Master Gardeners

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October meeting

Monthly meetings continue October 25, for an evening of rose-y fun and information with Maryann Beirne's Confessions of a Rose Torturer. Please join us!

Happy pollinators

Please join Carol Horning on Saturday, October 15 for our free annual Mason Bee workshop. You'll see a Powerpoint presentation on the life and times of mason bees, watch a demonstration of how to wash mites off their cocoons (who knew you could give bees a bath - or that they'd appreciate your efforts!), and have a guided tour of the Beneficial Insects plots in the Marion Demonstration Garden.

The workshop runs from 9 to noon in the Fresh Start Market Community Room, just east and slightly behind the market itself.

Pre-registration is requested. Please call the Master Gardeners Help desk, 503-373-3770 between 10 and 2 daily, or Marion County Extension, 503-588-5301, outside Master Gardener hours. We hope to see you there!

Changing times

Beginning Thursday, September 1, Master Gardeners will be available Monday thru Friday from 10 am to 2 pm. If you can't get there by 2, you can leave specimens with the front desk at the Extension office.

A new-to-Oregon disease

You may have seen or heard recent news stories regarding the detection of Xylella fastidiosa in a Hood River County pear orchard. In addition to that orchard, trees at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository, which were the scionwood source for the Hood River County trees, tested positive for the bacterium. This is of great concern because the bacterium may cause severe disease on a broad range of tree, bush, and vine crops. The bacterium was not previously known to occur in Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture has established an emergency 180-day quarantine that restricts the movement of plants and other propagative material of pear and other potential hosts. For home gardeners, “propagative material” is usually scion wood for grafting. The quarantine applies to Benton, Hood River, Jackson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Washington, and Yamhill Counties. Violation of the quarantine is punishable by fines of up to $10,000. The quarantine does not apply to fruit.

ODA has prepared an information leaflet on the bacterium, including a list of the primary hosts for this disease. If you have questions about the quarantine, contact the ODA Plant Health Program – (503) 958-4620. If you plan to purchase trees or scion wood from out of state, you are encouraged to call this ODA office for guidance in identifying disease-free sources.

The quarantine applies specifically to nurseries, but you can help by:  not trading or transporting pear plants or scion wood across county lines, being on the lookout for any unusual symptoms on your pear trees, and contacting your local Extension office if you see sudden, unusual, leaf-scorch like symptoms on hardwood trees in your yard.

Winter Cutworm

This is a relatively new species to Oregon, but has now been identified by OSU entomologists. This particular species is much more active in colder temperatures compared to armyworm and other cutworm species that we are more familiar with in western Oregon.  There is a brief Alert bulletin which includes basic biology, photos for identification, and management information. This pest will likely have greatest impact on commercial growers, but may also prove troublesome to home gardeners. If you have questions, please contact the Extension Office.

Marion Demonstration Garden

The Garden is always open, and you're welcome to drop by any time. If you would just like to get on-site information about the garden in various seasons, you can stop by any day there's a work party (Tuesdays Jan-April, Mondays the rest of the year). Work parties happen rain or shine, and you're welcome to ask any of the Master Gardeners your questions. The Garden is located south of the parking lot at 3180 Center St NE in Salem. We hope to see you there!

The Master Gardeners have been transplanted!

The OSU Extension Office moved in 2015 to the new Farm Bureau building, 1320 Capitol St NE, one block north of Market St. And of course, the Master Gardener's Help Desk has moved there too.

If you have a question, you're welcome to stop by during our regular office hours. You can also call us at 503-373-3770 or drop us an e-mail.  We love finding answers!

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We get questions...

OSU provides an excellent calendar of tasks for various seasons, helping gardeners plan activities throughout the year. There is also an archive of helpful articles on a wide variety of gardening topics in the OSU Gardening Encyclopedia. Dip into these useful resources for tips and inspiration.

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What is this plant?

This question is usually accompanied by a leaf, a twig, sometimes even a whole plant. Master Gardeners on the Help Desk can usually make an identification, at least after a bit of research. This applies whether the unidentified is a weed or a wanted plant.

For best results, please bring in a good-sized section of the plant, preferably with either blossom or fruit/seeds attached. If possible, a section of root, or a bulb/tuber can also be helpful. Many plants are very similar in appearance, so having several parts to work with definitely improves the result.

Unfortunately, we normally cannot identify a particular cultivar; for example, given the above parts, we can't tell you if a blueberry is Earliblue or Bluecrop.

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How can Master Gardeners help you?

Marion County Master Gardeners (MGs) are here to serve our neighbors in a variety of ways:

A large group of dedicated MGs maintain the Marion Garden, located behind the parking lot at 3180 Center St. in Salem. Originally a rubbish dumping ground for the county, it has been transformed in the last 15+ years to an outstanding demonstration garden. Stop by and stroll around for inspiration, information, or just enjoyment. Tuesday mornings January thru April and Monday mornings the balance of the year are the regular time for MG work parties, so there’s usually someone on hand then to answer your questions. Garden tours are also available by appointment.

We also staff the MG Help Desk at the OSU Extension Office, located in the Farm Services Bureau Natural Resources building, 1320 Capitol St. NE. Clients call 503.373.3770, send us an e-mail, or come in with questions regarding plant culture; weed, insect and plant disease identification; and a wide variety of other home gardening issues. Experience, training, and an excellent library, as well as knowledge of online resources, help us provide the answers to most questions. For those outside our range of information, we supply referrals to other agencies and organizations, including our Marion Co. horticulturist, Neil Bell. From October through March, the Help Desk is staffed Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Messages left on our voicemail outside those hours will be answered on the next business day.

During much of the year, MGs also sponsor and staff booths at various fairs, garden shows and farmers’ markets. These serve as a mobile form of the Help Desk, and are an opportunity to find answers to your gardening questions and pick up useful information.

MGs also offer workshops to help with some of those gardening tasks that are best learned from hands-on presentations. Pruning in early spring and beneficial insects in April are recurring topics. Check our Coming Events page for specific information as events draw near.

Many MGs also simply love to talk about gardening. If you have a community group that would like a speaker, please call the Help Desk, 503.373.3770, and leave your name and number for our Speakers’ Bureau coordinator. You also can sample MG information every Thursday morning on Radio KBZY (1490 am) from 8:40 to 9:00 am.

For our younger neighbors, MGs also develop and present gardening programs at area schools in late spring, and host an activity booth at AgFest.

Home gardens come in all shapes, sizes and types of plantings. Please call or stop by to see how Marion County Master Gardeners can help you make yours the garden of your dreams.

Thinking about becoming a Master Gardener?

Click here for general information about the OSU Master Gardener program. Please e-mail Neil Bell, Marion Co. Horticulturist, if you'd like to be placed on the list for 2017 Marion County class information. Classes take place every Monday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for 13 weeks, January through the beginning of April. Trainees then join veteran Master Gardeners in the variety of activities listed above. Each trainee completes over 60 hours of service to our communities before graduating the following December. During much of the year, copies of presentation and supplementary are available on our Class Materials web page (see sidebar menu above on the right), so you can explore the learning available. And please call Neil, 503.373.3765, if you have questions.

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Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

El Servicio de Extensión (Extension Service) de Oregon State University ofrece programas educativos, actividades, y materiales sin discriminación basada sobre edad, color, incapacidades, identidad o expresión de identidad sexual, estado matrimonial, origen nacional, raza, religión, sexo, orientación sexual, o estado de veterano. El Servicio de Extensión de Oregon State University es una institución que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades.