Garden News December 2022

It’s ivy pulling season! 

Left alone, this ivy will kill the tree

Ivy (Hedera species) are evergreen climbing vines. They grow in thick mats, blocking sunlight and preventing other plants from getting established. This creates what is known as an “ivy desert,” where ivy is the only plant that is able to grow.

Luckily, winter is a great time of year to get ivy under control! Plants are easier to pull from the ground when soil is damp from rain. While removing ivy can be hard work, it can be fulfilling on a cold winter’s day!

Learn more about this month’s Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District’s Weed of the Month: tualatinswcd.org/species/ivy.

Ed. Note: as an experienced ivy puller, there are two things to note, both mentioned on the page: don’t try to pull ivy off a tree, it can damage the bark; a little digging will give a very satisfying and effective long roll of ivy!

WCMGA presents three classes in December 

The Dirt on Houseplants and Hanging Baskets

Tuesday, January 3, 7 pm, via Zoom, free, registration required. For more information and to register, please visit our website.

Join the Washington County Master Gardener Association for a webinar on fueling our plant passions with houseplants and hanging baskets. Gardening in the Pacific Northwest’s clay soils is a challenge many plant lovers would just as soon avoid. Space limitations in housing situations may make outdoor gardening difficult to impossible. While houseplants and hanging baskets may seem like entirely different gardening areas, their one major similarity is the use of potting soil. Plants in the landscape need varying amounts of water, sunlight, nutrients, and care, but they aren’t much different than their cousins who spend their lives never touching clay.

Marie Conser Real Estate

Master Gardener Kris LaMar’s presentation will focus on the nuances in the care of “potted plants,” those which may be moved from place to place to accommodate advantages in their unique environments. It will focus on planning before planting; avoiding insects and diseases; and maximizing the power of mobility in home gardening. And it all begins with soil.

Mason Bee Cocoon Cleaning

Saturday, December 3, 10-noon, PCC Rock Creek Campus, Building 4, 17705 NW Springville Rd. Free, no registration required, in person class

Washington County Master Gardener Association invites you to the third of three classes on mason bees led by Ron Spendal. In this hands-on workshop, you will learn how to extract, clean, and store mason bees. If you have cocoons ready for cleaning, bring them along. If you don’t have cocoons, we have plenty for you to practice with. Attendance at the previous Mason Bee classes is not necessary to attend this class. 

Ron Spendal is an OSU Master Gardener who has been researching and educating on mason bees for over 15 years. He operates educational mason bee displays across Washington County, and runs highly sought-after courses on mason bee management through the Washington County Master Gardener Association. Ron designs and builds his own equipment. He conducts research in conjunction with Oregon State University and Montana State University. His work with mason bees has been featured on the Oregon Field Guide program on OPB. Ron has invented a cocoon cleaning device that uses dry sand and can clean up to 100 cocoons in 3 minutes.

Take a Walk on the Wild Side with the Native Bees of Oregon

Tuesday, December 6, 7-8 pm. Free via Zoom, registration required 

Did you know Oregon has about 600 species of bees? This virtual talk will describe some of the strange and weird bees that call Oregon home and the journey of discovery by the state’s volunteer Master Melittologists. We will also cover how to answer common questions from the public on wild bees.

Andony Melathopoulos, Pollinator Health Extension Specialist and Assistant Professor in Horticulture at Oregon State University along with Susan Albright, Washington County Master Gardener and Master Melittologist will host this webinar. Andony Melathopoulos has over 15 years of experience working together with commercial beekeepers and land managers to develop solutions for keeping bees healthy. Since 2016 he has been leading OSU’s efforts to design, implement and evaluate a state-wide pollinator health program. He is on the Coordinating Team of the state-wide bee protection initiative, the Oregon Bee Project, coordinates the Oregon Bee Atlas, and is the host of a weekly podcast about pollinator health, PolliNation.

Washington County Master Gardener Susan Albright has participated in the Xerces’ PNW Bumblebee Atlas, the Oregon Bee Atlas (OBA) and the Oregon Bee Project. Susan received her Apprentice Level Master Melittologist certification in 2021 and is an active OBA member, collecting and identifying Oregon native bees across the state. 

The Washington County Master Gardener™ Association (WCMGA) sponsors a wide variety of gardening–related demonstrations, lectures, seminars, and workshops in various Washington County Oregon locations. Most of our events are free and open to the public. The WCMGA is a 501c3 non-profit supported by hundreds of volunteers, who work to educate the public about sustainable, affordable gardening. 

Leaves: Bring ‘em or leave ‘em

Clean Water Services reminds us that it’s actually okay to leave the leaves! They make fine mulch for your plants to keep the roots a little warmer through the winter, and by spring they will have mostly dissolved into the soil. And your neighbors will thank you for not running the leaf blowers.

But it’s not okay to leave your leaves on the street. Leaves that collect around storm drains can cause flooding, and your neighbors will not thank you for that. Leaves were a little slow to fall this year, and there won’t be any more street-sweeping this year. 

Visit the Leaf Disposal page on the CWS website to learn more.

The last Leaf Disposal & Food Drive event is on December 10 at the CWS Field Operations location. Bring leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings, loose or in a paper bag (no plastic). Please limit debris to 50 pounds per bag. The program is for residents, not commercial operations. They will also collect monetary and food donations for local food banks.

This program is funded by Clean Water Services’ $10.14 per month surface water management (SWM) fee. This fee pays for flood management and water quality protection and improvement programs including street sweeping, 24-hour emergency flood response, catch basin cleaning, water quality monitoring, watershed planning, and public education.

10-Minute University offers videos and more

Clackamas County Master Gardener Association offers 10-Minute University™ in collaboration with and in support of the OSU Extension Master Gardener™ Program. Programs are available online and are free for all. The 2023 online seminar series will kick off in January with three classes—Pruning Trees, Pruning Shrubs, Pruning Fruit Trees. Look for details in the January newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here, and learn more about the program here.