If you are planning to do your part for the environment this Sunday by planting in your garden, be sure to check out the article below about UC IPM's new insectary plants webpage by Stephanie Parreira - you will be glad you did!
Home is where the habitat is: This Earth Day, consider installing insectary plants
—Stephanie Parreira, UC Statewide IPM Program
Help the environment this Earth Day, which falls on Sunday April 22 this year, by installing insectary plants! These plants attract natural enemies such as lady beetles, lacewings, and parasitic wasps. Natural enemies provide biological pest control and can reduce the need for insecticides. Visit the new UC IPM Insectary Plants webpage to learn how to use these plants to your advantage.
The buzz about insectary plants
Biological control, or the use of natural enemies to reduce pests, is an important component of integrated pest management. Fields and orchards may miss out on this control if they do not offer sufficient habitat for natural enemies to thrive. Insectary plants (or insectaries) can change that—they feed and shelter these important insects and make the environment more favorable to them. For instance, sweet alyssum planted near lettuce fields encourages syrphid flies to lay their eggs on crops. More syrphid eggs means more syrphid larvae eating aphids, and perhaps a reduced need for insecticides. Similarly, planting cover crops like buckwheat within vineyards can attract predatory insects, spiders, and parasitic wasps, ultimately keeping leafhoppers and thrips under control.
Flowering insectaries also provide food for bees and other pollinators. There are both greater numbers and more kinds of native bees in fields with an insectary consisting of a row of native shrubs planted along the field edge (called a hedgerow). Native bees also stay in fields with these shrubs longer than they do in fields without them. Therefore, not only do insectaries attract natural enemies, but they can also boost crop pollination and help keep bees healthy.
Insectary plants may attract more pests to your crops, but the benefit is greater than the risk
The possibility of creating more pest problems has been a concern when it comes to installing insectaries. Current research shows that mature hedgerows, in particular, bring more benefits than risks. Hedgerows attract far more natural enemies than insect pests. And despite the fact that birds, rabbits, and mice find refuge in hedgerows, the presence of hedgerows neither increases animal pest problems in the field, nor crop contamination by animal-vectored pathogens. Hedgerow insectaries both benefit wildlife and help to control pests.
How can I install insectary plants?
Visit the Insectary Plants webpage to learn how to establish and manage insectary plants, and determine which types of insectaries may suit your needs and situation. If you need financial assistance to establish insectaries on your farm, consider applying for Conservation Action Plan funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) offered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
- Flower flies (Syrphidae) and other biological control agents for aphids in vegetable crops. (PDF)
- Good news for hedgerows: no effects on food safety in the field.
- Hedgerow benefits align with food production and sustainability goals.
- Habitat restoration promotes pollinator persistence and colonization in intensively managed agriculture. (PDF)
- Reducing the abundance of leafhoppers and thrips in a northern California organic vineyard through maintenance of full season floral diversity with summer cover crops.
It's hard to believe, but it is winter. Even with the nice weather we are experiencing, there still isn't a whole lot to do in the garden - or is there? Spring will be here before you know, and it will be time to get back out to the garden for a little trimming of this and that. Take the time now while the garden is idle to clean and sharpen the tools you use in the landscape to prevent spreading diseases through rough cuts with dull and dirty tools.
For tips on tool care, check out the useful information shared by the UCCE Riverside County Master Gardeners at: https://www.facebook.com/MGPRiverside/posts/1674637999249242
Just read a great tip posted by PlantRight - If you have any trees and shrubs that need pruning, do it now when the birds are NOT nesting.
As the article below from PlantRight suggests fall is a great time to plant. Here in Southern California, our mild weather allows to continue planting through November. So get out there and start digging, come next Spring, you will be glad you did.
Fall into Planting @_PlantRight
Asking yourself a few questions before planting will set your garden up for success. Not all plants will grow in all conditions, each plant has specific environmental needs. It's important to understand the growing conditions in your garden to determine which plants will thrive in your environment and how to best utilize your space.
- Are you planting in the ground, in a raised bed, or in a pot?
- Does your garden get full sun, partial sun or shade during which times of day?
- Which type of soil do you have (loamy, sandy or clay)?
Once you've determined the growing conditions in your garden it's time for a trip to your local nursery! Look on the plant tags for plants with growing conditions that fit with your environment. When walking around the nursery remember that everything you buy will grow so think small. The less mature plants are also less expensive, and they will catch up to their larger counterparts.
Early Fall is the ideal time to plant in most regions of California. Plant in early Fall (September – October) to help roots establish before the summer heat returns and allow winter rains to water thirsty young plants. Trees, shrubs and certain edibles and perennials do best when planted during Fall. Ask your local nursery or garden center when the best time(s) is to plant in your area!
Preparing to plant
- Study Your Space: Learn your garden's growing climate, soil type and light conditions to determine which plants will do best in your space. Sunset climate zone maps are helpful in determining the growing climate in your region, including temperature, rainfall, wind, etc. Different areas may have micro-climates with better drainage, more sunlight or rockier soil. It can be helpful to take photos in the morning, midday and afternoon to see how much sun there is throughout the day.
- Plan your space: Now that you understand your garden's growing conditions, plan what types of plants you'd like to put where. Grouping plants by watering needs help conserve water. It's important to remember that plants will grow so consider structures and power line when finding a home for plants, especially trees.
- Amend the Soil: Healthy plants need healthy soil so the first step is to determine what type of soil you have. If needed, amend your soil with compost for added nutrients. Always use a fresh bag of soil for containers. Remember to mix well, you want to give the roots nutrients in every layer of soil.
- Pick your plants: Once you've determined the growing condition in your garden it's time for a trip to your local nursery! Make a list of what types of plants (shrubs, trees, flowers or succulent) will thrive in your space. Plant tags will give you an idea of what you should expect: the size of the plant, sun, soil and temperature requirements. Not sure which plant will work best? Find some beautiful water-wise plant options here and ask a nursery professional what the best water-wise plant options are for your garden.
- Dig in!: Dig a hole about twice the width of the root ball and the same depth. The crown of the plant (everything above the soil line on the root ball) should remain above ground.
- Fall into Planting: Now it's time to plant! Loosen up the root ball by slightly. Carefully place your plant's roots in the hole and fill in the rest with soil, pressing down gently around the stem. Save the plant care instructions for future reference.
- Water well: Water thoroughly immediately after planting. This will ensure that there are no air pockets in the soil around the roots and give your plant a head start in establishing the root system. Determine the appropriate watering schedule for your plant when it is newly established and how you will be watering. Installing a drip system or soaker hose with a timer is a great way to maximize water efficiency and take one item off your to-do list. Check with your local water agency to see how often and when you can water.
- Mulch: Mulch helps deter pests and retains moisture in the soil. Place a 3- to 4- inch layer of mulch around the plant, leaving at least 3-6 inches between the base of the plant and mulch to prevent root rot.
- A few weeks after planting feed with compost or fertilizer to provide the micronutrients for your plant to thrive.
- Enjoy!: Grab a glass of lemonade or wine and pull up a chair in your new garden. You deserve it!
- Shovel or trowel
- Container (optional)
- Drip irrigation and timer (optional)
- Author: Cheryl A Reynolds
- Editor: Tammy Majcherek
It's time for DPR license and certificate holders renew—get units via online courses from UC IPM
—Cheryl Reynolds, UC Statewide IPM Program
November has arrived, and before you know it we'll be ringing in 2018! For those who hold a license or certificate from the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), and have a last name starting with the letter M through Z, this is your year to renew.
DPR is urging license and certificate holders to mail in applications now to avoid late fees and to allow enough time for processing so that you can receive your new license or certificate by the beginning of the new year. Renewing early gives DPR time to notify you if you are short any continuing education (CE) hours and allows you time to complete any additional CE courses without having to retest.
If you need more hours to complete your renewal application and don't have time to attend an in-person meeting, then check out the online courses available from the UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM).
The following UC IPM and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources online courses have been approved by DPR and are available whenever and wherever you want to take them.
Laws and Regulations
- Proper Pesticide Use to Avoid Illegal Residues (2 hours) $40.00 charge
- Providing Integrated Pest Management Services in Schools and Child Care Settings (1 hour Laws and Regulations and 1 hour Other)
- Citrus IPM: California Red Scale (1 hour)
- Citrus IPM: Citricola Scale (1 hour)
- Citrus IPM: Citrus Peelminer (1 hour)
- Citrus IPM: Citrus Red Mite (1 hour)
- Citrus IPM: Cottony Cushion Scale (1 hour)
- Citrus IPM: Forktailed Bush Katydid (1 hour)
- Pesticide Application Equipment and Calibration (1.5 hours)
- Pesticide Resistance (2 hours)
- Tuta absoluta: A Threat to California Tomatoes (1 hour)
- Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: IPM – Pesticide Properties (1 hour)
- Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Impact of Pesticides - Urban Pesticide Runoff (1 hour)
- Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Water Quality and Mitigation: Bifenthrin and Fipronil (1 hour)
- Urban Pesticide Runoff and Mitigation: Herbicides and Water Quality (1 hour)
For those of you with last names A through L (or those of you who want to get a jump on your CE hours), look for new online courses from UC IPM coming in early 2018.
View the list of all DPR-approved online or in-person courses. For more information on the license and certification program and renewal information, visit the DPR website.
For more information about pest management and other training opportunities, see the UC IPM website.