Ask a Master Gardener

Earthworms

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

I was cleaning up my garden for winter and I noticed a lot of earthworms. Is this a problem or a good thing? SW
Up until about March of this year, the Master Gardeners taught classes in elementary schools throughout Tulsa County. That of course changed because of Covid-19. But, my favorite class to teach to the kids was our class on earthworms. We affectionately call it Worms to the Wise.
In this class not only do the kids learn a lot about worms, but there is a hands-on portion that...

Crape Myrtle Bark Scale

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

My crape myrtle has white spots on the bark and a lot of black leaves. What is going on? OS
What you are describing are classic symptoms of crape myrtle bark scale (Acanthococcus lagerstroemiae). Crape myrtle bark scale (CMBS) was first detected in northern Texas back in 2004 and spread to our area primarily through the movement of nursery plants. With wholesale yearly sales of nearly $50 million dollars a year, crape myrtles are one of our more popular plants. That’s a lot of plants moving...

Armyworms

Sunday, October 25, 2020

I’ve got these inch-long caterpillars devouring my turf and some of my plants. What are these things and how do I get rid of them? PJ
The insect you are describing is likely the fall armyworm. These caterpillars are larvae on their way to becoming a moth. Interestingly, these insects do not overwinter here in Oklahoma as many insects do, they fly south in search of warmer climates in the Gulf Coast, Texas, or Mexico, only to return the following year. Their return trip usually brings them...

Fall Webworms

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Every year I seem to get these caterpillars with large webs in my trees. What can I do to get rid of them? JK
The insect you are describing is known as the fall webworm. Some years they are really prevalent and seem to be everywhere on almost every tree. This year isn’t so bad, unless of course they are on your trees.
These insects can be found in most of North America, Europe, Asia, and northern Mexico. They are present all over Oklahoma but seem to be more prevalent in the eastern part...

Fall Bulbs for Spring Color

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Each spring I see the beautiful tulips and regret not planting them the previous fall. Any suggestion on how I should start gardening with bulbs? AR
I was late to the spring bulb party but now that I am in, it’s great fun. Now is the right time to start preparing and getting your bulbs.
Bulbs can be found at most of the local garden centers and the mail order houses still have a good supply. One thing that beginners with bulbs tend to overlook is bloom time. Different bulbs bloom at different...

Re-seeding Fescue

Sunday, October 11, 2020

It seems like my fescue does great during the winter and spring, but then struggles during the summer? What am I doing wrong? MW
Actually, you are probably doing most things right, but let’s talk about that.
As far as turf is concerned, Tulsa lives in the in-between. Above us is great for fescue and below us is great for Bermuda. But right here, things can get complicated.
Fescue is our go-to grass for shady areas, but in reality, all turf grass needs sun. It likes cooler weather,...

Flowers for Fall

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

I have loved my summer annuals and would like to keep the color going. What would you recommend? JD
Now is about the time when many of our annuals are starting to look a little tired. They have been troopers all spring and summer, but the heat has taken its toll and it’s time to start thinking about winter replacements…if we are so inclined. And, whenever gardeners think fall color, the first two plants that come to mind are pansies and mums.
Pansies are great for many reasons. One of...

Beneficial Wasps

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

My husband says I have an irrational fear of wasps and that some are “beneficial.” Is there really such a thing as a good wasp? SC
A lot of people have a fear of anything that can sting, especially wasps. I was in this camp until a few years back but then I began to become more open minded about our insect friends, even though I got stung by one a few weeks ago. In reality, it was my fault for accidentally messing with its home, but that’s another story.
But yes, there are several wasps...

Planting Trees and Shrubs

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

I am wanting to add some more trees and shrubs to my landscape, and someone told me that Fall was the best time to plant those. Is that true? JD
It seems counter-intuitive, but yes Fall is the best time to plant most trees and shrubs. The reason is that when we plant trees and shrubs in the fall, they have the Fall, Winter, and Spring to develop a root system that will help them survive our Oklahoma Summers. You can plant trees and shrubs at other times, but you will really have to ramp up...

Using Pre-Emergents in Your Lawn

Sunday, September 13, 2020

I had so much crab grass in my lawn this year. Is there anything I can do now to help with that problem for next year? MC
Weeds can be so frustrating as they seem to be a constant battle. But there is something you can do right now to help for next year. You can apply a weed pre-emergent.
Two of the more popular pre-emergent products for grassy weeds are pendamethalin and prodiamine (scientific names - you’ll have to read the label on the pre-emergent product). For broadleaf weeds you...