet. Look for an email from Marcia McIntyre, which will be sent on Friday afternoons as that week’s webinar is ending, with a link to join the ‘Master Gardener Hangout’.


Online Educational Opportunities

A wide-variety of educational webinars are available to view from other Master Gardener and Extension programs across the state. Check them out.

Master Gardener Advanced Training webinars continue on July 16th, 10am with Solve Pest Problems: A New Resource for Master Gardeners and the Public. Join Weston Miller, and learn about the exciting developments for the Solve Pest Problems website.
Pre-register here: https://learn.extension.org/events/3762


Gardening Will Save the World webinar series, sponsored by the Hood River Co. Master Gardeners. To register, see link below.

·  June 17, Insect Apocalypse: Real of Hype?, presented by Dr. Gail Langellotto, OSU Master Gardener State Coordinator

·  July 1, Pollinators, presented by Dr. Andony Melathopolous, OSU Professor, Pollinator Health Extension

·  July 15, Pesticide Safety, presented by Brooke Edmunds, Community Horticulture, Master Gardeners Linn and Benton Counties

For ‘Gardening Will Save the World Webinar Series’ details go to: https://beav.es/4rt


Sunshine streaming through trunks of trees in a forest.

Tree School Online
OSU Extension Clackamas Co. Tree School continues to offer weekly online webinars through July 28. Look for classes designated for Master Gardener continuing education credit. For more information go to https://beav.es/4Hn


Recently Reported Contaminated Soil and Compost

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) recently reported that it discovered soil and compost contaminated with the herbicide clopyralid.  The contamination was found in products purchased at two landscape distribution companies, Dean Innovations and McFarlane’s.  Details regarding the contamination, plus the ODA’s recommendation on the steps gardeners can take if they purchased the contaminated product can be found here… https://bit.ly/2MZkF6m

More information for gardeners…
Clopyralid in Compost: Questions and Answers for Gardeners and Farmers in Western Washington
https://s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/411/2014/12/Paper_Clopyralid_QandA_v10.pdf 

Gardeners seeking further information about pesticide risk for their situation can contact the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378 Monday –Friday from 8:00am –12:00pm, or email at npic@ace.orst.edu

Any updates on the investigation will be posted here.  https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/Pesticides/Pages/PesticidesCurrentIssues.aspx


Our June Garden Checklist

You still have time to plant your warm season vegetables, and once drier weather arrives remember to water your fruit trees. Check out the details in our June Garden Checklist.

Natter’s Notes
Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Ants! They’re players in perhaps one of the oldest good-news-bad-news stories ever.

The good news is that ants are valued for their beneficial activities. They add large quantities of spent plant and animal remains into the soil as they cultivate and aerate the soil. They also create channels for water and roots. They’re predators, too, and are members of nature’s clean-up crew, carting away debris that includes stray crumbs and dead insects.

The bad news is that ants sometimes get carried away. If they aerate the soil in and around a rootball excessively, water passes through the soil too rapidly to soak in, the plant wilts, and may die. Then, too, people take a dismal view of their uninvited excursions indoors when they trail across the floor, headed for wayward crumbs or the pet’s dish.

The preferred method to “get rid” of ants is to use a commercially formulated ant bait. The ants feed on the bait, then carry some back to the nest to share with the family. 

It’s critical to understand the meaning of “I want to get rid of ants; permanently” And they want it now! For the pest control professional, it’s we’ll stop them now, then we’ll return when they do.”

Here’s where Master Gardeners have a stellar opportunity to share a “teachable moment” during which they help a client, neighbor, or friend, understand the true outcome of managing house-invading ants. To be blunt, one can only stop the influx temporarily, until the next time. 

Too often, people will only spray the visible ants in hopes of stopping the invaders. Unfortunately, applying that spray wastes time, money, and effort. It only affects the visible ants, a mere 10 percent, or less, of the nest’s population.

Whenever people report they have “sugar ants,” it’s likely they have odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile. They’re just an 1/8-inch, and dark brown to shiny black. A quick and-dirty method to quickly verify their ID is to squash one or two. Then, they emit a distinctive, unpleasant odor which has been variously described as rotten coconut or petroleum-like.

Fig 1. Odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile, feeding at a liquid commercial ant bait such as Terro. Whitish objects are ant pupae, the life stage between larva and adult.
Fig 1. Odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile, feeding at a liquid commercial ant bait such as Terro. The whitish objects are ant pupae, the life stage between larva and adult. (https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/douglas-sarpy/pdfs/ce/resources/ce-five-most-common-ants-in-the-home.pdf)

Effective baits for odorous house ants include Terro (a borate-based liquid) and Combat (a gel with fipronil). I keep a 2-oz bottle of Terro on hand because odorous house ants are very persistent little fellows; they will return, repeatedly through the year. Common events that tend to trigger an invasion at my place include after heavy rains; following a serious cold spell; and during summer’s heat. Sometimes, I wonder if they’re just in the mood.

After bait is set out, monitor activity. Add fresh bait as long as the ants stream in. It may take weeks until the foragers stop feeding. If they’re still going strong after 3 weeks, try another bait, this time with a different active ingredient, perhaps hydramethylnon or indoxacarb.

Frankly, everyone must discard their fantasies about eradicating ants. The more accurate strategy, although it may be far less satisfying, is to make a plan to limit the indoor invaders.

Odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile, are probably the most common house-invading ants across the country. They’re small, dark brown or black ants, 1/16- to 1/8-inch long, with the usual 3 body parts of an insect – head, thorax, and abdomen. The characters which define them as ants are a petiole (a narrow connection between the thorax and abdomen) and two elbowed antennae. The characteristic which differentiates them from other ants is that their single petiolar node is very small and hidden by the abdomen. Then, too, when they’re crushed, they smell bad. Some people say the rather penetrating odor is similar to petroleum or rotted coconut.

Illustration of odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile; lateral view. A key identification character is the small petiolar node hidden by the anterior portion of the abdomen.

Fig 2. Odorous house ant, Tapinoma sessile; lateral view. A key identification character is the small petiolar node hidden by the anterior portion of the abdomen. (https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/ants/odorousant.shtml)

An odorous ant colony is relatively small, to about 10,000 individuals, with multiple queens. Nests are usually outdoors just below the soil surface, underneath pavers, wood piles, or other debris. But nests may also be indoors, in a wall void or near warmth-emitting sources.

Odorous house ant populations enlarge by one of two methods: mating of winged reproductives or via budding of the colony. Budding occurs when a hundred or so workers transport several of the colony’s queens to a new site. With time, a series of closely related, cooperative colonies forms — a supercolony. No wonder we can’t eradicate ants!

Managing ants requires a multi-pronged approach.

1. Sanitation (clean up regularly), and store perishable foodstuffs in tight, rigid containers.

2. Caulk and seal cracks in the foundation or gaps where utilities enter structures.

3. Manage honeydew-producing insects on landscape plants: mealybugs, whiteflies, as well as both soft and cottony scales.

4. Use commercially-formulated ant baits, refreshing the bait as needed until the foragers stop coming, perhaps as long as 3 weeks.

5. Keep a supply of effective bait on hand to use the next time the ants return!

Ant baits act slowly because the foragers share with other ants within the colony. If a bait is ineffective after several weeks, switch to one with a different active ingredient.

Commercial baits are formulated such that the foragers will survive long enough after feeding that they have sufficient time to carry bait home to colony members. (Editor’s note: Recall that Master Gardeners do not suggest home remedies.) When it comes to odorous house ants, have bait at hand so that you can rapidly respond to their subsequent invasions.

Resources

Identification and habits of Key Ant Pests in the Pacific Northwest (http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/PNW624/PNW624.pdf)

– “5 Most Common Ants in the Home”- https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/douglas-sarpy/pdfs/ce/resources/ce-five-most-common-ants-in-the-home.pdf– Ants: http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7411.html

– Odorous House Ant Identification Resources  – https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/ants/odorousant.shtml

– “Don’t Let Ants Come Over Uninvited: Pavement Ants and Odorous House Ants” – https://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/356PavementandOdorousAnts.pdf   Both ants are similar, about 1/8-inch long and a brown-black color. The main difference is that odorous ants have one petiolar node whereas pavement ants have 2. (See Figure 2, above.)

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

Cupped hands holding soil.
Photo Oregon State University

Some domesticated plants ignore beneficial soil microbes.  “Domestication yielded bigger crops often at the expense of plant microbiomes.” (Holly Ober, U of CA Riverside) https://bit.ly/3egW757

Your new word for the day: thigmomorphogenesis:  “… thigmo-” which means touch, “-morpho-” which means appearance, and “-genesis” which means beginning. String them all together and you get the phenomenon seen when plants respond to mechanical stimulation by changing their growth pattern and hence the way they look.” (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, The gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/3a9JoxQ

Blooms and Borders: How Daffodils Reveal Historic Building Foundations (Sherry Teal, Southern Ramble) https://bit.ly/2ySOzVT

Researchers Turn Spinach Leaves Into Beating Heart Tissues. “These living leaves could eventually become patches for the human heart.” (Jason Daley, Smithonianmag.com) https://bit.ly/3cdFTYI

Many plants have extrafloral nectaries helpful to beneficials. (Russel F. Mixell, U of Florida) https://bit.ly/3a6Olrp

Plants, Pollen and Allergies.Plant allergies are complex. Chief among allergies are allergies to pollen but not everyone reacts to pollen or the same pollen. Some people may also react to touching a plant or odors given off by a plant that have nothing to do with pollen. A medical allergist may be needed to help identify which specific allergens one needs to avoid.” (Missouri Botanical Garden) https://bit.ly/3cgyO9W

Base of large, mature tree, with many exposed tree roots, above the soil level.
Photo Oregon State University

A root’s life. “Roots are the unsung heroes of plants! But unfortunately your every day hard working root gets little respect from gardeners.” (Jim Downer, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/34vRcJd

The life and death of one of America’s most mysterious trees. “A majestic ponderosa pine, standing tall in what is widely thought to have been the “center of the world” for the Ancestral Puebloan people, may have more mundane origins than previously believed…” (Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona) https://bit.ly/35Ep5YU

Planting Prognostication: Understanding last frost and planting dates.  “Except for areas of the US that are more tropical like southern Florida or Hawaii, most gardener’s planting schedules are set around winter weather and the possibility of frost or freeze.  And even for gardeners in those more tropical areas, planting sometimes needs to be planned to schedule around the extreme heat of summer.  Understanding these planting times can really lead to success or failure, especially for vegetable gardens, tender annuals, tropicals, and non-dormant perennials.” (John Porter, Gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/3a3wvVV

Revised publication: Growing Blackberries in Your Home Garden. (Bernadine Stik, Cassie Bouska & Emily Dixon, OSU; EC 1303) https://bit.ly/2yh7fhJ

Revised publication: Growing Raspberries in your Home Garden.(Bernadine Strik, Cassie Bouska, & Emily Dixon, OSU; EC 1306) https://bit.ly/3eiFPsy

Revised publication: Growing Strawberries in Your Home Garden.(Bernadine Strik, OSU; EC 1307) https://bit.ly/3a6Sc7I

Cover of Pantry Pest Guide

New publication: PANTRY PEST GUIDE- Common Insect Culprits in Homes and Kitchens of the Pacific Northwest. (PNW Extension Publication 729) https://bit.ly/2XxscQk

WSU publication: GROWING ROSES IN WASHINGTON STATE- COMMON DISEASE AND INSECT PROBLEMS. (Marianne Ophardt & Sheila Gray, WSU, PNW Extension Publication 733) https://bit.ly/2V3xPnI

New publication:  The Care and Maintenance of Wood Shingle and Shake Roofs. (J. Morrell, J. Cappellazzi and J.W. Pscheidt, PNW Extension Publication 733) https://bit.ly/3b6n8q7

Hand holding small orange flower with green foliage and sunlight in the background.
Image: Pixabay

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Caring and Commitment to our Community

We hope this finds you taking good care, finding time to nurture a garden, or discovering respite in spring delights like cherry blossoms, busy mason bees, and bursting tulips.  In the midst of these uncertain times, one thing we know for sure is that metro area Master Gardeners are a committed and caring group who serve their community in so many ways. 

Image: Pixabay

Although Master Gardener in-person activities are suspended, due to the pandemic, Master Gardeners are still contributing to their community.  We know of Master Gardeners growing vegetable starts for their neighbors, sewing masks, buying flowers to add cheer to those in senior centers, funding the purchase of vegetable starts for agencies serving those experiencing food insecurity, growing extra vegetables and fruits to donate to area food banks, and reaching out to fellow volunteers to check on their well-being.  Master Gardeners are also serving as dedicated front-line essential workers, working from home, managing home schooling, caring for family members, and lending a helping hand to neighbors.  Such care and efforts are not surprising, but are confirmation of a valuable and committed community! 

Metro Master Gardener Program Goes Online!

With the goal to keep our Master Gardener community connected and engaged, the metro Master Gardener program has moved online.  Every Friday at 1pm we are presenting a horticulture-focused webinar for Master Gardeners and the gardening public. 

Upcoming webinars in May…

Freshly harvested beets and carrots, still speckled with soil, lying on wood counter top.
Image: Pixabay
  • 1PM, Friday, May 8th, Fundamentals of Lawn Care, with Weston Miller, OSU Extension
  • 1PM, Friday, May 15th, Practical Garden Food Safety: best practices for the edible garden, with Sara Runkel, OSU Extension
  • 1PM, Friday, May 22nd, TBA

Metro Master Gardener online webinars count as continuing garden education credit.

To register for upcoming webinars, watch for a weekly email sent from Marcia McIntyre that has a link to the Zoom registration page.  Links to the webinars will also be posted on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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

Check out past webinars here:
https://media.oregonstate.edu/channel/channelid/161357322

Master Gardener Hangout!

Brown leather boots sitting on lawn, planted with white daisy plants.
Image: Pixabay

Are you looking to connect with other Master Gardeners in an informal, online setting.  Join our Friday, Master Gardener Hangouts.  This is a forum to talk all things gardening. 

Past Master Gardener Hangouts have been fun, with mini tours of gardens, as participants took their laptops and phones out into their gardens – shared favorite vegetable varieties – asked each other questions – just enjoyed a chance to connect with fellow gardeners! 

You can connect via phone or internet. Look for an email from Marcia McIntyre, that will be sent on Friday afternoons as that week’s webinar is ending,with a link to join the ‘Master Gardener Hangout’.

Master Gardener In-person Activities Suspended

As announced in March, due to the evolving COVID19 situation, all Master Gardener volunteer activities are cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes all Master Gardener clinics (phone, Farmers Markets, and special events), classes, workshops, demonstration gardens, Speakers Guild presentations, fundraisers, and in-person meetings/lectures/speakers.  In addition, our Spring Recertification event scheduled for Saturday, May 16, is cancelled.

OSU Extension Service is working to make communities safe.  As OSU provides more guidance, we will provide updates. 

Orange OSU Master Gardener icon.

With the cancellation of volunteer activities, and knowing the many challenges people are facing, we are waiving volunteer requirements for 2020.  We ask metro area Master Gardeners to report any volunteer hours served this year and their continuing education hours, by September 30, 2020.

We encourage Master Gardeners to take advantage of the many online continuing education opportunities.  Updates will be sent via email and/or posted in this monthly newsletter.

Thanks for Sharing Your Expertise!

Plant in small pot with a hand written piece of paper that says 'Thank you'.
Image: Pixabay

The dedication and generosity of the Master Gardener community is always an inspiration.  This generosity was apparent as we made a swift pivot to offer garden education opportunities online.  We are incredibly grateful to Dennis Brown, Eric Butler, and Claudia Groth for so quickly stepping up to share their expertise and knowledge as we kicked off our webinar series.  Thank you all, for your kind generosity!

OSU Online Insect Agroecology Course

Bee gathering pollen on cherry blossoms.
Image: Pixabay

Last month Dr. Gail Langellotto, professor, Oregon State University, and Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator gave access to a valuable continuing education opportunity for OSU Master Gardeners.

Gail made recordings of her Entomology/Horticulture (Insect Agroecology) University course available for Master Gardeners to view.  The class delves into ecological theory, and considers how this theory applies to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems.  She shared the first two lectures in April: ‘The Importance of Insect Diversity’ and ‘Bottom Up Regulation of Herbivores (Plant Nutrition)’

You can view the remaining course lectures at the link below.

Oregon State University – ENT/HORT 444/544 (Insect Agroecology)
https://beav.es/47P

Time spent viewing the lectures counts as continuing education hours for perennial Master Gardeners.

More Continuing Ed Opportunities from OSU Extension and our Partners

Below are some great continuing education opportunities offered by OSU Extension programs and partner organizations. Be sure to read weekly metro MG program emails for opportunities that arise during each month.

Sunlight streaming through tree trunks in forest.
Image: Pixabay

Tree School Goes Online – FREE!
You still have time to take part in this 15-part series from Clackamas Extension Service Forestry and the Partnership for Forestry Education. Recordings are posted following classes.
https://knowyourforest.org/TreeSchoolOnline

Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars
Next up: Winter Squash Research at OSU, with
Dr. Alex Stone and Lane Selman http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/ediblegardens/2020/01/23/2020-osu-extension-master-gardener-webinar-

Metro area Master Gardener – Native Bee Survey Training
with Andony Melathopoulos, OSU

Tuesday, May 5, 1pm to 4pm
https://oregonstate.zoom.us/j/93470133622

Metro (regional government) Garden Design for Wildlife
Wednesday, May 13, 3pm to 4:30pm
Register here. A subsequent webinar on the same topic will be offered in Spanish upon request

May Garden Checklist

Our May garden checklist encourages you to weed, weed, weed, plant perennials and check your soil temp!

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

NEW PUBLICATION- “Trees and Shrubs for Fall and Winter Bloom 28 Species Attractive to Pollinators and People West of the Cascades.”  (Neil Bell, Heather Stoven, Andony Melathopoulos, OSU-EM9277) https://bit.ly/38IGgbw

REVISED PUBLICATION– “Managing Diseases and Insects in Home Orchards.” (J. W. Pscheidt, et al; OSU- EC631) https://bit.ly/2v9vmhd

NEW PUBLICATION– “Kabocha and Butternut Squash for Western Oregon Gardens.” (Alice Formiga, et al, OSU-EM9270) https://bit.ly/2VYmFS1

Bent into shape: The rules of tree form. “How do trees find their sense of direction as they grow? Researchers are getting to the root, and the branches, of how the grandest of plants develop.” (Rachel Ehrenberg, knowablemagazine.org) https://bit.ly/2Iy7lUj

Ants produce antibiotics that may protect plants.  “The antimicrobial compounds ants excrete to defend themselves from pathogens may protect plants as well.” (Emily Makowsk, the-scientist.com) https://bit.ly/3cHrqp3

Scientists just solved the strange case of pine trees that always lean towards the equator. (Signe Dean, sciencealert.com) https://bit.ly/2TCV3jN

Argiope aurantia Yellow garden spider (with zigzag stabilimentum) Fayetteville 5 July 2001 J. K. Barnes

Bright yellow spots help some orb weaver spiders lure their next meal. “Bees and moths appear strongly attracted to the markings on the arachnids.” (Yao-Hua Law, sciencenews.org) https://bit.ly/2TIfZpH

Potting soil poison.  “Gardeners often struggle to grow plants in containers. You may feel that you have a really black thumb at times when newly planted seedlings fall over dead or fail to thrive. The problem may not be disease or poor gardening acumen but rather your container media otherwise sold as “Potting Soil”. (Jim Downer, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/38Csyqv

Rise and shine-NASA mission captures aerial view of plants waking.  “We aren’t the only lifeforms hitting the snooze button.” (Passant Rabie, inverse.com) https://bit.ly/337lpxh

VIDEO: NASA is ready to send more plants and a new way to handle seeds to the International Space Station. (NASA’s Kennedy Space Center via youtube.com) https://bit.ly/2TSJhAB

Prescribed burns benefit bees.   “Freshly burned longleaf pine forests have more than double the total number of bees and bee species than similar forests that have not burned in over 50 years, according to new research from North Carolina State University.” (Elsa Youngsteadt, et al, NCSU) https://bit.ly/38HckMZ

Stunning!  Colored micrographs magnify pollen seeds, plant cells, and leaf structures in photographs by Rob Kesseler (Grace Ebert, thisiscolossal.com) https://bit.ly/2TIyRVD

Pollinating opossums confirm decades-long theory. “In Brazil there is a plant so strange that researchers predicted — and 27 years later, proved-that opossums are key to its pollination.” (Ecological Society of America via sciencedaily.com) https://bit.ly/2TYgGtG

When good seeds go bad: How long can you store seeds? “While there isn’t a date where all the seeds go bad, they will eventually go bad over time. Why is this? And how can I make sure to use my seeds before they’re gone?” (John Porter, gardenprofessors.com) https://bit.ly/2W0QjGd

VIDEO: Story of flowers, a breathtaking botanical animation.(thekidshouldseethis.com via youtube) https://bit.ly/39Gsyr4

Invasive plant look-alikes! (Fate Syewoangnuan, greenseattle.org) https://bit.ly/38IiZq6

Natter’s Notes

Jean R. Natter, OSU Master Gardener

Many gardeners are trying to be environmentally sensitive in various ways, in particular, trying to conserve water use in the garden. Often, an in-ground sprinkler system (or hose-end device) is forsaken on behalf of soaker hoses or a drip sytem. Unfortunately, the entire project can go south in a hurry. Plants don’t thrive; some become puny, others wilt, and still others die.

Rather than explaining how to install a drip system, I’d rather discuss the guiding principles one must adhere to if the system is to be successful. In other words, if the gardener intends to obtain the abundant yield s/he expects. So, consider starting your first installation with a kit; it will contain all the needed parts and clear directions how to hook them up. Or, if you’re determined to dive in and set up everything from the start, you might want to obtain an instruction text or a manufacturer’s booklet, the latter often free at retail outlets, located with the irrigation supplies.

The important principles

Oh, yes. Here’s an overriding principle, whatever your method: On an individual dripline, always use component parts from the same brand because, unfortunately, one brand’s half-inch, etc., isn’t necessarily the same as another brand’s.

Disasters can be avoided by understanding a few basic principles, perhaps the most critical of which include the following:

– Output of an in-ground sprinkler system is gallons per minute.

– Output of a soaker or drip system is gallons per hour.

– Therefore, a drip system must run much longer than a sprinkler sytem to adequately supply plants.

– A drip system will put out uniform amounts of water per hour if pressure-compensated drippers are used.

– Further, it’s important that a drip line is on its own valve, not combined with sprinklers. To convert a sprinkler system to drip, all heads must be either changed to drip or capped off.

Soaker hoses

With soaker hoses, the output is inherent in the product. Output will be the same the length of the hose as long as it is on level ground and the water pressure is only sufficient to make the hose sweat. If a soaker hose sprays, the plants at the far end of the hose will receive less water than those at the beginning. Then, too, the hose may burst. (The exceptions are hoses which are designed to spray.)

Even though soaker hoses aren’t pressure-compensated, gardeners can gain that advantage from a commercially available plastic drip hose which has built-in pressure-compensated drippers at specified intervals. (Just make certain the intervals match the spacing for the plants at hand.)

Watering principles

These principles concern the plants and planting media:

– At sunrise, a plant’s root system should be fully moist and ready to meet the day. With elevated temperatures, stomates close; water uptake slows and may stop.

– Whenever you water, moisten the entire rootzone. In general, rootzones for seasonal vegetables and flowers go to 10- to 12-inches deep, trees and shrubs to 18 inches.

– As a vegetable ages from seedling to maturity, its root sytem gradually enlarges, both deep and wide. Irrigation frequency and duration must also increase. Similarly, with young trees, as the years go by, the number of drippers must increase, as must duration of irrigation.

– Water movement in soils (and container mixes) relies on pore size: The bigger the pores the better, and faster, the drainage.

The larger the soil pores, the more rapidly water moves. Sandy soil has large soil pores and must be watered frequently to maintain moisture within the rootzone. (It’s very similar with potting mixes.) In contrast, the small pores of clay limit water penetration; several on-off cycles may be required to moisten the roots and avoid surface runoff. Over all, the same amount of water is required for both kinds of soils.

Illustration showing water movement in soils: loamy sand, clay loam, and sand.
When water is applied as a point source, as in drip irrigation, it moves downward and laterally, according to the basic characteristics of the soil. Here, equal amounts of water were applied to each of the 3 points. Notice at the far right, what occurs when a “drainage layer” is added. Consider a layer of a different texture to be a “barrier.”
Illustration showing water movement through sand vs clay.

When water is applied as a point source, as in drip irrigation, it moves downward and laterally, according to the basic characteristics of the soil. In sandy soils and potting mixes, water moves downward in a narrow profile. The much smaller pores of clay soil results in a shallow but broad profile. Such profiles mean that more drippers are needed per unit area of sandy soil than in clay-based soils. (Source: “Drip Irrigation for the Yard and Garden”)

Questions and answers

Q: How long should I water?

A: Long enough to moisten the entire rootzone; on average to about a foot deep. To know for certain, go outdoors, stick a trowel in the soil or potting mix, and look.

Q: How often should I water?

A: Often enough to maintain moisture throughout the rootzone, thereby avoiding wilt. To know for certain, go outdoors, stick a trowel in the soil, and look.

 (A vegetable that wllts won’t be able to produce the abundant yields it could otherwise. This is true in spite of the plant’s apparent recovery after you dashed over to water it.)

Q: Is it true that a drip system is 90 to 95 percent efficient?

A: It might be that efficient; the answer is to moisten the entire root system but to avoid excessive runtimes such as 24 or 48 hours.

Fun for gardeners: Run a watering test.

Each gardener must determine for his/her own soil runtime and frequency for their own soil. And realize that it varies among containers, raised beds, and inground plantings. Run the drip system for an hour, stop for an hour, then check the soil with a trowel. How deep and wide did the water go?

Resources

– How-to booklets from suppliers available at retail outlets with drip irrigation supplies

– “Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates” by R. Kourik (2nd edition; Metamorphic Press)

– “Drip Irrigation in the Home Landscape” – University of California; 2015

– “Drip Irrigation for the Yard and Garden” R. Troy Peters, Ph.D. WSU http://irrigation.wsu.edu/Content/FAQs-Tutorials/Basics-of-Plant-Soil-Water-Relations-Tutorials.php#irrigationScheduling

Dandelion wreath hanging on a wooden fence post.
Photo: Pixabay

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.  – May Sarton


With well wishes to you and yours!

During this challenging time, the metro area Master Gardener program reaches out with wishes for health and wellness to you and yours!  Although so much of life seems to be upside-down right now, we can find comfort doing what we love to do – gardening!  As Master Gardeners, we certainly recognize that gardening is an act of optimism that can bring solace in a time of uncertainty.

Get your hands into the soil, sow a seed, plant a seedling, harvest a bouquet of early spring bloomers, plan your summer vegetable garden, and watch the dandelions unfurl! 


OSU Extension Resources Support Gardeners

OSU Extension Service offers a wealth of resources to support Master Gardeners and all those seeking to successfully and sustainable garden at home.  Here are a few great resources for you to share with your family and friends who are hunkering down at home.

An Educators Guide to Vegetable Gardening
https://beav.es/4f3

FREE Through April – Master Gardener Online Short Course – Vegetable Gardening Series   
https://beav.es/4fU

Gardening with Kids
https://beav.es/4fw

How to build your own raised bed cloche 
https://beav.es/4NB

Nurturing Mason Bees in your Backyard in Western Washington
https://beav.es/4f5

To peruse a wide array of OSU Extension Service gardening focused publications go to: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening


Master Gardener Volunteer Activities Suspended

As announced in March, due to the evolving COVID19 situation, all Master Gardener volunteer activities are cancelled or postponed until further notice. This includes all Master Gardener clinics (phone, Farmers Markets, and special events), classes, workshops, demonstration gardens, Speakers Guild presentations, fundraisers, and in-person meetings/lectures/speakers.  In addition, our Spring Recertification event scheduled for Saturday, May 16, is cancelled.

OSU Extension Service is working to make communities safe.  As OSU provides more guidance in coming weeks, we will provide updates.

With the cancellation of volunteer activities, and knowing the many challenges people are facing, we are waiving volunteer requirements for 2020.  When volunteer activities resume, we encourage those who volunteer, to report any volunteer hours served this year, by September 30, 2020.

We encourage Master Gardeners to take advantage of the many online continuing education opportunities.  Updates will be sent via email and/or posted in this monthly newsletter.


Delve Deep Into Insect Agroecology

Would like to delve deeper into the study of entomology?  Dr. Gail Langellotto, professor, Oregon State University, and Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator has offered a wonderful continuing education opportunity for OSU Master Gardeners.

Gail has made recordings of her Entomology/Horticulture (Insect Agroecology) University course available for Master Gardeners to view.  This class delves into ecological theory, and considers how this theory applies to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems. 

To view the lectures use the links below.  

Note: you can toggle your view of the lecture by using the arrows on the screen (top right corner) to adjust from either, a larger view of the presenter, or of the slide presentation.

Oregon State University – ENT/HORT 444/544 (Insect Agroecology)

Lecture 1: The Importance of Insect Diversity: 
https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_yqb73rzq

Lecture 2: Bottom Up Regulation of Herbivores (Plant Nutrition):
https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/0_wkovk0un

Time spent viewing the lectures counts as continuing education hours for perennial Master Gardeners.


Gardening with Native Plants and the Oregon Flora Project

Red flowering current

The 2020 Master Gardener Advanced Training Webinars continue on Tuesday, April 21, at 11am, highlighting native plants and the Oregon Flora Project.  Join Dr. Linda Hardison, as she focuses on how to integrate native plants into your home garden. Dr. Hardison will also introduce resources behind the Oregon Flora Project, sharing a sneak peek at the new Gardening with Natives web portal. Register for the live webinar at: https://beav.es/4NL A recording of the webinar will be posted a few days following the webinar.

To view past webinars, go to: https://beav.es/44T   All Master Gardener Advanced Training webinars can be counted as 1-hour of continuing garden education credit.


2020 In-class Training Wraps-up Online!

Our 2020 Master Gardener training was a great 6 and 1/3 week run!  Our instructors guided our new class of trainees, covering many key sustainable gardening concepts and practices.  In response to the COVID-19 crisis and following University direction, we made the necessary pivot to offer the remaining training classes on-line via Zoom.  Trainees have had the opportunity to delve into care of landscape ornamentals, and tree fruits to complete their required hours of in-person instruction.

We greatly appreciate the flexibility and continued enthusiastic engagement of trainees, as we changed course in the interest of the well-being of all.

With the suspension of volunteer activities, we look forward to our 2020 trainees beginning their volunteer internship when Master Gardener in-person activities resume.


Utmost Thanks to Our Stellar Instructors!

Our Master Gardener training offers the best in solid, research-based horticulture curriculum thanks to the knowledge and generosity of our instructors!  We extend our sincere thanks to all of our instructors, for educating and inspiring our 2020 Master Gardener trainees and perennial Master Gardeners.  We are grateful to our instructors for the time they spent preparing, teaching and engaging all who attended the classes.  Thank you!

  • Neil Bell
  • Chip Bubl
  • Sally Campbell
  • Amanda Davis
  • Brooke Edmunds
  • Claudia Groth
  • Monica Maggio
  • Heather Stoven

Thanks also to Margaret Bayne and Jane Collier for preparing to present their great hands-on, plant problem diagnostics training for the final week of class and to Jean Natter for preparing her informative household pests presentation!


Hearty THANKS, to Our Class Coordinators!

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next; virtue is doing it.”  – David Starr Jordan

Hearty THANKS, to our class coordinators!

There is no doubt we have a wise and virtuous team of volunteer coordinators for our three Master Gardener training venues!  We give a big shout out of thanks to Louise Gomez-Burgess and Marti Farris (Hillsboro class), Cindy Manselle (Oregon City class), and Beven Peters (Portland class); who along with their supportive team of volunteer’s displayed beyond measure dedication that made for a very successful Master Gardener training! 

Many thanks also, to our AV teams for keeping the audio and PowerPoints going! Larry Schick and Marty Royster (Hillsboro), Laura Huckaba (Oregon City) and Rich Becker (Portland).

Each volunteer team attended to the biggest and tiniest details to ensure a successful training and a welcoming venue for the new trainees.  Thanks for compiling, hauling, setting-up, announcing, assisting Interns, spreading out the amazing hospitality tables, and cleaning up the last crumb before turning off the lights.  We are grateful for your generous commitment, assistance and attentiveness!

Special thanks to Marilyn Frankel for lifting, packing and hauling PNW books across county lines!


Deep gratitude to our supporting Chapters!

Thank you to the Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington County Chapters for their financial support of the Metro MG training classes.  The facility, hospitality and parking fees would prohibit training happening in such great venues.  Thank you for your constant and generous support of the OSU Metro Master Gardener training program.  Your contributions make such positive and vital difference to the Master Gardener program!


April Garden Checklist

Here are some great home gardening projects, in our April ‘Garden Checklist’ video.

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 marcia.mcintyre@oregonstate.edu  

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 https://beav.es/ZLx

2018 Webinar Series https://beav.es/45z

2017 Webinar Series https://beav.es/45K


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.