- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
|Walter Clevenger, left, checks the feathers of a robin.
California Naturalist Jen Cubias records data.
Before dawn at UC’s Sagehen Creek Field Station north of Truckee, wildlife biologist Walter Clevenger sets up almost invisible nets to capture birds rising from their roosts.
After measuring their wings and gently blowing aside the...
- Author: Aubrey White
The origins of interest in biochar, a charcoal-based soil amendment, are almost mythic in nature. In the Amazon Basin, a rainforest region with typically infertile soils, segments of soil have been discovered to be almost black in color and rich in nutrients. The soil’s color is derived from its high organic matter content, believed to originate from historical charcoal applications added to the soil some 2,500 years ago, either intentionally or as a waste product from cooking.
Recently, there has been a growing interest in whether the fertility of these “amazon dark earth soils” can be replicated in modern farming practices, and a new UC Davis database helps users and researchers better understand that...
- Author: Andrew Sutherland
Many gardeners are adding fountains, ponds, and other water features to their landscapes. Water gardens are beautiful and calming, but, if not managed properly, can add an unpleasant element to the landscape—mosquitoes. How can you help prevent mosquito infestations?
Mosquitoes can be managed using an integrated approach that relies mostly on prevention, using biological and chemical controls when necessary. The key strategy is to eliminate all potential breeding sites; even one ounce of standing water can support a population of larvae. What can be done, however, when an outdoor space contains a water element? Here are a few tips.
Water features in...
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Tree crop growers have a new tool to help them assess the potential impact their growing practices may have on water quality. Know Your H2O, an iPad app developed by the UC Cooperative Extension Agricultural Water Quality Research and Education Program in San Diego, asks growers a series of questions about their growing practices, then suggests Best Management Practices based on UC research that can reduce runoff or leaching of contaminants from orchards into water.
Although there are many sources of water pollution, runoff from farms may contain contaminant levels that exceed water quality standards. Runoff from agricultural operations can pick up and carry natural and man-made pollutants, including fertilizers, salts,...
- Author: Tunyalee A. Martin
It’s that time of year when hot weather fuels the creation of ozone, or smog. Some pesticides emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to ozone formation. Using pesticides that release VOCs may be restricted in certain California locations between May 1 and October 31.
If you plan to apply a pesticide, use the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s VOC calculators to determine emissions from fumigant and nonfumigant pesticides. Get there by clicking the Air Quality button at the top of each treatment table in the UC IPM Pest Management...