Friday, April 28, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Link to Fascinating Article from the New York Times

Click here to read the article: Tomatillo Fossils, 52 Million Years Old, Are Discovered in Patagonia

Fossilized tomatillos.  Photo credit - Nicholas St. Fleur
For those of you who might be interested in growing your own tomatillos, they will be available at the Master Gardener plant sale on May 6th at the Benton County Fairgrounds beginning at 9:00.  Come early, some of the plants sell out fast.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A CBUF Guide to Caring for Your Trees

About your new trees:
A CBUF* guide to caring for your street trees
*Civic Beautification and Urban Forestry advisory committee
The first part has been completed and your new trees are in the ground. If you do the following you can insure that your trees will survive and thrive.
Water: Later in the spring city parks staff will attach water bags to your tree. All you need to do is fill the bags up once per week starting in May and continuing through Labor Day. Research shows that trees that are watered regularly for the first three summers after planting have better growth and survival than trees that are not watered. By the end of the third summer the city staff will remove the water bags and you can let the trees fend for themselves.
Water bags are pretty tough but they do need some maintenance. They are designed with tiny holes in the base of the bag to allow water to ooze out over a period of hours. Often by the end of summer algae growth inside the bag may plug the holes and water will not empty out of the bag. If this happens you can poke three or four new holes in the bottom of the bag using a small diameter nail. 
Water bags sometimes develop unwanted holes and lose water too fast. If you see large leaks they can be sealed reasonably well by applying duct tape over the leaky spot. Make sure the bag surface is clean and dry before applying the tape.

Water bags hold about 20 gallons of water. Place a hose in the slit at the top of the bag and let it run until the bag overflows.
Weekly watering from Memorial Day through Labor Day is the goal. If you forget to water just start again when you remember.
In very dry springs and the first spring after planting, you may have to start watering in early May.

Mulch and weed: At the time of planting, the trees are mulched with wood chips to help conserve soil moisture and allow early root growth to occur without competition from grass. The mulch zone also prevents trunk damage from lawnmowers that may collide with your trees.
Your job is to maintain a grass free zone, three feet in diameter or larger, for the first three years. Regular mulching will help but hand weeding will likely be necessary at least once per year. It’s okay to apply 3” thick mulch every year but be careful not to pile mulch right at the base of the tree trunk.
If you fail to keep up with mulching and hand weeding and the grass grows around the tree trunk do not use a weed eater to remove the grass because the strings will damage the vascular tissue located just beneath the thin bark of the young trees. This will stunt tree growth and may even kill the tree if the entire stem is girdled.  Hand weeding is the preferred way to remove grass around the base of the trunk.
If you choose to apply a non-selective herbicide to kill unwanted grass, be sure to follow label directions exactly and avoid directly spraying the base of the tree trunk.

A 3-4” mulch of bark or wood chips and periodic weeding will keep the area around the base of the tree weed free. It will also create a buffer zone to keep lawnmowers from running into the trunk.



Once grass grows right up to the tree trunk, the best way to remove it is by hand. Avoid using a string trimmer because it will damage the vascular tissue located beneath the bark and stunt tree growth or even kill the tree.

Keep an eye out for problems: Inspect your trees periodically to make sure they are healthy. If damage occurs from disease, insects, or vandalism contact the city arborist and a staff member will come out to check on your tree. Occasionally, new trees fail to leaf out or die shortly after leafing out during the first spring. If you notice this please contact the city arborist so arrangements can be made to replace the tree.

Feel free to contact your Corvallis City Forester if you have any questions or concerns: 
Jon Pywell (541-754-1723),

Sunday, April 9, 2017

NPKs in the Gazette!

In case you didn't get to see our story in the paper on Thursday, here it is.  Click this link to read the story.  Thanks so much to Jim Day and Andy Cripe for writing and photographing our story.  Just one small correction - The first grant was actually from the Evening Garden Club.  Master Gardeners gave us our second grant.

This has truly been a community project and we are very grateful to our many kind and generous sponsors:



Much appreciated donations and discounts from:  Sherwin Williams, Mick’s Glass, Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Home Depot, Spaeth, Element Graphics, and Office Depot