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

Rooting around- the differences between taproots and mature roots. (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU via

Is your Landscape Sustainable? (Jim Downer,

Water, water, everywhere.  Learn an easy trick to determine soil moisture. (Sylvia Thompson-Hacker,

Container pots with vegetables and herbs, growing on a patio.
Container garden. Photo from Flickr by Wendy Cutler

Contain Yourself: Vegetable gardening in containers and small spaces. (John Porter,

How do we know which invasive plant pests will be the next big threats? (Rosyln Noar, et al,

Signs and symptoms of plant disease: Is it fungal, viral or bacterial? (Jim Isleib, Michigan State University Extension

Diagnosing Sick Plants. (Sarah D. William, et al, Ohio State U)

20 Questions on Plant Diagnosis. (Joy Bogg, et al, Ohio State U)

Wasps are valuable for ecosystems, economy and human health (just like bees.) (UCL)

Bumble bee on purple clover blossom.
Bumble bee on clover blossom. Photo: Lynn Ketchum, Oregon State University

Bumble bees damage plant leaves and accelerate flower production when pollen is scarce. (Foteini G. Pashalidou et al, via

Ancient Wollemi Pines Resurgent.   “Ten years after its discovery, a vanishingly rare tree from the Cretaceous Period is a scientific darling and may soon become a commercial success too.” (Stephen McLoughlin & Viva Vajda,

Plants Grown in Containers Course: Online (FREE and at your own pace course.) (NCSU)

The DNA of lettuce unraveled: in 6000 years from weed to beloved vegetable. (Wageningen Plant Research)

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

An Unusual Tree Company- Bartlett Tree Experts.  “In addition to providing tree services, this company also maintains the Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories and Arboretum. The latter includes over 300 acres of tree collections and ongoing research trials.  Here’s a sampling of the tree research…” (Linda Chalker-Scott,

Field bindweed, Oregon State University

Bidding goodbye to the dreaded Bindweed-The white, trumpet-shaped flowers called bindweed that seem to bloom everywhere can be one of the most frustrating weeds for home gardeners.” (Andy Hulting, OSU)

Millipede Swarms Once Stopped Japanese Trains in Their Tracks.  “A team of scientists say they have figured out the cicada-like life cycles of the many-legged arthropods.” (Veronique Greenwood,

Leave Your Lawn Alone! (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

My Soil is Crap-Part II. (Jim Downer,

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

Revised publication: How to Control Slugs in Your Garden.  Practical tips on how to deal with slugs in your garden, given in both English and Spanish. (EM 9155-Neil Bell, Amy J. Dreves, OSU)

“Can we just quit with the vinegar-epsom salts weed-killer nonsense?  It doesn’t matter how safe it sounds if it doesn’t work.”n(Ohio State University Extension)

Soil bacteria could improve crop yields, via fungi (Michael J. Hass, Cornell University)

Rose leaves with viruses. Leaves are speckled with pale yellow spots.
Rose virus. Photo: Jay Pscheidt, OSU

NEW SECTION IN THE PNW HANDBOOK: Plant Viruses: Dead or Alive? (Jay Pschdeidt, OSU)

Dirty Dozen? Not so fast… Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) issues a list of foods – the so-called ‘Dirty Dozen’ – which it considers to have the highest pesticide residues.  (Cornell University)

This robot uses AI to pollinate greenhouse tomatoes. (

Handful of soil.
Soil. Photo: OSU

My soil is crap. Or is it? (Jim Downer, Garden

Bizarre ‘worm tornado’ in New Jersey has scientists baffled. (Mindy Weisberger,

The AAS (All-America Selections) judges pick their favorite plants. (All-America selections.org_

To mulch or not to mulch? It shouldn’t even be a question. (Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

Understanding mysteries of plant diseases: Diagnosis and Detection (Part 2 of 3 in this blog series)- Something is wrong? (Jim Dower, Garden

Strawberry plant with ripe strawberries.
Strawberries. Photo: Bernadine Strik, OSU

Watch the Video! -The Uncommon Berry Patch.  A presentation that covers some less-commonly grown berries for the home garden as well as some native fruits found in western Oregon. (Neil Bell, Dr. Bernadine Strik, OSU)

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

Asian giant hornet being held between a thumb and forefinger.
Asian giant hornet. Photo: Washington Department of Agriculture

Beneficial wasp found in Asian giant hornet hunt. (Calvin Bratt, Lynden Tribune)

WATCH!- A Zoom presentation with Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott on Arboricultural Myths. (State of Missouri)

New Study Illuminates Dung Beetles’ Attraction to Death. (By Ed Ricciuti, Entomology Today)

The Dirt on Rock Dust. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Garden Professors blog)

VIDEO: Introduction to Lichen: Growth Forms, Reproduction, and Value. (Microcosmic via youtube)

Silencing the alarm- An enzyme in the saliva of certain insects prevents their food plants from warning neighboring plants of an attack. (Sara LaJeunesse Penn State News)

Why seasonal climate forecasts aren’t always accurate. (Pam Knox, The Garden Professors)

Paleontologists discover new insect group after solving 150-year-old mystery. (Simon Fraser University,

VIDEO:  Bypass vs. anvil pruners. (Oklahoma Gardening via Youtube)

Cambridge moonflower: Wait over for ‘UK’s first’ bloom. (BBC)

Monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterfly. Photo: Oregon State University

Monarch Winter 2020–21 Population Numbers Released. (Susan Day, University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum)

WATCH: I Cannot Tell a Lie But Cherry Trees Do Die. (Jay Pschdeit, OSU via Youtube)

Scientists discover attacking fungi that show promise against emerald ash borer. (University of Minnesota, via Phys Org)

Compost in Seed Starting Mix: Recipe for Success…. or Failure? (John Porter, The Garden Professors)

To Fruit or Not to Fruit – The Story of Mast Seeding (Awkward Botany)

January warm spells, March freezes: How plants manage the shift from winter to spring (Richard B. Primack, Boston University via The Conversation)

Red rose bloom.

The contrarian rosarian–debunking rose mythology. (Jim Downer, The Garden Professors)

Catnip repels insects. Scientists may have finally found out how.  The plant triggers a receptor that, in other animals, senses pain and itch. (Erin Garcia de Jesus, Science News)

Cold Comfort  (How Bees survive cold temperatures) (Jon Zawislak, U of Arkansas Extension)

Parasitic plants conspire to keep hosts alive-Mistletoe sends treemail.(Jules Berstein, UC Riverside)

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

Doug fir beetle
Doug fir beetle. Photo: LSU Agriculture Center

Pheromone treatment puts up the “No Vacancy” sign for Douglas-Fir Beetles. (Darrell Ross,

Amazing root drawings! (Wageningen University-Image Collection)

Watch the video:  Scientists are discovering new species in the ancient canopies of Canada’s tallest trees.  “On BC’s coast, giant trees have been fed by rain for over 700 years and are home to an incredible micro-world.” (Wild Canadian Weather,

Rhododendrons as thermometers. Did you know that some rhododendrons can act as a living thermometer, showing you just how cold it is by the curl of their leaves?” (Melissa Reckner,

The Mystery of Mistletoe’s Missing Genes.  Mistletoes have all but shut down the powerhouses of their cells. Scientists are still trying to understand the plants’ unorthodox survival strategy.” (Christie Wilcox,

Microscopic wrinkles in leaves ward off insects.  “Researchers identify a new insect-defense mechanism.” (Monique Brouillette,

Beepocalypse myth handbook: Assessing claims of pollinator collapse. (Jon Entine,

7 vegetable seed packets, fanned out on wood table.
Seed packets. Photo: OSU

Learn the terms on seed packets to make the right selection. (Kym Pokorny, OSU; via Nichole Sanchez, OSU)

Houseplant Hubub: The rage about variegation. (John Porter,

Gardening with Native Plants book inspires perennial passions (Linda Chalker-Scott). (WSU)

Insects in flight-11 incredible species in SLOW MOTION-Watch!  “Takeoff and flight sequences of insects spanning 5 different taxonomic orders captured at 3,200 fps!” (Ant Lab, via Youtube)

The bumble bees of the Oregon Bee Atlas.  Watch the video! (Lincoln Best, via Youtube)

Stickiness is a weapon some plants use to fend off hungry insects. (Eric Lopresti, the

Natural wonder: Wing ‘clap’ solves mystery of butterfly flight. (Matt McGrath,

Extension foresters note trend in redwood plantings, plan needs assessment. (Alicia Christiansen, OSU Extension)

Adult spotted lanternfly, sitting on a thumb
Adult spotted lanternfly. Photo: University of Maryland

Five things to know about: Spotted Lanternfly – Oregon IPM Center.  See the video. (Christ Hedstrom, OSU via Youtube)

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

Caterpillars mimic leaves or offer rewards for protection by ants.  “Study reveals different forms of interaction between insect groups: some caterpillar species have bodies covered with molecules identical to those of the plants they inhabit and are ‘invisible’ to ants.” (

Clod of soil
Clod of soil. Photo: Rachel Werling

Soil: The dirty secrets of a living landscape. (Gordon Jones, Scott Goode, OSU; EM 9304)

What food and gardens trends are predicted for 2021? (Samantha Murray, US/IFAS)

Move over murder hornets:  There’s a new bug in town- at it’s coming for your lawn. (Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times)

Catching hope: Possible ally in fight against harmful fruit fly discovered in Asian giant hornet trap (Karla Salp,WSDA)

Extremely rare, one-of-a-kind flower found in Maui’s rugged mountains. (Mark Price, Sacramento Bee)

This drone sniffs out odors with a real moth antenna. “Researchers slap a living antenna on a drone to give the machine an insanely keen sense of smell. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the ‘Smellicopter.’” (Matt Simon, Wired)

Trips on salal leaves
Trips on salal. Photo: Jay Pscheidt, OSU

Thrips on Salal.  The following is OSU Plant Pathologist Jay Pscheidt’s response to a client regarding damage on Salal: “We have heard about this in the south west part of the state near the coast. The cause is not azalea lace bug (although the damage is surprisingly similar) but the greenhouse thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis. As the common name suggests, this pest is predominantly associated with greenhouses in temperate climates as it is supposedly not cold hardy. It can be a significant pest in warmer climates, such as California in the avocado areas and in Florida. It predominantly attacks shrubs or trees. We’ve seen it in greenhouses for years but found it in outside samples from Hoyt Arboretum several years ago. Many years ago, it was causing substantial landscape damage in the Seattle area to viburnum and salal among other shrubs.” (Jay Pscheidt Facebook 1-4-21) PNW Disease Management Handbook:

Meet the World’s Least-Charismatic Orchid. “This newly described species has been dubbed “the ugliest.” (Jessica Leigh Hester, Atlas Obscura)

WSU Extension publications has a wealth of peer reviewed gardening information.  Check out a sampling:

Do Black Walnut Trees Have Allelopathic Effects on Other Plants? (Home Garden Series) (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

Epsom Salt Use in Home Gardens and Landscapes. (Dr. Linda Chalker- Scott, Rich Guggenheim, WSU)

Gypsum Use in Home Gardens and Landscapes. (Dr. Linda-Chalker-Scott, Rich Guggenheim WSU

Home Pruning: Reasons to Prune Trees and Shrubs (Home Gardening Series.) Tim Kohlhauff, WSU; et al.

Hugelkultur: What is it, and should it be used in home gardens?  “Hügelkultur is an increasingly popular way of using organic material to create mounded home gardens and landscapes.” (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

Convergens lady beetle
Convergens lady beetle. Photo: OSU

Lady Beetles: Should We Buy Them For Our Gardens? (Home Garden Series.)  “Lady beetles are a popular biocontrol method for aphids in home gardens and landscapes. Many gardeners purchase these insects at nurseries, garden centers, and online.” (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, Michael R. Bush, WSU)

Vegetables: Growing Peppers in Home Gardens (Home Garden Series.)   “Looking for a way to spice up your home garden? There are few vegetables more colorful or easier to grow than peppers.” (Michael R. Bush, WSU; et al)

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

Open hands with palms holding corn gluten meal.
Corn Gluten Meal. Photo: University of Connecticut

Cornmeal magic – the myth that will not die.  Learn the facts! (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU)

The complicated issue of heavy metals in residential soils, part 2: How plant species and environmental variables complicate the issue. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott,

Soil Myth Busting for Extension Educators: Reviewing the Literature on Soil Nutrition. (Dr. Linda-Chalker Scott, WSY ; A.J. Downer, U of CA via

Reviewing the literature on tree planting- Landscape Trees. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU & A. J. Downer, U of CA; via

Soil Myth Busting for Extension Educators: Reviewing the literature Soil Structure and Functionality. (Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU & A. J. Downer, U of CA via

Check out some new and exciting new plants! (National Garden Bureau)

The horrors of mass-produced bee houses. (Note: while a commercial, has useful info and links) (Collin

Blueberry plant with ripening berries.
‘Legacy’ blueberry. Photo: Bernadine Strik, OSU

REVISED PUBLICATION: Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden. (Bernadine Strik, OSU; et al: EC 1304)

Hummingbird Drone Films Half a Billion Monarch Butterflies Taking Flight. (

Just for fun: Bugs and Organisms look like Monsters Under a Microscope.  Ever wondered what an ant or wasp looked like up close?  Have a look! (

Soil fungi act like a support network for trees. New research is first to show that growth rate of adult trees is linked to fungal networks colonizing their roots. (U of Alberta, via

Pollinators of Butterfly Bush (and Other Questions) (stillca, OSU)

20 Questions on Plant Diagnosis– “This is the third fact sheet in a series of 10 designed to provide an overview of key concepts in plant pathology. Plant pathology is the study of plant disease including the reasons why plants get sick and how to control or manage healthy plants.” (Joe Boggs, Ohio State, et al)

Golden foliage of larch trees in forest of evergreen trees form a smiling face in the midst of the dark green foliage of the evergreen trees.
Larch among Douglas Fir. Photo: Jay Pscheidt, OSU

The Deciduous Conifer Conundrum. (

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

Cover of OSU Publication EM 9297
New OSU publication EM 9297

Asian Giant Hornet: A potential threat to honeybee colonies in Oregon
New OSU publication outlines identification, life cycle, and predatory habits of the Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia).  Along with recommendations for reporting a suspected sighting in the Pacific Northwest. (Ellen Topitzhofer, Chris Hedstrom, Priyadarshini Chakrabarti, Andony Melathopoulos, Silvia I. Rondon, Gail A. Langellotto-Rhodaback, Ramesh R. Sagili)

Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis. “Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.” (Rodrigo Perez Ortega,

Spiders, cobwebs proliferate this time of year; here’s why (plus fascinating spider myths and info.) (

View of the Columbia River Gorge, with haze caused from forest fire.
Columbia Gorge Fire, PNW Disease Handbook

Air Pollution: Ozone. (Jay Pschdeit, PNW Disease Handbook)

Volcanic Rock Yields a New Kind of Insecticide for Mosquitoes. (John P. Roche

A Field Guide to Finding Cool Moths. (Ken Keffer,

Bumblebees Are Larger in Cities, Study Finds-Bigger bees have larger brains and are better pollinators. (Mary Jo DiLonardo,

Moth Fur Is the Ultimate Acoustic Armor. It muffles the clicks of ravenous, echolocating bats. (Matthew Taub,

Yellowjacket, OSU

Be Yellowjacket Aware. (Amanda Brenner, Lauren Grad, OSU)

Female Dragonflies Play Dead To Avoid Having Sex, New Video Shows.  Researchers believe this is a survival tactic which is rare- “Sexual death feigning.” (Annie Garau,

A 194-year-old apple tree, the matriarch of the Northwest apple industry, has died. (CNN via

Selecting quality trees from the nursery. (Edward F. Gilman, and Laura Sadowski, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL)

Some like it hot… but most do not: How high temperatures delay pollination and ripening. (John Porter,

Squash blossom with sun shining on the blossoms.
Squash blossom, OSU

Bumblebees hate pumpkin pollen, which may help pumpkins (Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell U)

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)

Environmental Injury: Winter Burn of Evergreens. (Marianne Ophardt & Rita Hummel, WSU)

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)

Beetles and Wasps vie for title of most diverse critter. (Nell Greenfield Boyce,

Longevity study reveals why ancient trees can stave off death.  “New research “can help us better understand the concept of time in biology.”

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,

Photo: Bernadine Strik, OSU

REVISED PUBLICATION: Growing Strawberries in your Home Garden. (Bernadine Strik, et al; OSU)

Gall fly outmaneuvers host plant in game of ‘Spy vs. Spy.’ (Sara LaJeunesse, Penn State U)

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)

Amber specimens reveal vivid color of 99-million-year-old insects. (

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

Ants on Peony flowers: an enduring myth.  Do ants harm peonies? (Old Farmers

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)

Lichen. Photo: OSU

Nature and pollution: what lichens tell us about toxic air. By Beth Askham, Natural History Museum)

Study in Philadelphia links growth in tree canopy to decrease in human mortality. (USDA Forest Service)

Tomato’s hidden mutations in study of 100 varieties (

A Bee C: Scientists translate honeybee queen duets. (Victoria Gill, BBC News)