Sunday, January 20, 2019 0 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Plan Now For a Spring Vegetable Garden

Planning for a Spring Vegetable Garden
Brian Jervis: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Q: What suggestions do you have for those of us starting to plan for our spring gardens this year? Also, what resources are available? Lisa P., Tulsa
A: Because it’s so cold and dreary and not much fun to be outside, this is a great time to begin making your spring gardening plans for the new year.
One simple thing you can do is to review your experiences from previous years. What worked? Why did it work? What didn’t work? Why didn’t it work? What do I want to do the same and different this year?
If you are growing vegetable crops, which crops prospered? Which ones struggled? Which pests caused the most trouble? How can I better control them? Did my garden take too much of my time? Should I make some adjustments in how I water and care for my garden?
One of the things we hope will become an even more valuable resource to you than it was in the past is the sort of new Tulsa Master Gardener website ( It’s celebrating its one-year anniversary. We’ve spent a lot of time updating the interface to be more user-friendly and have uploaded an abundance of gardening resources to help you become a more successful gardener.
In our Lawn & Garden Help section, you will find information on a variety of topics, such as general landscaping, flowers, trees and shrubs, soil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, berries, insects and butterfly gardens. You will also find sections on organic and Earth-kind practices, types of gardens, fertilizers and pesticides, pruning, composting, water conservation, etc.
If your plans for the year include a vegetable garden, we have information and videos on which varieties do well in our area, the best times to plant, garden layouts, how to plant tomatoes, etc. If your plans include flowers, we have recommendations for annuals and perennials that do well in our area.
We are fully aware there is a lot of information available on the internet about gardening, but it is sometimes hard to determine if the advice or suggestion is appropriate for our area. On our site, you will know the information you read or the instructional videos you watch will be university research-based information appropriate for the Tulsa County gardening community. Here are three of the more popular OSU Fact Sheets for your reading pleasure during these cold days. Simply Google them.
 HLA-6005 Oklahoma Garden Planning Guide
 HLA-6408 Landscape Maintenance Schedule
 HLA-6033 Raised Bed Gardening
However, our website is not the only way we can help you prepare for this new year. Our Diagnostic Center is staffed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday with Master Gardeners who would love to share what they know about gardening. You can call us or email your questions via the information below. We hope you have a great garden this year and would love to help.

Garden tips
  • Several early season vegetables are grown from seeds and planted as sprouts or transplants. Some examples are cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, head lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Most of these take 5-7 weeks from planting indoors until ready for transplanting into the garden. Onions take a little longer to grow.
  • Of these, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce and onions sprouts should be set out from mid-February to mid-March. Plant broccoli sprouts in March. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants need warmth and suggested planting time is mid-April, although many people take a gamble and plant earlier, depending on the weather. Look for seeds at local gardening centers or online now.
  • Even though there may be adequate moisture in the ground, it is normal for evergreen broad-leaved shrubs to appear “wilted” during extreme cold. This is rapidly reversible after the temperatures warm. This is a way some plants have in dealing with the cold.
  • Try to keep fallen leaves off newly seeded fescue. Fescue is capable of growing roots in winter unless the ground gets extremely cold. A good root system will help fescue to better tolerate the heat next summer. In order to grow roots, the grass needs sunlight.

Sunday, January 6, 2019 1 comments By: Ask A Master Gardener

Options For Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas Tree Disposal
Allen Robinson: Ask a Master Gardener
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Q: Now that the holidays are winding down, what options do I have for disposing of my live-cut Christmas tree? William L., Tulsa
A: There are several options for disposal of your live-cut tree after the holidays. However, some are more environmentally friendly than others. Most options involve removing all of the ornaments, tinsel and flocking (if possible) before disposal.
The best option is to trim the smaller branches from your tree and place in the garden as mulch. They will decay over time and you will not only reap the benefits of mulch but also the nutrients that it adds back to the soil. These limbs also may be added to your compost pile as a source of green material to help balance the brown material, such as dead leaves. Green materials (for the nitrogen source) and brown materials (for the carbon source) are needed for the microbes that break down the composted material. The larger limbs and stems must be used elsewhere.
For the fisherman, sinking a bundle of evergreen trees creates a “hot-spot” or “magnet” in your favorite fishing hole. Crappies love them. The whole tree may be added, usually with others and tied together, weighted with a concrete block and dropped into your favorite spot, if allowed.
Another option is to use the old tree as a temporary winter bird refuge, sanctuary and feeding station. The fronds of needles make a good temporary shelter from wind and predators. Treats, such as peanut butter, suet and seed mixtures can be added as winter food for the birds.
The last option before placing the tree at curbside collection is to take it to the city of Tulsa’s Mulch Site, 2100 N. 145th East Ave. This site is open seven days a week, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., excluding city holidays. Only green waste is accepted, such as trees, limbs, grass clippings and leaves. All are shredded for mulch. Non-organic material, such as Christmas decorations, lights, tinsel and flocking is not allowed.
The waste site produces huge amounts of mulch, which is available to anyone. There may even be a machine to help load your truck. Wood that can be cut/split for firewood is available in a firewood cutting area, but you must bring your own tools. There is no charge for these services for Tulsa residents. You must have a valid driver’s license or a utility bill showing a Tulsa address; otherwise, there is a small fee. Think about this ... you could take a load of neighborhood trees to the site and perhaps come home with a load of free mulch and/or free firewood.
Lastly, the city of Tulsa curbside pickup service will collect trees. In December and January, residents may put trees at the curb on their primary collection day. All decorations must be removed, and the trees need to be cut into 4-foot sections to fit into the hopper of the refuse trucks. This collection is not for artificial trees, which need to go in the gray trash cart. The live trees are not actually recycled but, instead, are incinerated along with the other green waste collected in Tulsa.
Garden tips
 Any green weed in dormant (brown) Bermuda lawns may now be sprayed with glyphosate, found in Roundup and many other products. This will kill anything green, but will not hurt the Bermuda. Note that glyphosate cannot be used on dormant Zoysia grass or tall fescue lawns at any time.
 Control overwintering insects on deciduous trees or shrubs with horticultural oil sprays in dormant concentrations. Apply when the temperature is above 40°F in late fall and winter. Do not use “dormant” oils on evergreens.
 Ornamental perennial grasses, such as pampas grass, may be cut back to 4-6 inches anytime in winter. However, because of winter attractiveness, most gardeners choose to wait until early spring to cut them back. All the dead tops of these grasses should be removed by early spring, allowing sun to get to new growth.
 Liriope or "monkey grass" — which is not a grass, but in the lily family — stays green year-round. It benefits from trimming to 2-3 inches before new growth begins in spring. Liriope and all ornamental grasses will benefit from nitrogen fertilizer in the spring when pruned.
 Prune fruit trees in January, February and March. OSU has a good fact sheet on pruning fruit trees: "Annual Pruning of Fruit Trees".