Educational programs offered throughout the year are designed to keep growers current in their areas of interest. Growers learn about new plant varieties, planting techniques, and what grants are available for their operations. Throughout the year there are various field days for growers to have hands on education concerning the crops they are interested in.
One meeting that offers something for everyone is the annual Horticulture Industries Show. This two-day meeting provides lectures and a trade show for members of grower associations and newcomers in the following areas: Christmas trees, pecans, tree fruit, small fruit, vegetables, farmers marketing, sustainable agriculture and herb growing. This event is usually held the first or second Friday and Saturday of January and alternates yearly between Tulsa and Fort Smith, Ark. Contact the Tulsa County Cooperative Extension office at (918) 746-3707 in early November for details.
Upcoming events are announced on our website calendar, as well as in local newspapers and on local radio programs. Call (918) 746-3700 or sign up for our county newsletter to have your name added to our mailing lists.
Tulsa Master Gardeners
There are Master Gardener programs in 45 states. These programs serve the important function of providing trained volunteers to assist in providing information and support to home gardeners and the community. The Tulsa Master Gardener Program is sponsored, trained and supervised by the OSU Cooperative Extension Service which has offices in all 77 Oklahoma Counties.
The principal purpose of the Foundation shall be to organize, maintain, promote, support, encourage and assist with finances that enrich the Master Gardener programs in Tulsa County and its surrounding communities and to promote and educate the public on the benefits of sound and beneficial horticultural practices.
For more information on the program, how to become a member, lawn & garden care, events and more, visit the Tulsa Master Gardeners website.
Plant Disease Diagnostics
Through the OSU Extension office we can access OSU's Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab as well as discuss problems with experts in the entomology department. Samples are scanned and sent, via e-mail, to the OSU Stillwater campus for a quick, visual analysis and online consulting. If needed, we can then mail in actual samples for further diagnostic analysis. Also available is a digital diagostics database to view information on insects/arthropods and plant diseases.
Horticulture - Soil Test Instructions
Before you invest $10 in a soil test, remember the following:
- A soil test rarely reveals the sole cause of decline or death in trees and shrubs. In the vast majority of cases, problems with trees and shrubs are due to disease, insects, herbicide damage or poor growing conditions. Examples of poor growing conditions are too wet, too dry, poor drainage, planted in the wrong location (shade plant in sunny area), etc.
- Even without a soil test, you can confidently fertilize trees and shrubs with a coated time release fertilizer such as OSMOCOTE (tm) 14-14-14 each spring (April or May) at the rate of 1.5 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet under and around plants.
- To help diagnose problems, we have trained Master Gardeners on staff. They can provide you with valuable information on growing trees, shrubs, lawns and gardens in this area. They are on duty Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached at 918-746-3701 or 918-746-3707.
A soil test will provide the pH, N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium levels) of the soil. If you have recently fertilized, you must wait two months before collecting a soil sample for a test.
It is very important how a soil sample is collected and brought into the office so please follow the instructions below.
Instructions for Taking a Soil Sample
- Do not take the top 2 inches of soil. Go down 3 to 6 inches to get soil.
- Take samples from 5 or more random areas (more for a bigger area) zig-zagging across. Take a cup of soil from each of these areas.
- Mix all samples together in a clean container.
- Take 1 pint of soil from the mixture to bring in. Soil must be DRY, with no rocks, sticks or grass in the sample.
- Soil tests are $10 each. It takes 2 to 3 weeks to get the results back.
Bring soil samples to the Tulsa County OSU Extension Office, 4116 E. 15th St., (on 15th, between Harvard and Yale) or call (918) 746-3701 for more information. If you print and fill out the online request form, bring it with you to turn in. Request forms are also available at the OSU Extension Office.
- Abuzz with Bees
Keeping honeybees can be either a rewarding hobby or a full-time enterprise. Northeast Oklahoma Beekeepers Association, (NEOBA), is one of our local groups of enthusiasts.
When are meetings/classes?
NEOBA has several meetings every month and a series of classes, "Starting Right with Bees", repeats five times during the fall and winter and is held at the Tulsa County OSU Extension Center.
For more information concerning classes, raising bees, ordering supplies, capturing bee swarms or joining NEOBA, please contact NEOBA. The beekeepers association also has an excellent monthly newsletter What's Buzzin' which details beekeeping maintenance throughout the calendar year.
What to do if you see a honeybee swarm...
Honeybees routinely split their colony to make more room in the hive. Half of the bees leave with the queen and fly to a nearby tree or shrub where they remain clustered tightly around the queen while scouts search for new lodging.
While in a swarm bees are very docile. They have filled their bodies with honey to survive the move to a new home. This condition makes it very hard for them to bend their bodies to sting someone. If a swarm is spotted please contact the Extension office at (918) 746-3707 for a list of beekeepers that citizens can call for advice or to pick up a swarm. After picking up the swarm the beekeeper will gather it into a new hive and begin a new colony. By all means, do NOT panic, this is a natural occurrence for honey bees and should not pose a threat. In fact, if nothing is done, the bees will move on after a few hours.
- Natural Resource Management
The Tulsa County OSU Extension staff is committed to sound use of our land and water resources. We work closely with the Tulsa County Conservation District in several joint programs throughout the year in the areas of pesticide safety, stream bank stabilization and protecting trees at construction sites.
- Tree and Small Fruit Resources
P.O. Box 77
Afton, VA 22920
1065 Messinger Rd.
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527
391 Butts Road
Morton, WA 98356
Stark Brothers Nursery (Request a commercial grower's catalog.)
P.O. Box 10
Louisiana, MO 63353
Womack's Nursery (A source for trees in southern Oklahoma)
Rt. 1, Box 80
DeLeon, TX 76444
For detailed information on sustainable orchard management (using a minimum of pesticides) consider contacting ATTRA (Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural America). Based in Fayetteville, AR, ATTRA is a national clearinghouse of information on sustainable agriculture. 1- (800) 346-9140
- Pecan Tree Resources
Tulsa County ranks in the top three of major pecan producing counties in Oklahoma. Over 80 percent of our production are native pecans that grow throughout our river and creek bottom areas in and around Tulsa. Many growers have also grafted seedling trees with improved varieties (papershells). These nuts grow larger and, sometimes, bear pecans more reliably.
The Tulsa County OSU Extension office has a wealth of information on raising and managing pecans. Landowners with commercial interests in pecans are welcome to call for free field consultations. Contact Kenda Woodburn, (918) 746-3716, for more details.
Additional sources of pecan information:
The Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association (OPGA) is an educational and advocacy group that gives a voice to Oklahoma's pecan industry. Grower membership is $75 per year, which includes a very informative quarterly newsletter, subscription to Pecan South magazine and discounts on registration at the annual OPGA meeting. Held every June, this two-day meeting includes educational talks, a trade show and an excellent "hands-on" field day.
To join contact:
Oklahoma Pecan Growers Assn.
2115 N. Dobi
Stillwater, OK 74075
Or email them at email@example.com.
Pecan Management websites:
Sources of Pecan Equipment and Chemicals:
Pecan and Agriculture Equipment, Inc.
118 E. 8th St.
400 N Industrial Road
Madill, Oklahoma 73446
Helena Chemical Company
- Vegetable and Small Fruit Production Resources
Oklahoma has three distinct vegetable growing seasons--two short, cool seasons in spring and fall and one long, warm season beginning around April 15. One grower can grow and manage an acre or two of vegetables or small fruits, grown for the local markets. Larger operations will require more labor to harvest these perishable products. Although many vegetables will thrive in the Oklahoma climate, the major fresh-market vegetables grown here are tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, green beans, squash, potatoes, onions and pumpkins.
Our climate is so variable that drip irrigation, wind protection and attention to spring and fall frosts are essential for success. Insect and disease pressure is high in northeast Oklahoma due to our mild winters and humid climate.
There are several ways to sell produce and small fruits in the Tulsa area. At a farm-based Pick-Your-Own operation or roadside stand, at a Farmers Market such as the Collinsville or Cherry Street Farmers Markets or producers can sell wholesale to various local roadside markets, centered around Bixby, OK. Some independent grocers also purchase locally-grown produce.
Sources of information:
- OSU Extension Fact Sheets
- American Vegetable Grower magazine (407) 537-6552
- Growing for Market newsletter (913) 841-2559
- Greenhouse Production Resources
With abundant sunshine and low-cost fuel, Oklahoma is a great place for greenhouse production. Cooperative Extension has a wealth of fact sheets containing information on locating and choosing materials, as well as outfitting and managing greenhouses.
OSU Extension Fact Sheets offer tips and techniques on growing bedding plants, herbs, perennials, house plants, potted floral crops, and greenhouse grown cut flowers, the primary crops raised in Oklahoma greenhouses.
A two and-a-half day greenhouse production short course, sponsored annually by OSU and the Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association (OGGA) is an excellent way to enter this rapidly growing part of the industry. The course is held each June; to enroll contact the OSU Horticulture Department.
To join OGGA contact: Oklahoma Greenhouse Growers Association, 400 N. Portland, Oklahoma City, OK 73107.
The Oklahoma Botanical Garden Arboretum, based at the OSU Horticulture Department at the Stillwater campus offers a wealth of year-round courses and field days for the ornamentals industry. Check out the Horticulture website for a current listing of upcoming events.
- Christmas Tree Resources
Oklahoma Christmas tree production involves two main species of trees: The Virginia Pine and Scotch Pine. Trees are planted as seedlings and while growing over a six-or-seven-year period are watered, weeded, sprayed for pests, and pruned into a classic Christmas tree shape.
Most operations start out small with just a few acres of trees. The site needs to be well drained as pines do not tolerate standing water.
As harvest approaches Christmas tree farms open up for "choose and cut" sales to shoppers. It's an outing for most families, so host farms provide additional items for holiday decor. They also serve hot cider and cocoa or cookies to add to the festive atmosphere. Many who have additional acreage offer hayrides to families and groups.
This is a people-oriented business. Unlike the Northern states, most trees here are sold at retail prices. Generally, the trees are not sold wholesale for distant shipping points.
The Oklahoma Christmas Tree Association meets several times a year.
For more details on Christmas Tree culture stop by the Tulsa County Extension office or read the OSU Extension Fact Sheet, Selection and Care of Christmas Trees.
For home gardening and landscape (home horticulture) information visit the Tulsa Master Gardener website.